As it is generally the case with Asians as a whole from what I know now, my fellow students never liked me for interrupting really large lectures with questions like “Why should I believe you?” or criticisms about the “weaker assumptions of lesser mortals” taught in class (as John Nash used to say in the movie Beautiful Mind). The lecturer, who was perfectly aware that I had paid the fees to get my questions answered, but too careful not to hurt the feelings of other students who wanted their syllabus covered, often took diplomatic stance by asking me to talk to him after the lecture or to ask the teaching assistants during the tutorial session.
Yesterday changed it all. I met this genius who is a lab assistant for a level 3000 module, and who also happens to be organic chemistry tutor for my group. I asked him how do chemists know about the ring flipping in cyclohexane, and about the various other isomers and freaky phenomena like resonance structures.
He boldly tried to explain it, trying his best not to “dumb down” any of it. From what I understood, most of the evidence for everything I asked comes from using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance to analyze the structures of chemicals. Pharmaceutical companies regularly do it. These NMR machines seems to be capable of knowing everything about molecules in a God like manner. By looking at the “Relaxation” timings – which from what I understood, is the time taken for particles to return to the original spin after a magnetic pulse from the huge magnet, skilled chemists can know the amount of one particular isomer of any compound.
Interesting! So chemistry ain’t religious enough to put a God in the gaps!