University English Faculty water machine ‘slightly too cold’, say students

Jenny Buckley –News Reporter 22 November 2012

Students at the Faculty of English have been complaining of brain-freeze aka – sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia, after using the water dispenser in the social space.

The Cambridge Student was first alerted to the situtuation by Joe Jarrett, a fourth-year MPhil student, who stressed that: “It is actually quite cold. Ideally, they would make it just a bit less cold.”

Yet he is not alone in criticising the faculty for the temperature of their water as this is in fact a common concern amongst members of the faculty. Second-year student Maya Palit, told TCS that: “You can actually feel the cold seeping through the enamel on your teeth, sinking into the root canal and travelling up into your brain. It’s mind-numbingly cold and gives you brain freeze.”

Brain-freeze is a condition which affects 80% of the population and is the body’s traumatised response to unexpected coldness. People suffer from the condition when the upper-palate comes into contact with something extremely cold, such as ice-cream, causing a sudden, dramatic increase in blood flow through the brain’s anterior cerebral artery. This initiates the pain sensation associated with the ‘ice cream headache’. Only after the artery constricts back to its normal dimensions does the pain wear off.

The most simple way to initiate arterial constriction is to drink room-temperature water, restoring the upper-palate to its usual temperature. Yet when faced with a cooler which only dispenses ice-cold water, this becomes problematic for members of the faculty, reducing their creativity as blood flow to the brain is restricted.

The water in the dispenser, TCS can reveal, is at 7oC, almost twice as cold as that available in other faculties – History offers water at 13oC and Law 12 oC. In comparison, the water available in English is the equivalent temperature of water from a cold tap which has been running for approximately five minutes.

Yet the water temperature is a divisive topic within the faculty as Francesca Cherry, a second-year from Pembroke commented: “I can’t distinguish between the cold and supposedly less cold tap.”

Despite its dubious temperature settings, it would appear that the cooler is, on the whole, a beloved addition to the faculty. “I have to confess it hasn’t really bothered me” said Megan Dalton, a first-year from Queens, “I just like the fact that someone’s pencilled in ‘spontaneous’ in front of ‘overflowing’ on the warning note.”

Jenny Buckley –News Reporter