Wednesday, August 1, 2012

8 awesome fake quotes from dead chemists

I see that Jonah Lehrer has apologized and resigned his position at The New Yorker for, among other things, faking quotes from Bob Dylan in his latest book. This isn't something that I thought of doing (i.e. faking quotes from famously reticent artists), so I thought I would try it out for deceased chemists:
  1. Marie Curie: "I should have been wearing my PPE when standing over my hot uranium extractions." 
  2. Friedrich Wöhler: "I did more than make urea, dammit! Of all the things to make it into the textbooks for!"
  3. Moses Gomberg: "Never mind, I think everyone should work on triphenylmethyl radicals." 
  4. Robert Robinson: "I'm not taking responsibility for Tetrahedron Letters, people." 
  5. Paul Lauterbur: "I shoulda gotten that Nobel earlier, and we all know it." 
  6. Glenn Seaborg: "The Salary Survey is the crown jewel of data produced by the American Chemical Society. It should be the finest, most well-documented and most complete annual analysis of the labor economics of the chemical industry in the history of mankind. No expense should be spared in its preparation." 
  7. William Knowles: "Look, if you screw up a chiral hydrogenation, it ain't my fault." 
  8. R.B. Woodward: "Smoking cigarettes made me a better chemist, and it'll work for you, too." 
Wow -- that was easy. I should try it more often. Readers, leave your best fake quotes from dead chemists in the comments.

Note for the literal-minded: This Is Satire. 


  1. HC Brown: "Only a moron wouldn't use boron."

    1. Ach, I forgot the one I came up with last night! H.C. Brown: "I was kidding about all that noise -- of course there's a non-classical carbocation!"

  2. Al Cotton: "Sure, take the rest of the week off."

  3. Mendeleev: "I'm the greatest chemist there ever was. Period!"

  4. Awesome!

    R B Woodward: "I take Thanksgiving off."
    E J Corey: "I take Thanksgiving off."
    K C Nicolaou: "You can take Thanksgiving off."
    H C Brown: "Saul was right after all."
    Linus Pauling: "Vitamin C has nothing to do with curing cancer."
    Stuart Schreiber: "I have always worn a wig."

  5. not dead, but couldn't resist: "When it comes to powerpoint slides, the simpler, the better"--K.C. Nicolaou

  6. Staudinger:"If you would have put a gun to my head, sure, I would have admitted polymers were a hare-brained idea. Looks like the jokes on us all!"

    Fischer:"16-to-1 odds against me getting the absolute configurations right and I nailed it! Ben Franklin only had 2-to-1 odds on the motion of an electron and he delivered an epic fail. I pwned his sorry arse."

  7. Humphry Davy: "Michael who? We all know I invented the electric motor, not that scruffy little bookbinder's apprentice!"

  8. Albert Hoffmann: Wow, that was some trip!

  9. 'When you investigate a new ligand, always make sure you give it a snigger-worthy nickname', R.S. Nyholm. 'No, there is no point publishing that in JACS; it's only an averagely-long metal-metal bond', A. Cotton.

  10. Roald Hoffmann: Thanks for the idea EJ

  11. Kary Mullis: "No, that's all right. I think I've had enough LSD."

  12. W.H. Perkin: "That black junk? No thanks, just toss it in the trash."
    J.M. Schlatter: "Blech! This stuff tastes disgusting! Who wants this in their coffee?"
    Rosalind Franklin: "Oh, you boys go to Sweden and have a good time without me"
    Kishi: "Nickel? Are you KIDDING? %($%(&(@)!!!"
    Metal-Free Chemists: "10 ppb Palladium? Are you KIDDING?"

    Every Chemist before 1940: "Waste disposal? Try the sink, or we have a pond out back."

  13. @Anon1255: Dude, Roald Hoffmann ain't dead!

    Lavoisier: The English and their stupid units of measurement can go **** themselves.

    Pople: Who wants to characterize spin systems with me?

    Borodin: **** this chemistry ****! I'm going to pursue a musical career!

  14. Jack Baldwin (whispering into ear of an attractive blonde he just met in the bar): "I have no hair - anywhere!"

  15. Linus Pauling - "Of course vitamin C isn't a cure-all. I was just trying to game the commodities market. That frozen OJ concentrate scene at the end of 'Trading Places'? That was MY idea!"

    J.N. Bronsted - "Lewis wouldn't know an acid if it donated a proton to his hide"

    G.N. Lewis - "Bronsted wouldn't know an acid if it took an e- pair from his hide"

  16. J. Craig Venter: "You know, I'll be sporting - we'll just call it a tie"

    (yes, I know he's alive)

  17. Mel Newman: I've got your projection, RIGHT HERE!


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