The World of the Chemist
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Thu, 24 Oct 96 19:44:29 -0700
Subject: The World of the Chemist
[It's hard to believe, but I have a degree in this stuff (which means that I
really ought to understand some of these jokes...) -psl]
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** Phrases **
- Remember, if you're not part of the solution,
you're part of the precipitate!
- It takes alkynes to make a world.
- Make it myself? But I'm a physical organic chemist!
- A couple months in the laboratory can frequently save a couple of hours
in the library. [This is the best (albeit saddest) one... -psl]
** Questions & Answers **
Q: Why do chemists like nitrates so much?
A: They're cheaper than day rates!
Q: What's a cation afraid of?
A: A dogion!
** Rules of the lab **
1. When you don't know what you're doing, do it neatly.
2. Experiments must be reproducible; they should fail the same way each time.
3. Experience is directly proportional to equipment ruined.
4. A record of data is essential; it shows that you're working.
5. To study a subject best, understand it thoroughly before you start.
6. If you can't get the answer in the usual manner, start at the answer and
derive the question.
7. If that doesn't work, start at both ends and try to find a common riddle.
8. In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.
9. Do not believe in miracles -- rely on them.
10. Team work is essential. It allows you to blame someone else.
11. All unmarked beakers contain fast-acting, extremely toxic poisons.
** A brief guide to scientific literature **
It has long been known == I haven't bothered to check the references.
It is known == I believe.
It is believed == I think.
It is generally believed == My colleges and I think.
There has been some discussion == Nobody agrees with me.
It can be shown == Just take my word for it.
It is proven == It agrees with something that looks mathematical.
Of great theoretical importance == I find it interesting.
Of great practical importance == This justifies my employment.
Of great historical importance == This ought to make me famous.
Some samples were chosen for study == The others didn't make sense.
Typical results are shown == The best results are shown.
Correct within an order of magnitude == Wrong.
The values were obtained empirically == The values were obtained by accident.
The results are inconclusive == The results seem to disprove my hypothesis.
Additional work is required == Someone else can work on the details.
The investigations proved rewarding == My grant has been renewed!
Synthesized according to standard protocols == Purchased.
It might be argued that == This is the objection I have a good answer for.
© 1996 Peter Langston