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How Wine Led to Science

Thank you Stephen Fry

WineWell of course you’re thinking   -  "Well, I imagine most inventors, philosophers, whatever,* had, like myself, most of their good ideas after a glass too many of their favourite red."  And this would in many cases be true.

"Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever."          --Aristophanes 450 – 385 BC

But actually, it’s rather more interesting than that (and here we give thanks to the marvelous ‘Q.I.’ - and it helps if you read the following connections with the reckless, wild enthusiasm of S. Fry  Esq.)

So... We form an fervor for wine, and its beautiful lustrous colour. This leads to the necessity for a suitable receptacle, which leads  to the invention of glass. Glass leads to the grinding of lenses, and thus to telescopes and microscopes, which in turn make possible astronomy, biology, medical science and so on. Lenses mean that the useful life of the western thinker is extended by 15 – 20 years. Wine, therefore,  is the trigger that puts western science into the lead for, oh, 500 years.

The Chinese, by contrast , although immensely ingenious and inventive, historically  never develop a fondness for wine and stick to tea, and ceramics. And tea cups. As a result much of what we now recognize as science is a Western phenomenon and only arrives in the East in the last 100-150 years.

Now, while we drink tea with gusto here at T.P.H.Q. (tea breaks 10 – 10.15 , 12.30 – 1.00, 3.00 – 3.15) we do often ruminate around the staff table how plain progressive winemaking is. At the same time, we are the first to admit we are crap at acupuncture.

* Note the inclusion of this useless word as a pathetic attempt to widen the potential demographic of this blog.

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