Friday, December 16, 2011

12 rumors about *that* professor

Every chemistry department has a Professor Y, someone who makes the potted plants wilt a little when they walk by and makes grad students tinkle in their pants. Here's some things I heard about them:
  1. Morning coffee cup made from the skull of a former graduate student who reported a 25% yield. 
  2. Walked into E.J. Corey's office once without pushing the button. 
  3. Designed 4 dresses that made it onto the cover of Vogue
  4. Professor Y was a sniper in Vietnam with 15 kills. 
  5. A postdoc challenged Professor Y during a group meeting; they had a duel that ended when Professor Y beheaded them. The group meeting ended on time at 12:15 am. 
  6. Professor Y told their committee when they were graduating -- and they loved it!
  7. They don't have a bedroom at home -- they sleep on top of old Chemical Reviews with a copy of Chemical Abstracts as a pillow.
  8. Professor Y once gave Chuck Norris an 'F' on a p-chem exam -- that's why he's an actor now instead of a chemist. 
  9. Can recite journal articles from memory; as a parlor trick, can recite supplemental information procedures. 
  10. Doesn't have radio on while driving -- listens to computer-read Nature Chemistry articles in the car instead. 
  11. Gave an exam so hard that a student's head exploded. You can still see the bloodstains on the ceiling in Room 358. 
  12. Professor Y is a really nice person -- you just have to go BASE jumping with them a few times. 


  1. 1. Professor X can make pepper spray cry.
    2. Professor Y has a deep and abiding respect for graduate students...until they get in his way.
    3. Professor X gave E. J. Corey the idea for the Woodward-Hoffmann rules.
    4. You remember the story about Robert Oppenheimer getting done with his defense and his committee members wiping their brow and saying "Whew, we are glad that's over"? "Robert Oppenheimer" was Professor X.
    5. Professor X can catalyze a 4n conrotatory ring-closing under *photochemical* conditions by just shaking the flask.
    6. When you say "Nobody's perfect", Professor Y takes this as a personal insult.
    7. Complex mixtures of stereoisomers separate themselves out and march over to the NMR tubes when Professor Y walks into lab.
    8. When Professor Y has heartburn and a friend offers some omeprazole, Professor Y is compelled to ask "R or S"?
    9. Woodward was known to go over IR spectra with a magnifying glass. Professor Y makes students do this.
    10. When VX comes in contact with Professor Y, it spontaneously decomposes and its phosphate atoms become part of Professor Y's ATP.

  2. Is "bass jumping" like when you jump from a tall building, and land in a fish pond?

  3. I like the idea of bass jumping. Sounds outdoorsy.

    I was also a fan of the line that Prof. X separates enantiomers by hand.

  4. "A postdoc challenged Professor Y during a group meeting; they had a duel that ended when Professor Y beheaded them. The group meeting ended on time at 12:15 am. "

    Did he kill the whole group?

  5. I would love to have one of those buttons.


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