ACS: Philadelphia 2008 – Love Train

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Mar 26, 2019
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The ACS meeting is over, so I guess it’s time for me to climb aboard the love train and head for home. Oh, alright then, it’ll be a cramped flight to the UK, I was just trying to squeeze in a reference to the Philly sound before I left.

But before I go, here are a few bits and pieces from the meeting that made me think, smile, or both. A lot of them seem to involve Barry Sharpless.

Some quotes:

“A man in California just won the Nobel prize for mixing paint and wine.” – Headline in a Los Angeles newspaper following Barry Sharpless’s Nobel win.

“This lovely picture of Edinburgh is one that I took recently – from the internet.” – Dave Leigh

“You say this was done with a burette? I could do better with a graduated cylinder.” – Comment from William Crowell on a young John Roberts’ titration technique.

“Enzymes are swirly things, they’re spaghetti monsters.” – Barry Sharpless. Surely not a reference to the cult of the spaghetti monster?

Things I learnt at the meeting:

Some chemistry sets 77 years ago included recipes for gunpowder.

‘Detartrated’ is the longest single-word palindrome in the English language, according to Barry Sharpless. (To detartrate means to remove the tartrate from wine.)

The spell-check program on my laptop corrects ‘aldehydes’ to ‘baldheads’.

Other things that made me smile:

Barry Sharpless’s impression of an olefin.

That’s all for now, I’m heading for home sweet home.

Andy

Andrew Mitchinson (Senior Editor, Nature)


Go to the profile of Andy Mitchinson

Andy Mitchinson

Chief News & Views Editor, Nature

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