Positronic Distillation is not possible. It’s a made up phrase from an episode of Friends in which Phoebe Buffay runs into her old lover, scientist David, who is in town for a short visit from Minsk:
Phoebe: What are you doing here?
David: Well, I’m back from Minsk… permanently.
Phoebe: What happened?
David: Well, remember how I was trying to achieve the positronic distillation of subatomic particles?
David: Well, after eight years of research I discovered that it can’t be done.
So, what is Positronic? It pertains to positrons. It’s also a term coined by Issac Asimov in his robot novels where he introduced the positronic brain, the computer that serves as the robot’s brain. The positronic brain also has a consciousness similar to humans, which is meant to keep the robot from turning on its creator. Asimov’s robot stories were written around the time of the discovery of the positron in 1932 by Carl D. Anderson. It was an amazing time of scientific discovery and space exploration.
And, what is Distillation? Distillation is a method used to separate a substance in a solution from its solvent, or separating a liquid from a mixture of liquids all having a different boiling point. The separation is done by evaporation (boiling) and then collecting the vapor. Think of distilled water, which is where fresh water is separated from a salt solution. Or, of gasoline, which is separated from petroleum.
And, why can’t you distill a positron? Because, well, if you know how to distill a positron get back to me — or, better yet, tell the world — cause I am no chemist and according to the character David, “It can’t be done.”
It can’t be done? I hate that statement. I use the phrase positronic distillation all the time as the ultimate achievement. When someone says to me, “Guess what!” or “I have something to tell you” I usually respond, “You achieved positronic distillation?” Just because scientist David couldn’t, doesn’t mean no one else can! Positronic Distillation may not be possible in science, but it can be in other areas. This blog, for instance, is pure positronic distillation for me. I can write about the amazing science that is happening in the world today and I can share it with others. I am not limited in my sharing or exploring. I achieve positronic distillation everyday in some way every time I take a risk or succeed.
Anyone can achieve positronic distillation.
Who is Positronic Distillation and WriteSciGirl? Me!
[Header image: Cnum-Digital Conservatory of Arts and Crafts – http://cnun.cnam.fr]