Monday, February 27, 2012

Found Chemistry - Landmark Gate with Chemical Message

On a recent visit to a major US university, I had occasion to stop outside the towering steel gates leading into the main courtyard of the newly-constructed chemistry building. I glanced up, and saw organic molecules, decked out in bronze, blue, and red.

On either side of the gate are polypeptides, four residues each, that use standard amino acid abbreviations to spell out a four-letter word* on either side. Pictured (at left) is the left-hand gate. 

Here are artistic molecules done right - correct bond angles, color-coded atoms, even double bonds! They're certainly better rendered than most of the recent ChemBark "WWWTP?" posts.

*(Need a hint? Only so many schools have four-letter names!)


  1. Y(Tyrosine)-A(Alanine)-L(Leucine)-E(Glutamic Acid)

  2. Hooray! You win first prize....a metaphorical "thumbs up"

  3. Another good one was the logo of HP Genenchem. I remember reading an item about that several decades ago, possibly in Bio/Technology.

    If you get a chance, watch the movie The Chairman.

  4. True story: in the final stages of planning the gate, the artist drove the model for the peptide (then just balls of clay on wooden dowels) over to the department for final checking. On the drive, the -OH fell off the tyrosine and rolled under the driver's seat. To our horror, we realized that tyrosine without its -OH is phenylalanine, and the peptide now spelled...wait for it...FALE.