Focusing on the research element of their office’s duties (which is normally limited to econometric and financial issues), the entire BPIR staff worked together under the leadership of Senior Budget Analyst Joel Drake on an experiment they termed RPG (Rapid Carbonic Geyser).
BPIR staff members considered consulting with the department’s Materials Testing Section but ultimately decided to proceed on their own because of the delays associated with using accepted scientific methods and assessing potential environmental impacts. The BPIR researchers knew enough about scientific protocol to document the results and share them with other ITD employees.
The visual effects were truly stunning.
The goal was to observe the reaction of combining two chemical compounds – one a solid, the other volatile liquid.
Under the technical direction of the Economics & Research Manager, Doug Benzon, a plan was designed, the equipment prepared, and the experiment undertaken. Administrative assistant Wilma Geiger put the plan – and herself – into action.
The first photo shows the three items required for the RPG experiment:
The second photo shows junior scientist Wilma Gieger making the necessary preparations for the final leg of the experiment (also known as the “blast-off” stage).
The third photo shows the culmination of the experiment and a near world record (not the height of the eruption, but Wilma’s quest for a 100-yard-dash record).
The experiment proved to be a roaring success. Chief soda researcher Doug Benzon clarified things for bystanders and nearby engineers by stating:
“Sodamentologists have not yet established which combination of soda and Mentos produces the most satisfying results. It seems highly unlikely that the flavor affects the results, but for what it's worth, we’ve achieved better results with mint-flavored Mentos than with fruit Mentos.
“It is plausible that the choice of soda might also affect the results, because of the amount of dissolved CO2. It is my hope that the technology resulting from this experiment will someday replace ethanol as an alternative fuel for the department’s vehicle fleet,” Benzon adds.
There is now a concerted movement within the department to designate a new acronym for BPIR: “Benevolent Providers of Idiot Research.”