Monday 7 September 1987

…Mondays for now and the foreseeable future will begin in the worst way possible: PE.
At least it is in the gym and not outside, and at least we do not have to have a
shower afterwards.
Then in Science we were taken through the way to write up an experiment
properly…

And so began one of the enduring motifs of my life as a teenager.

Between now and the age of 18, at least twice a week for around 30 weeks every year, I would find myself writing the following five headings on a sheet of lined A4 paper:

INTRODUCTION

APPARATUS

METHOD

RESULTS

CONCLUSION

Beginning with an observation of what happens when ice is melted in a beaker above a Bunsen burner, all the way through to three-day long studies of the breakdown of complex carbohydrates, the next seven years would be punctuated by hundreds of laboratory-based scribblings.

Most of these write-ups still exist. Most of the information they contain left my brain decades ago.

The principle of empirical analysis, however, has not. I know that I approach the task of, say, planning a train journey or moving house or writing a blog the same way that I approached the task of heating diluted copper sulphate.

In this instance, the apparatus and method speak for themselves. The results and conclusion I leave up to you.

Copper load of this

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