[simage=122,288,n,left,]You want to know what’s the hottest new job in academe? It’s at New Mexico State University, and it’s the Endowed Chile Research Chair position at that university’s Chile Pepper Institute. The Institute is involved in the scientific study of different chile peppers at the molecular and botanical levels, which I think means these people came up with a much better BS story than I could ever hope to imagine, and got it funded (“C’mon Bob, you’ve been Dean here for 42 years and I’ve always supported you. Me and the other emeriti just want to be paid to attend some chili cookoffs…can’t you just make that happen?”). Seriously, though, the research is quite interesting, as chiles and their chemical compounds offer numerous possibilities in terms of fighting disease, on top of tasting delicious.
The best part about the funding for the proposed Chair position, however, is that one way that the Institute is raising money is by selling jars of salsa made from the world’s hottest pepper, the bhut jolokia. The jolokia is around 1,000,000 Scoville units, compared to Tabasco, which runs about 2,000-5,000. That number is twice the potency of the hot sauce that recently sent some German teenagers to the E.R., so you know it’s the good stuff. Now, that’s a number for the pepper, and I’m sure there’s more in the salsa than just peppers, but I’ll bet it’s pretty hot. And maybe even tax-deductible.