Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Angewandte's songbook

Out here I spoke about attempted humor in graphical abstracts of Angewandte. The abstract often begins with a few words aiming to create some hilarity.

I have no idea whether Jerry Lee Lewis could laugh about it (or Otis Blackwell and Jack Hammer).

It seems to be a hype to use song titles (or derivatives) for this. Many other songs can be identified.

Chubby Checker:
Let's twist again

The Beatles of course:
You say you want a resolution

All together now

Who wants to live forever?

Culture Club:
Chemical chameleon

Pete Seeger (and of course The Byrds):
Turn, turn, turn
Yeah I know it's from Ecclesiastes 3, verses 1–8.

Wilbert Harrison (or Brian Ferry or Bob Dylan)
Let's stick together

Maybe in the future musicians will be rated according to the amount of songs that have been used by Angewandte. The Beatles are number 1 right now.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Champagne chemistry

The previous post about was about Wine Chemistry. One discipline in this area is Champagne Chemistry

A while ago Industrial and Engineering Chemistry published a wine special (Vol. 27, No. 11: November 1935).

One article fits very well in those days around Christmas and new year.

Manufacture of Champagne and Sparkling Burgundy
F. M. Champlin, H. E. Goresline, D. K. Tressler
Ind. Eng. Chem.; 1935; 27(11); 1240-1243.

It is a nice article to read and it has some bad quality but nice pictures.

Here is another nice article for Christmas time: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/fam.810180103

Enjoy... Happy X-mas and a happy etc. etc. etc.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Bottle of wine, fruit of the vine

Do you like wine?

An alarming title of a paper by Harry Drake Gibbs (1872 – 1934). This is the guy from gibbs reagent (2,6-dichloroquinonechloroimide for a phenol test, Chem. Rev. 1927, 3, 291)
The arsenic in the wine came from arsenic-containing pesticides, clarifying agents, aniline-dyes and agents to clean the wine casks.

You may think: ‘I don’t care I prefer beer.’ Well don’t feel safe.

The Manchester 1900 arsenic brewage resulted in 6000 poisonings and 70 deaths. The arsenic came from glucose, so the beer did not comply with the Reinheitsgebot.

Invert sugar (hydrolyzed sucrose) can be added while brewing beer to speed up the fermentation. Invert sugar can be made by cooking normal sugar in the presence of an acid (resulting in fructose and glucose). The 1900 brewer used invert suger prepared by by this method using sulfuric acid. The sulfuric acid was made from sulfur obtained by combution of sulfur containing ore (pyrite). Unfortunately this ore contained quite some arsenic. The sulfuric acid was polluted with this arsenic and in the end there was the arsenicated beer.

This type of beer is still not very popular, most homebrewers prefer decent stuff.

Arsenicated wine is not rare. It has been said that Napoleon died from arsenic poisoning on Saint Helena in 1821.

If this is true it does not mean that someone poisoned him deliberately. Maybe he just drank the wrong stuff.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mother's milk chemistry

There is this very nice paper by Prof. Albert Ripley Leeds (prof of chemistry at the Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, N.J. who died of gastric cancer in 1902)

He analyzed the ingredients of mother’s milk and relates that to age, nationality, hair color etc.

The style of writing is awesome.

Prof. Albert screwed things up, writes it down and publishes it. That’s something you don’t see a lot nowadays.

Apart from analyses Prof. Albert describes physical properties.

When you study mother’s milk you have to describe this property.

Can you imagine a German brunette giving a chemistry professor (probably with beard) a breast?

Maybe Prof. Albert preferred being nursed by someone else:

Here are some other details of the Polish lady.

Too bad, no exact measurements of her breasts.

Maybe Prof. Albert preferred a younger lady.

This amazing 19th century paper clearly shows how careful they were back then with collecting their data.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Top 5 inappropriate behaviour chemists

1) Samuel Edwin Ashby
Pharmaceutical chemist Ashby was found guilty by the Statutory Committee of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain for misconduct on 25 October 2006. His name was removed from the register of pharmaceutical chemists. Ashby made a lovely record of inappropriate behaviour at 5 pharmacies. Supplying the wrong medicine to patients, taking oxazepam and other drugs for his own use, calling female colleagues and customers arrogant cows or stupid bitches, telling the manager to shut up and piss off, physically assault staff members with iron bars, using offensive language and ignore the code of ethics.

2) Paracelsus
The alchemist and physician wandered from town to town through Europe in the 16th century. Quarreling with everybody everywhere he came, and carefully preserve his reputation as an arrogant person. He could often be found on the streets showing off with his knowledge while being drunk and wearing the same clothes for several months. His disciple Oporinus wrote that Paracelsus was an irreverent, a glutton, and a drunk.

3) Joyce Gilchrist

Forensic chemist Gilchrist falsified evidence for 15 years in many cases. On the basis of her testimonies several people were sentenced to death and 12 have already been executed. Not very kind of her.

4) Colleen Brubaker

Police chemist Brubaker stole drugs from the Philadelphia Police Department in order to satisfy her addiction. Several drug dealers walked back out on the street because the evidence was gone. It's hard to deny an addiction when such a photograph exists.

5) James Watson
Nobel prize winner and world champion in the art of saying stupid things.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The rise and fall of rimonabant

The rise and fall of SR141716A/rimonabant/Acomplia/Zimulti



Friday, November 16, 2007

Angewandte's graphical abstracts

It’s always nice to go through the graphical abstracts of Angewandte. A lot of colorful things that try to catch your eye.

A little bit of humor is often present



The latest issue contains a graphical abstract with pictures of a lovely way to recover a catalyst.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007


1 year old, 139 posts, 50K+ visitors, top 5 lists, beards and dead chemists....Hooray!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Beard chemistry

Shulgin is a bearded chemist. It might be wise for him to shave it off. His beard contains evidence for the narcotic brigade. See here:

Occult chemistry is nice but beard chemistry is awesome. It is a privilege to perform such analyses.

Very nice that they explicitly pay attention to hygiene.

Unfortunately they failed to mention the brand of the shaver in the 'Apparatus' section.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Crick to Watson

Albert has his own 'What they said' about this here.