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Porticology, or the study of porticoles, is a relatively new science, having been invented in the year 2003 by researchers at Simon's Rock College of Bard. While interdisciplinary in nature, combining knowledge and skills from Biology, Chemistry, Ecology, Geography, and Dance, porticology is a highly specialized branch of science and few researchers globally are even aware of its existence. Despite its relative obscurity, the porticology knowledge base is rapidly growing, and researchers are discovering new species of porticoles almost every day.
As one might expect, based on the nature of porticoles, the inherent danger in their study keeps this field small and prohibitively expensive. While it is never expected to be a popular major at most universities, porticology nevertheless is integral to modern theories of our world.
Porticoles are best described as animated, living elemental molecules. Discovered first by accident by Mallory Eckstut while taking an Organic Chemistry exam, porticles occur naturally when chemicals from standard writing materials interact with the eccentric fabrications, blind guesses, and drops of fear-induced sweat common to any Organic Chemistry examination in institutions of higher education. Carbon molecules from the paper spontaneously animate under these conditions and begin to attack the student feverently working on the exam, resulting in irritation, distraction, and uncontrolled sobbing. However, their behaviour is not regular, and when porticoles are created from the writing materials of some students (Oddly enough, English students seem to elicit this effect often) they have been known to enter into the student's body and substantially increase the capacity of the student to convince themselves that Organic Chemistry is in any way remotely comprehendable.
Porticoles are blamed for the widespread lack any kind of logical causal relationship between a student's preparation for an exam and their grade. Another characteristic of one well known clade of porticoles is observed when they unify their forces. They form a silk-like fabric that is indestructible by human forces... But not alien forces... Like the Russians.
The Porticology Lab is located in Fisher 214, and is currently inhabited by Thomas Coote and Christopher Werter. Both were trained by porticologists Mallory Eckstut and Perry Vasta. Eckstut and Vasta have been very influential in the promotion and advocacy of its research.
Peter Tiso, a retired researcher, does not understand porticoles or porticology in general. He believes them to be nothing more than the product of one of Mallory's "episodes," and was recently quoted as saying, "Who are you, and how did you get in my house? What? Porticology? It's three A.M.!"