Yet success in science can be arbitrary: if he and his team had not found the compound, another chemist would have, he now concedes. This leads to both nourishment and poison. He explores this poison in his second career as a writer devoted to putting scientists themselves under the microscope.
Now 88, he has penned nine plays, half a dozen novels, an autobiography, a memoir and some poetry over the past 25 years as well as innumerable scientific papers in his lifetime.
Chemistry in Theatre: Insufficiency, Phallacy or Both - sebevuruziky.ml
It also involves a prosecution for murder: the Polish bubbleologist, Jerzy Krzyz Tim Dutton, pictured above , is accused of killing off most of the tenure committee in retaliation for turning him down. Into this beaker, Mr Djerassi stirs a wide-eyed love interest, oafish behaviour, rhapsodic riffs from Jerzy on the significance of bubbles and good-humoured digs at warm British beer. Billed as both a comedy and a whodunit, it is, strictly speaking, neither. These plays are staged dialogues, like those of Plato, Erasmus and Galileo, which enact the opposing sides of different arguments, he says.
At their best, his plays illuminate ethical dilemmas. Many laughs and belches ensue.
By the end, not much is resolved: the antagonists return to their corners, their respective views well-lubricated and well-aired. We learn a bit about how bubbles form, and are given tantalising hints that this is important to the structure of the universe. The main point is made by Jerzy, who in his summation to the jury argues for the importance of proof. Likening himself to Copernicus, attacked for the heretical assertion that the earth revolved around the sun, he pleads for judgment based on evidence, not prejudice.
Concrete examples are given to demonstrate the potential pedagogic value of using the dialogic style and plot structure of plays in science, with a special focus on chemistry. Very few books have dealt with the subject of science-in-theatre and virtually none with chemistry-in-theatre. Texts of the author's two recent plays, Insufficiency and Phallacy, are included in their entirety to offer concrete examples of plays dealing with actual rather than invented chemistry.
Insufficiency represents an example from the field of beer and champagne bubbles, where the topics of academic tenure and fashion in chemistry are analyzed, whereas in Phallacy, a case history of the similarities and differences between science and art is presented for debate.
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