Colorado sixth-grader Michal Bodzianowski recently made every college student in the country jealous by winning a national science competition with an experiment where he brewed his own beer. Apparently, you’re totally allowed to brew beer at the age of eleven so long as it’s for science, a fact that probably would have helped all of us a lot more to learn about ten years ago.
In other lessons that would have been helpful a decade earlier, it turns out that middle school teachers don’t get mad when they ask you for science and you give them beer (actually, we probably could have figured that one out on our own). Instead, they will praise your scientific know-how, as Bodzianowski’s teacher, Sharon Combs, did when he submitted the project. “He’s very talented,” she said, adding that “He came up with this idea all on his own,” though there may have been a little wink-wink-nudge-nudge-you-know-what-would-be-a-good-Christmas-present-for-your-favorite-teacher involved.
The experiment was one of eleven selected as part of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, a project which sends middle-school science projects into space in order to inspire young scientists, because let’s be honest, potato clocks are way more inspiring when you put them in space. One might question why, of all things, scientists would be most concerned with mankind’s future ability to brew beer in space. Bodzianowski says it is because beer is useful as a source of emergency hydration when no pure water is available, and that the by-products of beer might have significant medical uses when brewed in space. “Yes,” said the astronauts when asked if this was the reason, as they piled the experiment into the shuttle, along with the other winning experiments on the effects of microgravity on marijuana-growing and crystal-meth-making, “That is our reason exactly.”
While we cannot say exactly what the results of this experiment will be, at the very least once this experiment is concluded mankind will be able to say we’ve brewed a beer in space. Most might consider that an end unto itself, for others this is only the beginning. “You never know how some of these experiments can be a stepping stone to something else,” said Combs excitedly of the experiment, “That’s how science works!” So true. Who knows, maybe we’ll find the Higgs boson floating in one of those space-Heinekens. Or maybe we’ll discover the secret to quantum foam in the foam of a nice lager. Or maybe we’ll just end up with really drunk astronauts. You never know, after all.