Would you lick it?

From the Wikipedia page about Sugar Substitutes:

Aspartame was discovered in 1965 by James M. Schlatter at the G.D. Searle company (later purchased by Monsanto). He was working on an anti-ulcer drug and spilled some aspartame on his hand by accident. When he licked his finger, he noticed that it had a sweet taste.”

So, put yourself in that position.

You’re working on a new anti-ulcer drug and you accidentally spill some chemicals on your hand.

There are a couple of possible responses:

  1. “Bugger… I should wash my hands quickly!”
  2. “Hmmm… I wonder what it tastes like?”

To be an inventor you have to be the sort of person who is tempted to lick!

10 thoughts on “Would you lick it?”

  1. I think tasting a tiny amount of something is pretty standard among chemists. At least it used to be. My father, a chemist, always took a little taste of a fluid to start to try to identify it. It’s something I would never do.

  2. From a comment on Nat’s “Four Short Links” post:

    “The aspartame story is great… trouble is it’s not true. The legend is he licked his fingers to turn the page of a book without realising he had Aspartame traces on his digits. Basing business anecdotes off Wikipedia entries? Now that’s licking your fingers after they’re been somewhere they shouldn’t.”

    I read the story on Wikipedia, and I believed it. Didn’t even consider that it might not be true. Now some guy called Bart says it’s not true and I believe him. I’m so fickle!

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