Interestingly, trying to convince others that my brilliant ideas should be funded also makes me wonder how other types of research get funded. Since this is the summer and I'm sure you'd prefer some light reading, I thought I'd share a little gem of an article on a topic of utmost importance that really illustrates my point about funding: the best possible way to... Pour champagne.
French researchers (who else?) looked closely at two different ways of pouring champagne into a champagne glass (a flute): (1) the traditional way, which consists of letting champagne fall vertically and hit the bottom of the flute, thus generating a thick head of foam, and (2) the "beer-like" way, which consists of pouring the champagne on an inclined flute wall, which generates less foam. The researchers analyzed a number of parameters such as the concentration of dissolved carbon dioxide and the temperature of the champagne. As it turns out, serving champagne chilled (4-12 degrees Celsius) in the beer-like way minimizes the loss of dissolved carbon dioxide, a parameter of utmost importance since it impacts various aspects of the champagne-tasting experience. The researchers stress the value of their research and call for revisiting the traditional way of serving champagne, especially when champagnes are to be compared in competitions.
Wow. Seriously, who funds this? And most importantly, why is it that some researchers have all the fun? The fine print tells us that the researchers "thank Champagne Pommery for regularly supplying (them) with various champagne samples". I think I missed my calling.
Reference: On the losses of dissolved CO2 during champagne serving. (2010) Liger-Belair et al. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. [Epub ahead of print].