Bankruptcy judges are accustomed to delving into unfamiliar sets of laws. The text of the Bankruptcy Code and the long-standing lessons of Butner v. United States, 440 U.S. 48 (1979), regularly call upon bankruptcy judges to apply nonbankruptcy law in different bankruptcy contexts. Most of the time, that call merely requires the bankruptcy judge to apply the laws of a particular state. However, as Judge Christopher S. Sontchi of the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware recently demonstrated, sometimes that call requires a reach beyond state law and into the laws of science.
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