Adventures in Ethics and Science



Even given a weekend to come back to equilibrium, some chemistry fans are still perturbed by some of the results of first round play in the MORTAR AND PESTLE bracket. FTIR’s upset win over NMR has many a Monday morning spectroscopist splitting his peaks trying to analyze what went wrong. And while Ethanol is a perennial powerhouse in this conference, many tournament watchers had anticipated celebrating Caffeine at their Monday morning lab meetings.

Friday’s games were just the first step in a mutli-step synthesis of a tournament champion. Tomorrow, just four teams will emerge from the crucible of second round play in the Chemical Arena. The match-ups will be:

Acid vs. Ethanol
Can Ethanol hold it together against Acid? Ethanol’s molecular structure on the court has served it well so far in the tournament, but the Acid team has lots of talented reserve players to draw on — players who might just convert the Ethanol the fans love to something altogether different.

d-orbitals vs. Sublimation
Some commentators speculate that the pressure of the second round will be too much for Sublimation. Still, the d-orbitals team is a team in transition (metals), so it’s hard to know what they’ll show us. The only safe bet is that this will be a colorful game.

Entropy vs. Fossil fuels
There was pandemonium in the stands when Entropy one its first round game, but Fossil fuels have a cadre of Texas oilmen packing the arena on their behalf. All will be watching on Tuesday to see which of the Laws of Thermodynamics has the upper hand.

Erlenmeyer flask vs. FTIR
This is the second round match that the odds makers wouldn’t touch with a rubber policeman. While both teams are at home in laboratory conditions in Chemical Arena, they have completely different strengths and styles. If it’s a matter of analyzing the white powder on the court, FTIR will be the team to triumph. But if it comes down to making solutions or getting some reactions going, Erlenmeyer flask may be able to hold onto it until the third round.

As we suit up for tomorrow’s games, the sportswriters from C&E News want to know: who do you see going on to Round 3, and why?


  1. #1 jenjen
    March 19, 2007

    Acid vs Ethanol? You know People and US magazine will be covering that game.

  2. #2 MikeF
    March 19, 2007

    While I (like many Brits) have a weakness for Ethanol, Acid should have the reactions to win this match up. Second game I can’t say. I know some pundits are saying Fossil Fuels have peaked, Entropy is going to beat them sooner or later and I think this may be the year. Erlenmeyer Flask are too brittle, enough pressure will shatter them eventually, but I don’t think FITR will be the team to do that.

  3. #3 lisa
    March 19, 2007

    erlenmeyer, erlyenmeyer, erlenmeyer, yay!

  4. #4 David Ng
    March 19, 2007

    Acid + Ethanol… Brain freezing up… Nightmares of undergraduate Organic chemistry….

    And let me just put this out there, but is Raman Scattering playing defence on the IR team? because if so, it changes freakin’ everything. Those bad boys are just nasty, with their mega lasers, and in aqueous to boot.

  5. #5 taylorT
    March 20, 2007

    I see some of the ringers for the just ousted alternative fuel team suiting up for Ethanol. So between getting drunk, disinfecting, and fueling your cars, ethanol might have what it takes to beat the Acids.

    And FTIR? Does IR even get through glass? If not, Erlenmeyer might be an easy lock, since they’d be basically impervious.

    Entropy like determinism is a one joke town. It’s gotta go. Please, for the love of humour writing, it’s gotta go.

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