Friday, February 4, 2011

Heaven and Hell

In Heaven's chemistry lab...

1. The solvent bottles refill themselves.
2. Your coworkers clean up after themselves and offer to clean your things, too.
3. The HPLCs are always working, and the lines are clog free.
4. There are no bump bulbs on the rotovaps, because there is no bumping.
5. Everyone has their own stool, and no one's ever stealing yours.
6. Columns packing doesn't require tapping or waiting and elute cleanly.
7. You can't overshoot a titration.
8. There's always plenty of buffer solution, and you never have to make more.
9. Glassware puts itself back in the drawer.
10. The stopcocks on separatory funnels are easy to turn and don't ever fill up with salts.
11. There is no queue for the NMR.

In Hell's chemistry lab:

1. There is no solvent, anywhere, not even in your labmate's bench. You fill your flask straight from the drum.
2. Running a reaction always requires reaching into the base bath for glassware.
3. There's one HPLC and the line goes around the block.
4. You have to keep your thumb on the rotovap stopcock to hold vacuum.
5. You stand and you stand and you stand.
6. Columns? What columns? It's prep TLC, all day, all night. Scrape, scrape, scrape
7. There is no endpoint for titrations.
8. All your labmates have bad breath and like to stand really, really close to you. Danger close, even.
9. Every single round bottom has a nervous-making star crack.
10. All you have is a 25 mL sep funnel with a 29/42 neck. Good luck finding a stopper.

Thanks to Leigh for the inspiration.


  1. #6 is in the wrong category. It should be in chemistry heaven!

    I would rather run prep TLCs than columns AT ANY MOMENT IN TIME EVAR.

  2. Alternate to heaven's number 6: You have a Biotage AND it will separate spots <0.1 Rf apart AND it has a fancy detector so your molecules don't have to be UV active.

    AND your labmates clean up after themselves after they use it.

    : )

  3. 2b. There are no dirty glassware bins, because glassware washes itself.

  4. Surely 6 should be "There is never a need to run a column because every reaction you do goes to completion in 5 minutes with no byproducts"

    Sorry to be a bit cheeky but do you mind if I plug my blog a bit here? Still trying to spread to word about it!

    Ta :)

  5. No problem, Monkey w/Typewriter. Plug away.

  6. Good suggestion from Monkey w/Typrewriter for a new no. 6, but 5 minutes? 30 is good enough, and allows for an "extended coffee-break" with good conscience.

  7. In heaven the over-purchased bottles of chemical nasties (NaCN, BuLi, BBr3, bromine...) just magically disappear when you've used what you need.

    In hell they keep accumulating at the back of the hood until the safety office starts yelling.

  8. In heaven, everyone's reactions smell like esterifications with anything but butyric acid.

    In hell, everyone is doing Ugi reactions, with poorly functioning hoods, and your labmates concentrate their crudes on the rotovap in the lab. They also like to doing diazotizations with isoamyl nitrite.

  9. In heaven, everyone gets to do projects which utilize their full potential. Scientists control the fate of their projects.

    In hell, there are constant reorganizations and layoffs and a drastic oversupply of chemists. Scientists bicker over who gets to work on the higher profile projects.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20