Mad Scientist

Mad Scientist February 22, 2006

I am a woman who finds true adventure in confronting the questions of life. I love the pondering; I anticipate the wondering; I relish the angst. But lately I find myself devoting a whole lot of time to questions I really could care less about, and this is proving to be a rather frustrating experience.

I don’t suppose it helps to say from the outset that I never . . . ever . . . in all of my life . . . wondered about whether plants grow faster when they are watered with tap water, bottled water or sugar water. And while I am open to the possibility that I am the only person in the entire world who hasn’t, I must say that it never crossed my mind to ask myself what happens when vinegar and baking soda combine.

No one. No one had the decency to tell me that when I chose to become a parent I was also choosing to care about these burning questions.

Most recently our family was involved in the critical query: “Does a remote control car go faster on sandpaper or plastic straws?” (If anybody at the CIA wants to know our results–certainly essential for national defense–just let me know. We’re always happy to help.)

Our task, or, shall I say, Hayden’s task (yeah, right. Our task), involved establishing the question; laying out the procedure; making a hypothesis; conducting an experiment; and evaluating results. And then frantically scrounging around for materials to complete the science project display, including the fine photos pictured here.

What did we get from this grand exploration? Besides a really cute picture of Hayden which we can use to torture and embarrass him later in life, I also discovered the answer to another one of those burning questions we all wonder about.

You know how you have always wondered where the English language phrase “Mad Scientist” comes from? Can’t say that I myself really gave it much thought before this point but, well, thanks to careful employment of the scientific method and extensive experimentation, now I know.

I believe I can definitively prove that the term “mad scientist” is the term used to describe the mother of a sixth grader the night before a science project is due!

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