Friday, November 15, 2013

Orgo/o-chem/organic?

Never bought one of those stickers.
Courtesy of Jake Yeston, a really good question: When you were an undergrad, what did you call your sophomore organic chemistry course?* I called it "o-chem", and when my friend who was going to school in Houston called it "orgo", I must have looked at him like he had three heads. 

[It seems to me that calling it "orgo" (as seems to be done in Harvard's extension school) is an odd abbreviation, because it adds a letter that isn't in the word. 'O-chem' makes sense, especially when you think about 'p-chem', although I suspect no one calls it 'a-chem' or 'b-chem'.] 

Readers, what did you call it? What do you prefer now?

UPDATE: Readers, please answer this survey on SurveyMonkey about what you called organic chemistry; I'm going to try to map it.

*Doesn't Juniata teach organic first? What do they call it? 

47 comments:

  1. I call it ochem. Orgo makes my blood curdle.

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  2. I like 'The OC' for organic.

    Was more topical when the Fox show was airing.

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  3. I said "organic *groan*"

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  4. O-Chem for me (2011 graduate). I don't understand where Orgo even came from, there is no second O in the word. And for Inorganic Chemistry, I think I most often used Inorganic, and then Inorg, don't think I used I-Chem (maybe Inorgo??)

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  5. Orgo, I love how just rolls off my tongue.

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  6. At my Canadian school we called it Org, Inorg, PhysChem, and Analytical.

    No one seemed to want to shorten that last name when describing the classes they were taking.

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  7. State school in the midwest. Orgo.

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  8. I was always under this impression:

    West Coast = o-chem
    East Coast = orgo

    But your Houston data point seems to refute that generalization.

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  9. Orgo, the monster that destroys the dream of medical school admission.

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  10. California: gen chem, o chem, and p chem

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  11. GenChem, Orgo, Inorganic, P-Chem.
    (Why we didn't call the third class "inorgo" is beyond me...)

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  12. Pretty sure I said "organic" as an undergrad (KY). Definitely said p-chem.

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  13. Undergrad in eastern PA - gen chem, orgo, p-chem, analytical
    Grad school in SoCal- gen chem, o-chem, p-chem, analytical

    I prefer calling it o-chem or organic.

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  14. I called it O-Chem (in Utah), but was surprised when I moved to Illinois for my PhD and the students called it Orgo. It still sounds strange to me.

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  15. Undergrad in WI - gen chem, o-chem, p-chem

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  16. New College of Florida used to teach Organic first, and it was O-Chem at the time (2003ish).

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  17. Orgo. Small liberal arts college in NJ. You should try to map the answers, CJ, I'm wondering if there's a regional distribution like these: http://www.businessinsider.com/22-maps-that-show-the-deepest-linguistic-conflicts-in-america-2013-6?op=1

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    1. Yes, I think it is more common for east coaster's say "orgo" and west coasters say "o-chem." (anon 12:32pm).

      Mapping the distribution was be interesting. Good article Carmen, thanks.

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  18. At Georgia Tech they call it Orgo, but at the University of Georgia they call it O-Chem. The schools are about 70 miles from each another. I took gen chem at UGA but organic chemistry at GA Tech, so I was converted to say Orgo.

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  19. Unless there was a weird ChemE Chem split, at GT it was orgo lab and o-chem lecture. But I was there before the Olympics....

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  20. I might guess rather than regionally it could well correlate to where majority of profs went to school and what they use then becomes embedded where they teach?

    Whatever was "organic" in undergrad TX school I attended and o-chem in east coast grad school . Unlike CanChem we did shorten Analytical, perhaps more a reflection of the particular profs encountered in that area (and probably would continue to use today as representative stereotype in many QA/QC groups I know).

    Tangentially CJ couldn't you find a better picture for an Organic topic than a "p-chem" bumper sticker? Could honk however thinking about p-chem brings back unpleasant memories as took 3 courses; as undergrad, again grad requirement and then another disguised as "bio-physicial" course. Even though I ultimately applied portions as process chemists never quite got the bad struggles out of my head.

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    1. Sorry -- I couldn't think of anything else at the time. Sigh.

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  21. In Canada, we used "o-chem," "p-chem," "analytical" and "inorganic." For those of us who did biochem, we also used "b-chem," likely because the course code/prefix was BCEM (all others were CHEM). I'd be curious to know if the fraction of students that are Chem majors (vs. pre-med/bio/general science) has any bearing...

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  22. general = chem
    organic = ochem
    physical = pchem
    inorganic = inorganic
    analytical = anal Seriously people, I know you did it too so just fess up.

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  23. College in the mid 90s, SoCal.

    genchem
    ochem
    ichem
    pchem
    analchem

    The biochemists who took physical biochemistry instead of just physical chemistry did, in fact, refer to their class as pbchem like pb and j.

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    1. ah ah anal chem. It's funny everytime.

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  24. We called analytical chem quant, for Quantitative Analysis

    -- Unstable Isotope

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  25. Organic (Canada).

    ThE mAsTeR wOuLd NoT aPpRoVe Of "OrGo"... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0s9OC6rzAA

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    1. That's just what i always think of when i hear "Orgo" also.

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  26. Currently, at McGill University in Canada, I've most often heard it called "org" (I haven't finished my undergrad).

    By the way, your survey doesn't work if you want to put an "other" option.

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  27. Organic but also P-Chem so not consistent ... New England

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  28. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKu_QQVHJLA
    Good Will Hunting - The Harvard med student complaining about organic chemistry calls it "organic chemistry" and "o-chem"....

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  29. There was a split, the pre-meds who hated Organic called it orgo, and other pre-meds who loved it, called it organic.

    North Shore of eastern Long Island, NY

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  30. I took the "Organic First" path at Juniata, I called it O-Chem as did most of the students.
    We also called physical chem P-Chem but inorganic and analytical didn't get any fancy name.

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  31. Where I went, Analytical was often referred to by its abbreviation in the course catalog: ANAL.

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  32. Why do you need an abbreviation for everything in the colonies? Call it organic chemistry like the rest of the planet, don't you have enought time to say it?

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  33. Well I named my site EasyOChem so I like OChem.

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