Some science stories

As most kids were, I too was a curious cat. I always wanted to know how stuff works, why things are the way they are – I still do. Amidst this journey of quenching my curiosity attacks, I have had many many (mis)adventures like most of you too I am sure. Here I share a few that I came into my mind.

I was in fourth standard I believe. My teacher had just taught us about electricity and conductors. Metals are good conductors, wood is a bad conductor and so on and so forth. But I didn’t believe in many things (that was then with no youtube :D ) unless I do it and see it myself. So I made this amazing action plan to experiment with electricity. I ‘borrowed’ a voltage tester from that sacred brown box in which my dad kept all his tools. This brown box still lies around in my parents’ house with that old red pliers, this same old tester, lot of broken wires and other sorts of junk and metal. Anyway more about the brown box in some other post. I also found a pair of scissors that my mom used in the kitchen. The experiment was to find out whether the scissors could conduct electricity.

Now my experiments had to be systematic and went through with well thought out steps. So I first inserted the tester on to the mains plug, then switched on the plug. Yup, the tester glowed and it was working. Good. Next step: I removed the tester, inserted the scissors in. whaaaa… FAIL!! If you were smart enough you would have noticed that I missed one step, I forgot to switch off the plug before inserting the scissors in. :( Boom! I don’t think it is easy to put into words what a 230 Volt shock direct through your hands would feel like. It was like two or three wrestlers hitting me on all parts of the body simultaneously with tremendous force. I went blank. Next thing I remembered was my cousin sister, who was baby-sitting me, calling me frantically asking what happened. As I opened my eyes I was lying flat on the floor, some 2 or 3 metres from the scene of the experiment. Well you can’t say the experiment was an utter failure. I did learn what a real power shock means!

Our chemistry lab periods during school was always fun. We all had a lot of fun mixing and matching various chemicals, trying to make a kaleidoscope of patterns and colours in our test-tubes and beakers. Once, we were busy engaged in this activity before the real experiment started and while our teacher was giving us instructions. The guy next to me – Vinod I think – already had the chemicals poured in his test-tube and kept near to the burner; but lost interest in the teacher’s talk and shifted attention to our alternate experiments. While doing so he suddenly turned and asked me what the teacher said last. I opened my mouth to start saying ‘Keep the test-tube away from the flame’, but before that we heard a small pop and the liquid from his test-tube shooting up like a rocket. The experiment created a nice elaborate pattern on the ceiling. There was moment of silence, we were sure this was the end of the world. But everybody else was going about their business, having not noticed anything. Relieved we put on our innocent angels’ masks and continued working. They did notice though, the next week our lab assistant, Madhu Uncle came and told us that these juniors are never careful, look at what they have done to the ceiling. We all nodded our heads struggling to keep the laughter from coming out.

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