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!

  3. Of course, the fact that aspertame is in many ways more harmful to your body than actual sugar, shouldn’t stop you from experimenting on yourself….

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