• Question: If you could choose any science experiment what would it be and why

    Asked by 677grte48 to Alice, Bose, Christian, Emma, Steve on 13 Mar 2016. This question was also asked by edwardg.
    • Photo: Steve Marsden

      Steve Marsden answered on 13 Mar 2016:

      If I could chose to have worked on any experiment from history, it would have to be the Michelson–Morley experiment. It was performed in the late 19th century, at which time it was believed that light travelled through an aether like a wave on the sea. Because of this, the speed of light should vary and this experiment tried to measure it. They instead measured the speed of light to be always constant. This was completely unexpected, and was only explained 20 years later by Einstein’s special relativity. I would love to be able to go back and experience the confusion, attempting to make sense of the data.

    • Photo: Benjamin Bose

      Benjamin Bose answered on 14 Mar 2016:

      I’d have loved to be part of the first electron diffraction experiments in 1927 (Germer/Davisson or Thomson) which put Louis de Broglie’s hypothesis that particles and waves are actually one and the same, to the test.

      Imagine some guy told you beach balls were actually water waves. Then you go into a room and make an experiment to check this. You proceed to find out that under some conditions, they actually are very much like water waves! To be in the room at the point of realization that this guy was right would be an absolute epiphany.

    • Photo: Emma Dean

      Emma Dean answered on 15 Mar 2016:

      I’d choose to experiment with fluids (liquids and gases) in space. This way I would get to go into space, experience weightlessness and do lots of cool stuff. Because there is no gravity in space, liquids like water don’t drip downwards, they form liquid bubbles. Here is a link to a video of an astronaut trying to wring out a cloth on the international space station. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8TssbmY-GM

    • Photo: Alice Harpole

      Alice Harpole answered on 15 Mar 2016:

      I think it’d be pretty cool to be a food scientist. I was listening to someone talking on the radio this morning about how they used to work for Mars, studying the chemistry of ice cream and chocolate. I would imagine such a job would allow you plenty of opportunity to sample the things you are experimenting on!