Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Chemistry 'Rules of Acquisition'

Pardon me while I nerd out for a moment...

"Rule 74: Knowledge equals profit"
Source: Paramount
One of the more popular characters on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was Quark, the scheming Ferengi bartender who set up shady deals and forever vexed station security. To support Quark's M.O. the show's producers compiled a tongue-in-cheek set of Ferengi business tenets called the "Rules of Acquisition" (recall that these same producers once invented a language for ST:TNG).

Now, although the lab atmosphere purportedly promotes cooperation and teamwork, those of us who've staunchly guarded a favorite piece of glassware or equipment might beg to differ. I therefore suggest an (admittedly incomplete) set of Lab Rules of Acquisition**

1. Everyone writes their own dissertation.
2. If I wash your flask, it's going in my drawer.
3. Keep your friends close, and your stir bars closer.
4. Using 'group intermediates' saves you the trouble!
5. Rotovaps are fair game.
6. Always 'repurpose' others' old NMR tubes.
7. Become best friends with the lab manager - they have all the best supplies.
8. Never turn down free lunch.
9. Authorship = currency.
10. When all else fails, blame the intern.

*Readers: Have more suggestions? Feel free to comment, and I'll add them into the mix!
**P.S. For those with a literal streak, this is clearly satire. Labmates who behave this way end up in hot water.


  1. 47: Never trust a labmate wearing a cleaner lab coat than your own.

    62: The riskier the synthesis, the greater the yield.

    239: Never be afraid to mislabel a chemical. (..?)

    1. Mislabelling is something to be afraid of if you have a safety inspector... instead of mislabeling them, use the correct name!

      Dont want someone to steal the acetone bottle you fill up everyday?

      Why would they when it's labeled beta-ketopropane!

  2. In our lab there are only a few magnetic wands for stirrer bead retrieval.

    Hence, if you leave one on your fumehood, any magnetic bead attached is claimed as your own.

  3. Unattended Keck clips are fair game. Collect as many as you can.

  4. If something wont get clean, see it send it to glassware limba (aka the base bath), never to be seen again.

    1. and that is meant to say limbo, not a Nepalese village

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