Their Intentions Are Noble

| Learning | August 30, 2015

(A ninth grade class is visiting my lab. Although we study bacterial genetics, the class has been asking the researchers questions about many topics.)

Student #1: “Is it true that [Famous Scientist] works here?”

Researcher #1: “He used to, but that was a long time ago, before he got the Nobel Prize.”

Student #2: “Why is it called a ‘noble’ prize?”

Researcher #1: “It’s named after Alfred Nobel.”

Student #1: “Why’d he get to make a prize?”

Researcher #2: “Oh, I can answer that.”

(The second researcher launches into a ten-minute talk about Alfred Nobel’s life and how the discovery of dynamite lead to the founding of the prize. After he’s done…)

Student #1: “How does dynamite work?”

Teacher: “All right, all right. You’re supposed to be here for biology class. These people study bacteria, so ask them questions about that!”

(Long silence.)

Student #3: “Is it true fingernails are made of hair?”

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