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This is a question Professions I Hate

Broken Arrow says: Bankers, recruitment consultants, politicians. What professions do you hate and why?

(, Thu 27 May 2010, 12:26)
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Chemistry Lecturers
Professor Strangwood was the bane of my life. He was nasty, sarcastic, unapologetic, and - bizarrely - bore an uncanny resemblence to Screech from Saved By The Bell. I doubt he'll want me to use his likeness, but here's a photo to prove it.


Now, I don't want to subject unfortunate B3TAns to this, but it is necessary for you to understand some of the chemistry I was studying to fully get the gist of this story.

We were researching a metal complex which could have great importance in the storage of hydrogen. Hydrogen has, for the last 15 years or so, been a subject of massive importance, because it has the potential to replace fossil fuels in many applications, not least fuelling our cars and power stations.

The focus of study was metal complexes. These complexes have, at their heart, a positively-charged metal cation, surrounded by negatively-charged ligands ('arms', if you like) which were frequently organic. If molecules such as lithium tetrahydridoaluminate (basically an aluminium ion clinging onto a whole lot of hydrogen) could be persuaded to let go of their hydrogen, they might become the basis of a hydrogen-centric economy.

My particular research was oriented around finding other ligand anions which would take the place of the hydrogen particularly well. Such anions tend to be known as nucleophiles, because of their electrostatic attraction towards the positively-charged metal cation. A particularly well-known nucleophile is the cyanate ion, which consists of an oxygen atom, bonded to a carbon atom, bonded to a nitrogen atom. This results in a serious negative dipole around the oxygen atom, attracting it to the positively-charged metal ion.

Anyway, when I proposed further investigation of nucleophiles to Professor Strangwood, he flipped! He yelled at me about atmospheric poisons, and catalysis of unwanted fuel-cracking, and several other ideas that hadn't really occurred to me. As he turned purple-faced and stood on his chair to get a better angle of abuse, I fled his office down the corridor, attempting not to shed a manly tear. I ran into the arms of Catherine, a cuddly-breasted colleague of mine, and promptly seized the opportunity to cry into her ample cleavage.

As she gave me a big hug, and asked what horrors I had received from Strangwood, I was a little overcome and emotional. Overwhelmed by big-breasted cuddliness, I could only bring myself to blurt out:

"Prof - he shuns cyanate!"

Length? About two-and-a-half angstroms if my calculations were correct.
(, Tue 1 Jun 2010, 0:54, 13 replies)
Long lost twin
of Quentin Tarantino?
(, Tue 1 Jun 2010, 1:57, closed)
^beat me to it

(, Tue 1 Jun 2010, 17:39, closed)
Well done
I have nothing to Base this on, but you might get pH-lamed for a pun like that.
(, Tue 1 Jun 2010, 3:18, closed)
This is why I read the end first

(, Tue 1 Jun 2010, 3:42, closed)
(, Tue 1 Jun 2010, 7:22, closed)
Hanging is too good for 'em.
(, Tue 1 Jun 2010, 7:25, closed)
We got all this for free
Thats a bit radical
(, Tue 1 Jun 2010, 9:11, closed)
are getting easier to spot. No less annoying however.
(, Tue 1 Jun 2010, 9:15, closed)
I have a funny feeling that there is more than a microgram of fact in this yarn,
though I don't know the prof. However I do know someone who might know him.
(, Tue 1 Jun 2010, 10:21, closed)
Only a microgram, sadly
He - and I - are metallurgists, not inorganic chemists.
(, Tue 1 Jun 2010, 11:33, closed)
The main problem with lithal (LiALH4)
is not normally getting it to give up its hydrogen, but to make it do so without setting fire to everything. We had a numpty set himself alight dumping a gram of it into a flask of ether.
(, Tue 1 Jun 2010, 11:51, closed)
Just for the chemistry. Took me 2 years to get the hang of organometallics though. *Sigh*
(, Tue 1 Jun 2010, 12:11, closed)
I worked with organometallics for a long time
Not that I know that much about the subject, mind!
(, Tue 1 Jun 2010, 12:48, closed)

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