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When Chemists Wax Poetic

March 5, 2007 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 85, Issue 10

Credit: Courtesy of Michael Zaworotko
Credit: Courtesy of Michael Zaworotko

'Twas several nights after Christmas, and I had just settled down—to read the latest C&EN—when, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a remarkable resemblance between a newly claimed chemical structure of a long-known chemical and that of a universally recognized icon of the Christmas season. In the article, "Aspirin's Dose of Structural Insight," two forms of aspirin, with dimers of dimers tilting in alternating layers, crystallized my thinking (C&EN, Jan. 1, page 27).

I saw double "shades of difference"—that is, two teams, each with eight tiny reindeer, and all with very shiny Rudolphesque "red noses." Perhaps the reindeer octets partook of a little "snort" before playing their reindeer games without poor Rudolph? Although I could discern "pairs," I could not determine just which was Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, or Blitzen (but alas, no Rudolph).

All of the "other" reindeer in each "team" pointed in similarly patterned directions, now dash away, dash away, dash away all, from one another, even when viewed upside-down.

Discoveries indeed "lurk" in the most familiar of places, I exclaim, with apologies to Drs. Desiraju and Zaworotko, Peterson, Boese, Bond, et al.

To all a good night.

Stacy L. Daniels
Midland, Mich.


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