Picture of the Week
Discovering the physics and chemistry of the cosmos is different to carrying out experiments in the lab. In the lab, samples can be tested, experiments can be repeated, and if anything looks odd, you can always look from another angle to see if it's just a trick of perspective. For astronomers, none of this is possible: the only information they have is in the light that reaches their telescopes. More...
9 September 2013
This photo from UCL Geology Collections shows an ancient Greek hangover cure.
Amethyst, a popular gemstone, means 'not drunken' in Greek, and it was widely believed in the ancient world to halt the effects of alcohol.
Of course modern science sees no such property in amethyst. Chemically, it is virtually indistinguishable from quartz (silicon dioxide), with trace impurities and radiation effects responsible for the crystals' colour. And since glass is nothing but non-crystalline quartz, an amethyst glass won't stop a hangover any more than a wine bottle will.
UCL has a large collection of geology specimens, the oldest of which date back to 1855. Used mainly for teaching by the Earth Sciences department, they are also displayed to the public in the Rock Room between 1pm and 3pm every Friday.
Photo credit: UCL Geology Collections
High resolution image
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Page last modified on 09 sep 13 13:11