I’ll start with some, pretty funny, tips in German.
“Ich bin warm” – literally: I am warm. However this actually means “I am gay” – No doubt Joseph and/or Graham will say I’ll need this one a lot…
Ok you say, I’ll just say “I’m hot” instead to be safe… Y’know, the beauty of synonyms.
Idiomatic Trap No. 2: The literal translation for that is “Ich bin heiß”. This means “I’m horny”. Turns out you can’t say much in German without sounding like a sexual deviant.
So what will I be doing in Germany, apart from trying to avoid ending up on a register? If you’re a nerd keep reading. If you’re not; skip to the TL:DR version!
- The full title of the project I’m helping is: Dehyrogenation of Cycloalkanes in Microreactors. My incomprehension is probably almost as great as yours. Basically, from the little I know, it’s finding a way to make hydrogen a viable energy source. One of the teeny weeny, inconvenient problems, of course, is that it has a tendency to go BANG! Meaning it has to be stored at cryogenic temperatures and high pressure. Not sure about you, but if I had to drive behind a lorry of what is basically explosives I’d be shitting bricks. One of the ways to circumvent hydrogen’s inconsiderate explosive tendencies is to react to form a more stable compound and then unreact it later. Unfortunately this tends to be thermodynamically unfavourable as this requires energy itself. So the energy from hydrogen released must be greater than the energy to extract it. This is why microreactors are used as they, having such high surface area:volume ratios that heat transfer is rapid. Personally I’m just terrified I’m going to muck up someone’s life’s work by trying over a cable or something.
Consider the following exchange from the last time Ashleigh and I baked a cake
- AM: Can you smell smoke? [wearing oven gloves]
- AJ: Andrew! Your oven gloves are on fire!
- AM: Oh shit!
Now transpose this situation onto Germany and the explosive tendencies of hydrogen…
- AM: Can you smell smoke?
- PhD: Andrew! You……