I'm Chels. I blog about science, art, tennis, and my adventures in journalism. Officially, I'm a Science Writer at Brookhaven National Lab and I blog for them, too. Unofficially, I'm pretty awesome.

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Ben Lillie went on a tweeting spree last week about Luis Alvarez, Nobel Prize winner and all-around badass scientist. (He Storified the whole thing in a post called “In Which I Discover All The Crazy Shit Luis Alvarez Did,” so go check that out to see the conversation unfold where he discovers it all.) 

As I saw Ben’s tweets coming in, I got really interested in Alvarez and his unbelievable range of important scientific contributions. And then this morning, while I was digging through the Brookhaven archives, he popped up in a passage about the dedication ceremony for our first particle accelerator, the Cosmotron: 

"Mariette Kuper supervised the dinner arrangements, and her efforts succeeded, where others had failed, in wrecking Dean’s intention to keep the dedication ‘scientific and academic.’ She had set up several dozen tables, covered them with paper tablecloths, and in the center of each placed pitchers of her signature martinis. The pitchers had been chilled beforehand in the freezer, and on the tables they glistened temptingly with frost and tiny rivulets of dew. They looked for all the world like pitchers of water, which is how they went down…Behavior loosened, voiced grew loud, and things got boisterous…Luis Alvarez, a forty-one-year-old Berkeley physicist sixteen years away from his Nobel Prize, set his tablecloth on fire.”

Wish I coulda known this guy.

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    I find it a little disturbing that “flew with the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Japan” is listed as one of his...
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