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View all of our 2001 valentine series.

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LOVE & MATING

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CHAPTER & VERSE

ROMANTIC CHEMISTRY.

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ONE MAN'S TRASH IS OUR MAGAZINE'S TREASURE. FROM THE DEPTHS OF AN EMAIL FOLDER, IT'S THE STORY HE DIDN'T WANT PUBLISHED
[posted 02.22.2001]

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From: Mark Greene
To: Samantha Bornemann
Subject: this is like listening to my own voice…
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001 15:58:51 -0600
THIS IS NOT GOOD CONTENT.
This is a great idea of yours, but it is not executed well at all. It is not funny. No one will laugh. Really. Do not damage your website with this crap. Perhaps this can be mulled over and turned into good content for a “spring love” article in April.
REPEAT: THIS IS NOT GOOD CONTENT.
If you choose to post this, note that the numbers next to the letters in the chemical formulae need to be subscripted. Sorry for being so pessimistic about this. When you read on, you’ll see what I mean…
M.

All right folks, here’s the deal: The editor-in-chief remarked the other day how great it would be to have this article about “couples in science. Not people, but atoms, molecules, whaddyoucallem, whatever….” I thought, This is pretty dorky even for me. But she was persistent. So here it is. Most of you won’t make it through this because it’s boring.

LSD AND STRYCHNINE

Ah, where would psychedelics be without this common household alkaloid/rat poison? As far as this couple goes, one’s crazy, the other’s just plain dangerous.

LITHIUM FLUORIDE

A simple clear crystal composed of the most electropositive and most electronegative elements in the periodic table. Just try and separate these two and see what happens.

ETHANOL AND WATER

Known in thousands of forms under thousands of brand names (see also: Absolut, Maker’s Mark, cabernet, etc.), this couple is resposible for a lot of human couples getting together. The range in this chemical mixture goes from cheap ghetto-style whiskey/paint thinner to chichi ooh-la-la 1968 vintage pomp and circumstance. In other words: a lot like Manhattan.

GASOLINE

More like a Roman orgy in this context. Lots of similar creatures in this mixture: mostly various octanes, a little heptane perhaps, maybe even a molecule or two of nonane. Sometimes a little ethanol can really fire this party if it starts to drag on and on like this article….

TYLENOL (ACETAMINOPHEN) AND CODEINE

A couple that just goes through the motions. Probably Claus and Sunny von Bulow, but that might be quaaludes and nitrous oxide, not that the two form a nice couple. (Nor is this an article about drugs, though it seems to be degrading into such a bit of that kind of drivel.) These two painkillers can’t even remember the last time they saw a movie in the theatre….

GALLIUM ARSENIDE

This is THE nerdiest couple you have ever met. They can do math together four times faster than that kid silicon in the normal math class. Unfortunately, they don’t make friends very easily with the other elements, so they never end up in a pretty computer. Plus, they’re both really high maintenance and crumble pretty easily under pressure. Not a good pair to rely on in an emergency.

VINEGAR AND OIL

Well, nothing says disfunction like salad dressing. Get these two talking and they’re fine, but if you don’t keep prodding them, they migrate to their own corners. Really fucking frustrating to watch….

So there you have it. Love and chemistry. The two go together like toast and bagels. Happy Valentine’s Day.

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mark e. greene is working on his ph.d. in materials science and engineering at northwestern university. he lives in chicago and mindlessly babbles on to no logical conclusion about the impact of materials on mankind to his friends. he hopes to hold many patents for new materials of his own design and creation so that he may have an impact on mankind. woo! haha haha….