The Great Experiment Scholarship

Our website is up and we are officially accepting applications for The Great Experiment Scholarship! The 501(c)3 paperwork has been expedited and is in process. The EIN, the number that will eventually allow me to hire employees, is in process as well. Soon we’ll be able to open a bank account and start accepting donations.

In the mean time, we ARE accepting applications. So please visit for more information or to apply.



  1. MaryLynne said,

    May 14, 2010 at 6:34 am

    I haven’t figured out the protocol and I’m not sure I have the equipment or skill to do this one, but here is what I would love to do:

    I want to test the hypothoses behind “Don’t eat that, it fell on the floor” and “The five second rule.”

    Assuming it is a dry, non-sticky food and there is not visible dirt or gunk on it (most people won’t eat ice cream that fell in dog hair), if a piece of food lands on the floor, does it become contaminated and become unsafe to eat (i.e. it will make you sick)? Does length of time it was on the floor have anything to do with how contaminated it is? Do sidewalks, kitchen floors, living room floors, and bathroom floors have different results?

    If a cookie falls on a visibly clean floor, is it less contaminated if it on the floor for 4 seconds than if it was on the floor for 15 or 30 seconds? What other variables effect level of contamination?

    We would try different foods on a variety of freshly swept but not mopped or disinfected floors. We might try purposely contaminating a floor – dripping raw meat juice on it or something – and then wiping it up with a dry towel and letting it thoroughly dry but not disinfecting. Will any bacteria transfer to a non-sticky food? Would it be enough to cause sickness?

    The part I don’t know how to do is checking for contamination. We need a powerful microscope, I guess, and a knowledge of what bacteria look like and how to determine safe and unsafe levels.

  2. May 14, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Mythbusters tested the 5 Second Rule a few seasons ago. You may want to go look around on YouTube to see if that episode is up there. Check what their protocols were and what equipment they used. Don’t give up just because it looks like it might be hard. Remember, The Great Experiment Scholarship will help with the expense. That’s what it’s there for.
    And remember, just because ONE person (Mythbusters) did the experiment doesn’t mean that the experiment doesn’t need to be repeated. You need a body of evidence for a proper conclusion.

  3. MaryLynne said,

    May 14, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    Thanks! I will look it up!

    The other question I would like to explore is “Why do people walk down the middle of the street when there are perfectly good sidewalks on either side?” I really would like to pull up next to them and ask, “Excuse me, I’m taking a scientific survey. Why are you walking down the middle of the street?”

    The next question might be, “Can you not hear that there is a car behind you, are or you ignoring me?” This will be a completely objective survey – as you can tell, no biases or preconceived notions here!

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