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Laboratory Procedures

Isaac Asimov wrote about chemists in his 1965 work, "To Tell a Chemist"...

Since I know the chemical profession best, I devised two questions, for instance, to tell a chemist from a nonchemist.  Here they are:
  1. How do you pronounce UNIONIZED?
  2. What is a mole?

In response to the first question, the nonchemist is bound to say "YOO-yun-ized," which is the logical pronunciation, and the dictionary pronunciation, too.  The chemist, however, would never think of such a thing; he would say without a moment's hesitation: "un-EYE-on-ized."

In response to the second question, the nonchemist is bound to say, "A little furry animal that burrows underground," unless he is a civil engineer who will say, "A breakwater."  A chemist, on the other hand, will clear his throat, and say, "Well, it's like this -" and keep talking for hours.

There's my cue.  Shall we talk about the chemical version of the little furry animal?

Explore Our Laboratory Procedures Section...