Thoughtful scientist, colored water

For you scientists out there, I have a question.

When you’re contemplating an Erlenmeyer flask or beaker filled with colored water (as you scientist types so often do), what color do you prefer?

Today we’ll concentrate on orange. Here’s a picture that makes me happy for several reasons.

First of all, it’s picture of a thoughtful scientist holding insight-bestowing colored water in laboratory glassware. These always amuse me, even when they’re absurd stock photo fictions. But this one is real. This is a real scientist who is actually studying orange-colored water (a sugary orange soft drink). And it’s interesting research (high-fructose corn syrup prompts considerably more weight gain than an equivalent caloric load of sucrose). And it’s at my alma mater. And as it happens orange is one of the school colors. Man, what a great shot!

Look at the whole picture and you’ll see they’re clearly having a good time posing for the picture. You can almost hear them planning the shot: “Let’s do one of those colored-water-in-beakers photos!” I don’t know if those purple gloves were necessary for the lab work, but my, they look dandy next to the orange water.

As for showing what lab breakthroughs really look like, I enjoy Derek Lowe’s discussion here:

It doesn’t make for much of a cover shot, but if one of us ever does manage to change the world, it’ll start with a puzzled glance at a computer screen, or a raised eyebrow while looking at a piece of paper. Instead of getting noisier, everything will get a lot quieter. And if there are any purple spotlights to be seen, we won’t even notice them. . .