I still remember one of the last Discovery Channel
-style epiphany that occurred to me before I overdosed on Physics and the mere mention of the word started sending me into irrepressible fits of maniacal laughter:
While studying the effect of high-voltage electrical current on molecular geometry, our professor mentioned in passing that this was, in essence, what happened in the skies before (and during) your typical thunderstorm: oxygen molecules (O2
) would get dissociated into unstable atomic oxygen that would recombine with more O2
to make ozone (O3
). Ozone being much more dense than molecular oxygen then proceeds to fall straight to the ground where it reaches the unsuspecting layman’s nostrils.
So that lovely and unique smell that fills the air just before a Summer storm like right now is the smell of ozone
Science is, indeed, a wonderful thing.
Update: Scott’s insightful contribution and some more amusing scientific facts about Ozone, in the comment section.