Calorimeter. And not just any calorimeter. A bomb calorimeter. Think pressure cooker for chemistry. And yes, thank you for asking, I have used one. Do they even have those anymore?
It is for measuring the heat of combustion of a compound. Why would any of us need to know this? Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I just can’t get through my day without knowing the heat of combustion for the current compound I’m working on. Oh, I work on a lot of compounds!
Like peanutbutter. I work on that all day long. It sticks to everything on the way down. Sometimes it even comes back and says, “Hello!” A bomb calorimeter can’t tell you this, but I want to know how something that sticky can be that delicious.
I mean, something that was green and had no taste would be instantly gross if it was that sticky. Like celery, ooh, wait… like iceberg lettuce. Imagine, pale green, tasteless and the consistency of peanutbutter. In fact, it’s not disgusting, it sounds like an alien life form. My thoughts often leap from food to alien life forms. Don’t yours?
Because… who would think of slurping an oyster from its shell? Come on, man, my first thought on seeing an oyster isn’t, “Food!” That first person must have been told by an alien that the weird thing in the shell tastes good. I suppose more realistically it would have gone something like:
“I’m really hungry.”
“Yeah, me too.”
“Think anything in that salty water is edible?”
“Dunno. What about that thing living in that shell?”
“Dunno. Dare you to eat it.”
Gulp. Tries not to vomit and says, “Say, that was really good!”
“You’re shittin’ me.”
Gulp. “You lying mother…” vomit into the ocean.
The first calorimeter by Antoine Lavoisier, 1881.
No Dude! I didn’t use this one!
The heat of combustion can be measured in calories. The calories from peanutbutter are actually kilocalories, but whose counting?
Since calories were being measured, it was called a calorimeter. Clever, no? Lavoisier couldn’t comment. He was beheaded in the French revolution.
This is SoC with the prompt “starts with cal.”