Sunday, January 19, 2014

How many molecules in a drop of whisky?

From R. Houwink's The Odd Book of Data (Elsevier, Amsterdam 1965) obtained from the amazing library of Jeremy Beadle MBE (1948 -2008) British entertainer, television star,  hoaxer, quizmaster, book collector and philanthropist (with his blind stamp reading 'Property of Beadlebum OK?')

It's a curious ur geek book full of data such as 'the light now reaching the star Pollux tells us about Hitler's rise to power, whilst a star in the Andromeda Nebula brings us, as it were, a visual greeting from the period when Homo Sapiens made his engravings in caves (15000BC)...' Here is a piece about the number of molecules in a drop of whisky:

Peter looked askance at John who was just polishing off his umpteenth glass of whisky.
'Steady on, old man… leave a drop for the stragglers!'
'Shteady on?'  echoed John, ' Why , theresh heapsh of the shtuff…hic.  Tell you what, shport, I'll dish out a thousand molecules per second to every living soul for the next 30 odd years…hic'.
John upturned his glass and shook a single drop on to Peter's palm. 'Take care of dishtribution old shport!'


  1. OK that's 1000 by 60 by 60 by 24 by 30 by 6,000,000,000 (earth's pop about 1965) = 5,676,480,000,000,000,000 a hard number to speak but I think its 5 trillion +

  2. Sorry forgot the 365 days so thats 189 Septillion near as dammit. Mine's a double malt. Cheers

  3. Has anyone else noticed that if the letter 'd' is inserted at a certain point into the surname of the author of this book it becomes Houdwink ? Just a thought.