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Synthesis

Chemistry in Pictures: Synthetic chemist’s Rorschach test

by Craig Bettenhausen
October 8, 2020

 

20201008lnp20-rorschach.jpg
Credit: Submitted by Agostina Mazzeo

Agostina Mazzeo found this pattern in her round-bottom flask when she dried a reaction product. Mazzeo, a grad student at the University of Buenos Aires, has removed solvents from plenty of reaction mixtures, especially from porphyrins, which are hardy and useful but difficult to synthesize and purify. But when she dried this mixture, the results gave her pause. “I think the fractal image formed is beautiful, kind of messy but structured at the same time, and it even reminds me of the shape of phylogenetic trees,” she says. Around the C&EN offices, folks saw Sauron’s eye from Lord of the Rings, a Sarlacc pit from Star Wars, and mud cracks. So tell me, what do you see?

Submitted by Agostina Mazzeo

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