Meanwhile in the chemistry lab…

“Quick, which chemical do we add next?” he asked me.

“I don’t know!” I panicked, “Just add the colour which looks the prettiest with our blue solution”

“Are you kidding me? This teacher is going to give us an F!”

“Well, do you have a better idea?”

“No, just start writing the observations,” he told me and dumped the entire red chemical supply into the beaker.

“Okay, so we observe bubbles. Wait, which gas is this?” I asked him as I sniffed it.

“Do you think,” he giggled, “do you think it’s laughing gas?”

“Oh god!” I chuckled, “You had red and I had blue. Why couldn’t we create purple?”

“That was so lame!” he howled.

“What’s happening here?”, the teacher demanded before sniggering herself.

“Hey, do you know what you should do if nobody laughs at your jokes?” the teacher asked us, “Keep going till you get a reaction!”

I cackled.

My friend erupted into a belly laugh as he said “I love laughing gas! This is so much fun.”

The teacher suddenly straightened up and stopped laughing, “What laughing gas? This is hydrogen”

“UH OH!”

 ~

Nitrous oxide is commonly known as laughing gas. It is a colourless non-flammable gas, with a slight metallic scent and taste. Its colloquial name, “laughing gas”, was coined by Humphry Davy, because of the euphoric effect it produces upon inhaling it. The interesting thing is, not everyone actually laughs because of laughing gas. Some people just get sleepy!

It was discovered in 1772 by Joseph Priestley, the very same guy who discovered oxygen and accidentally invented soda. Limca and laughter, what else do you need?

Laughing gas is actually a key ingredient for whipped cream, too. So, if your party ever gets too boring, just get loads of cake! Which brings us to another fun fact- this one for the History buffs- during the 19th century, the members of the British upper class engaged in a peculiar form of entertainment known as laughing gas parties, where a doctor or a scientist would provide the laughing gas.

Since it is a safe and effective sedative, it is also used by doctors to make their patients relax before uncomfortable procedures and during childbirth.

It can also make cars go faster! (when used as an accelerant, that is).

Oh, and we failed that practical by the way!

– Vrinda Rastogi, Amity International School, Noida

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