Org Prep Daily

December 15, 2007

Glow in the dark

Filed under: procedures — milkshake @ 11:53 am

I got a C grade from the radiochemistry labs once. It troubled me a great deal: I wanted no C on my transcript. The overbearing fellow in charge of the labs was throwing tantrums because of some weakly-labeled sulfur spilled on my bench. (A soft emitter less active than plain KCl, I argued – but the bossman would have none of it)

And I fought hard and requested extra weeks in that basement lab: I would redo everything, on those noisy detectors.
Thus I earned the second C from the radiochemistry dudde – proving his point that I was an exemplary failure.

I prayed for this man’s suffering. A swimming accident – fast comes a boat with two cruel propellers…

Now I see only a disappointed man, trying to discipline kids. The years in a basement lab with obsolete instruments



  1. Oh yeah, I know that insight. For me it was a fourth year photochemistry course. ‘Twas a lifetime ago but I can still taste the bile and tell myself the rationalization.

    Well done.

    Comment by Liberal Chemist — December 15, 2007 @ 3:43 pm

  2. Awesome picture!!!

    Comment by Ψ*Ψ — December 16, 2007 @ 7:09 am

  3. The full-scale picture is here: if you want a nice monitor backgroud.

    I stole it from someones Flickr account; the lighthouse has six giant kerosene-powered lamps with the Fresnel lenses and the whole thing rotates. Nowadays they use wimpy electrical lights there. But once a year, on some festival, they fire the real thing and put the rotation on hold for awhile – so that people can take the pictures of the awesomeness.

    Comment by milkshake — December 16, 2007 @ 10:29 am

  4. You know what would be a neato post? Your thoughts on recrystallization… techniques for screening solvent systems… how to develop ones intuition..etc.

    Comment by Tom — December 16, 2007 @ 12:40 pm

  5. I liked it better as the weird poem that it was when you first posted it.

    Comment by Dan — December 16, 2007 @ 2:38 pm

  6. When dealing with crappy old instruments, podgonometriya helps, if you know what I’m talking about. 😉

    Comment by liquidcarbon — December 16, 2007 @ 5:09 pm

  7. Dan, the free-verse poems practically write themselves:

    Let there be no rhyme

    In the beginning RandomGenerator created the text
    And it was without form, and void
    And the conceit moved upon the face of the banality
    And RandomGenerator saw the rambling was good
    And He divided it into Chunks of Great Profundity…

    Crystallization techniques: My favorite solvent for re-crystallizing things is benzene and cyclohexane (sometimes added as an antisolvent) for a nonpolar stuff. Ethanol-water for polar things. Low melting nonpolar materials sometimes crystallize nicely with pentane at -20C (decant quickly, rinse with chilled pentane and dry promnptly on house vac before the stuf melts back). For very polar poorly-soluble stuff I would use acetonitrile (partly for convenience – you can sample supernatants directly into HPLC). But I am not terribly good at crystallizing things, for the lack of patience.

    Comment by milkshake — December 16, 2007 @ 6:33 pm

  8. ooh! good idea! maybe i’ll do a post on recrystallizing things. 🙂 i do it often enough, after all

    Comment by Ψ*Ψ — December 16, 2007 @ 7:24 pm

  9. Tom,

    My favorite method for re-crystallizing right now is probably the most simple.
    Just add diethylether to dissolve my product in a wide mouth vial and then add the same ammount of cyclohexane (my products are not sol. in this). Cover with a tinfoil and make a tiny hole in it then leave in a cupboard.

    When I have been able to resist checking on it every 15 minutes I have got some fantastic xray crystals.

    Comment by kirrasoul — December 17, 2007 @ 5:19 pm

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