Lecture Demonstration

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"Lecture Demonstration"
Author Hal Clement
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Science fiction
Published in Astounding: The John W Campbell Memorial Anthology
Publication type anthology
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Publication date 1973

"Lecture Demonstration" is a short story by American writer Hal Clement. It was first published in Astounding: The John W Campbell Memorial Anthology in 1973.

Plot introduction[edit]

The story laid on the planet Mesklin as used in the author's novel Mission of Gravity, but set in an earlier period when the College established by the Terrestrials is still being set up and the teachers as well as the students are still learning.

Plot summary[edit]

Dr LaVerne, a teacher with the College, takes a party of Mesklinite students on a geological expedition. Whilst examining a layer of rock, it collapses. Teacher and students fall into a cavern. They are unable to climb out; the limiting factor is time as the teacher is enclosed in a suit with a finite oxygen supply.

The students and teacher discuss various possibilities until they realise that they can raise the melting point of the surrounding ammonia 'snow' to the point where it solidifies. They climb out to safety.