When Grandpa Was A Boy, Were There Any Dinosaurs?

Tag archive: 1976

Test Or Taste

1976: When Shashikant Phadnis, an Indian chemistry researcher at Queen Elizabeth College, in London, was instructed to “test” a sucrose derivative, he mistakenly thought his supervisor said “taste” it. Phadnis did as he thought he was told, and dabbed the compound on his tongue. This potentially lethal mistake – the chemical could have been toxic – resulted in the fortuitous discovery of an exceptionally sweet substance, which was later named sucralose and developed commercially as an artificial sweetener.

Source: New Scientist, 19 June 1986

Out With A Bang

1976: Staff at a crematorium in Solihull were puzzled by a salvo of explosions during the cremation of a body; investigators discovered that batteries in a cardiac pacemaker implanted in the deceased had detonated. It was the first such incident recorded at a British crematorium, although P.J. Morrell, writing in The Practitioner, gave examples of other explosions during cremations caused, in one case, by an aerosol deodorant can inadvertently left inside a coffin and, on another occasion, by a coconut.

Source: The Practitioner, July 1977

Whining And Dining

Official portrait of Prince Norodom Sihanouk in 1955, by Sovandara

1976: While his compatriots had to put up with empty bellies, the former Cambodian monarch Norodom Sihanouk complained that he was running short of the rum needed to create bananes flambées.

Source: Norodom Sihanouk, Prisonnier des Khmers Rouges (1986), p. 155