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...

1. Preparing Chemical Solutions

2. Understanding pH