You’ve Been in Chemistry Lab Too Long

It is a short week with the holiday and summer is about here, so I’ve not been in much of a mood to blog about anything very important. But I did run across this post, entitled “You Know you’ve worked in a lab too long when…”

It is a good list and worth a read, but I did notice it was definitely skewed toward the more biological labs than the chemical. There are a few classics in there that quite definitely apply to chemistry labs as well, such as washing your hands before you go to the bathroom and you check the web to find out about the weather outside. But I thought I would start on a little list of chemistry-related “You know you have been working in the lab too long when…”

1. You look all the way down ingredient lists, looking for things you know the structure of.
2. When you look at the ingredients list, you curse them for not using the proper name.
3. You refer to cooking operations by their lab versions (filtering off the pasta, refluxing the stew).
4. You get a certain satisfaction when you casually tip some compound onto the scale and it comes out as exactly the amount you wanted. Well, within experimental error.
5. You use the term “within experimental error” with regularity.
6. You can identify certain chemicals by smell, at a very low level.
7. Conversely, there are whole classes of chemicals you cannot smell at all that provoke an animated response from your (non-lab) family and friends.
8. You have a separate set of clothing for work not because it is nicer/more professional but because you don’t want your home clothes to have a series of small holes in them.
9. There are about 2 degrees of separation between you and every other chemist in your immediate geographical location.
10. When you say you are bringing some work home with you, your family are immediately concerned for their safety.

There’s 10…I will add to this list as it occurs to me.

This entry was posted in humor.

3 comments on “You’ve Been in Chemistry Lab Too Long

  1. […] You've Been in Chemistry Lab Too Long « Chemical Space […]

  2. Jennifer says:

    11. You know you’ve been in the lab too long when you use the word “enantiomer” to describe a mirror image in public conversation.
    12. …when you start to wonder how the rock in your engagement ring (or spouse’s) would diffract.
    13. …when you overhear your child use the word “extraction” to describe to his friend how adults get their morning caffeine.

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