Geek of the Week: Ben Johnson

Some students rush to get out of Mines as fast as possible, while other students choose to meander and take in everything they can possibly get from their education at Mines. Ben Johnson, a chemistry major, tends to fall into the latter category. When not hard at work with his endeavors to graduate, Johnson is gaming, discussing the various aspects of elements in culture, and occasionally, interviewing with the Oredigger newspaper.

[Oredigger]: Why Chemistry?
[Johnson]: I’d like to take the title of “Master of Molecular Manipulation” at some point. It’s just so cool to manipulate the very foundation of the universe.

What’s been your favorite class?
Qualitative Organic Analysis because it’s that class that you go into the lab, they give you a random chemical sample and say “what is that?” and you go out and find out using the lab materials and methods they taught you. It’s like being Sherlock Holmes for chemicals.

Are you a geek and why?
Yes…because I over-analyze every aspect of our culture and science where a normal person would be like “yeah, we just accept that.” [For example,] in Bioshock, when you kill Andrew Ryan, why doesn’t he regenerate in a Vita-Chamber? I know there’s one in the next room and who’s to say what the range is on those things?

How do you spend your spare moments?
Video games, Netflix, cooking.

What are your greatest accomplishments?
Almost getting out of this school. Also, becoming a shaman.

Who would win in a fight between Yoda and Darth Vader?
Well, as Red Letter Media pointed out, Yoda’s greatly diminished stature is offset by his use of the Force. Also, Darth Vader is the “Chosen One,” so I think he’d be about equal in Force powers to Yoda. However, because of his stature, I think he could beat the crap outta Yoda.

If you could be dropped into any fictional setting, what would it be and why?
Batman. Definitely Batman. As long as you live in the right place, you get to see a lot of action and you know that Batman’s got your back, unless he shows up too late. Plus, you might end up with super powers by the end of it.

What’s your favorite thing about Mines?
Probably the community. It’s nice to have good friends around when your course load is encumbering.

What’s your best nerd story?
A couple summers ago I actually made some thermite with some friends. It took awhile to get the right mixture of aluminum powder and iron oxide, but when we did, man it lit up well. Also, we found that cinder blocks are really good to stop thermite.

Which would you rather have: a functional sonic screwdriver, or a working teleporter?
That depends. I don’t like travel that much, so I think I’d go with the teleporter, assuming I won’t end up like Jeff Goldblum [in The Fly] or some other teleporter accident.

Do you have any plans for the future?
Get a job. Get a Nobel Prize. In Chemistry, preferably.

If you could get a team of scientists and engineers to pour all of their effort into research and/or development of one thing or area, what would it be and why?
Fusion power and space flight because we need unlimited energy and we need to get outta here.

Do you have a favorite quote?
“You can’t fight fate and you can’t survive alone…I can’t help but notice that almost seems like a definition of who I am…a person who’s trying to do both.” – Batman

Do you have any advice for fellow geeks and Mines students?
I would like to quote [The] Red Green Show: “The handyman’s secret weapon: duct tape,” “…we’re all in this together,” and “If women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.”

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