Chemists: We have a standardized and systematic naming convention overseen by an international body. Sure the names can get long and cumbersome but if you have the full IUPAC name you know exactly what the molecule looks like, including it’s spatial and 3D configuration, so ultimately our system is both helpful and informative

All other scientists: lol wouldn’t it be funny if i worked a pun into the name of this thing?

The extended essay is difficult, it’s time consuming and quite frankly, it’s a bit annoying. I mean, thank you IB for piling on another assignment to our already 20 meters high pile, thank you. Now, if you’re one of the brave ones who have quieted the “science EEs are the harshest marked EEs” thoughts and have chosen to disregard the fact that you’ve essentially signed yourself up to take up residence in your lab, then this post is for you. I have tried to make my tips as general as possible, however, I did my essay in chemistry, hence a lot of these tips may be best suited to chemistry EEs. 

1. Set Your Essay In The Real World - Locate A Problem, Find A Solution.

Pick a topic that will allow you to place your essay into the wider context. The easiest way to do this is to look for global issues that you may be able to solve through chemical/biological/physical means. Look at oil spills, the food industry, previous disasters in medicine (e.g. thalidomide,) eutrophication - the list could go on. Examiners love this because it shows them that you’re aware of the greater impact that this essay may hold (a key element of every great scientific experiment ever done.) If you try and place the essay into a context that is personal to you, it shows your personal engagement and is an easy way to tick off that requirement. 

2. Reference Journal Articles

The fact that you’ve pushed yourself to read through difficult, scientific theory, which is probably beyond your level of competence, shows a lot. Seeing as most journal articles are written by scientists in the field, you can harness solid facts to back up your data and strengthen your argument. This is a must. Please do it. 

3. Why Is Your Method The Best?

Alright so you’ve found a method that is finally allowing you to gather data (hallelujah! must have taken you ages to tweak the method around.) Well, why did you pick it? Why did you alter it? Is there any other method you can use to quantify the same thing? If so, why didn’t you pick that method? Is it too expensive, hazardous or time consuming? You must ask yourself these questions and then answer them in your essay. The examiner wants to know why you feel as if your method is valid, for only then can your data be valid too.

4. Include Original Diagrams And Pictures

I tried my hardest to make sure that 90% of the diagrams used in my essay (including reaction pathways) were done by me. I used a mix of hand-drawing and microsoft word to put together my diagrams. Easy way to show effort and make your essay look great, remember, presentation is half the battle to pleasing the examiner. However, don’t go overboard. Any superfluous diagrams should go into the appendices. Everything in the actual body of your essay must be meaningful, anything else to just ‘add extra knowledge,’ can be put into the appendices.

5. Utilise Scientific Notation Throughout

This includes binomial nomenclature for any species in biology, IUPAC notation in Chemistry and proper SI units and terminology in Physics. 

6. Talk To Science Teachers (Other Than Your Supervisor)

There is a set number of contact hours that you are allowed to have with your designated supervisor, but there’s nothing stopping you from seeking help/advice from other teachers. In my experience, every teacher is really willing to help you out and are genuinely interested in what you’re doing. They have a whole wealth of knowledge that you must tap into. Don’t be afraid of just politely asking them to look over a certain section, or to give you advice if something sounds right or not. 

Don’t Stand So Close To Me Ch 3 (Biadore) - Splatt

Thank you for all the kind feedback! Here’s chapter three. This chapter has homophobia and transphobia in it, so if that makes you uncomfortable, please be aware. Stay tuned, because there may or may not be some smut in the next chapter…

Keep reading

Nomenclature Corner: Carboxylic Acids

The typical sophomore organic course covers the basics of IUPAC nomenclature for simple molecules: linear chains of 5 carbons and greater are denoted by numerical prefixes from Greek and Latin, while groups smaller than that are given historical prefixes: “meth-”, “eth-”, “prop-”, and “but-”.

However, chemistry has a tendency to retain a lot of trivial names. The series of linear carboxylic acids, while easily named with IUPAC nomenclature, all have a separate set of historical names with varying usage frequency. These names, up to C10, are:

  • C1: Formic, “ant” - Formic acid is found in ant venom, and was originally isolated via the distillation of ant bodies.
  • C2: Acetic, “vinegar” - Acetic acid is the primary component of vinegar (after water).
  • C3: Propionic, “first fat” - Propionic acid is the first carboxylic acid to have physical properties similar to the archetypical fatty acid; Although miscible in water, addition of salt will cause a separate organic layer to form (unlike formic or acetic acid).
  • C4: Butyric, “butter” - As with many four-carbon compounds, butyric acid has the smell of rancid butter.
  • C5: Valeric - Valeric acid naturally occurs in the gardan valerian, V. officinalis.
  • C6/8/10: Caproic/Caprylic/Capric, “goat” - All three of these carboxylic acids have an unpleasant goat-like smell.
  • C7: Enanthic, “wine bloom” - The smell of enanthic acid is similar to wine that has gone bad.
  • C9: Pelargonic - Pelargonic acid is found in geraniums, genus Pelargonium

As the number of carbons in the carboxylic acid increases, the frequency of the common name in the chemical fields tends to decrease: C1 and C2 acids are exclusively known as formic and acetic acid, C3~C5 acids are called by either name, and C6+ acids are generally known by their IUPAC name. Biochemical and biological fields use the trivial names more frequently (for example, cholesteryl pelargonate and testosterone enanthate). Lactones and lactams are also sometimes named using these trivial names (γ-valerolactone, ε-caprolactam, etc.).

IUPAC, Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory: Name new element 117 Octarine, in honour of Terry Pratchett's Discworld
This petition is to name element 117, recently confirmed by the International Union of Applied Chemistry, as 'Octarine', with the proposed symbol Oc (pronounced 'ook'), in honour of the late Terry Pratchett and his Discworld series of books. The Discworld series has sold more than 70 million books worldwide, in 37 different languages. Terry Pratchett died in 2015 and his final book, The Shepherd's Crown, was published in the same year. He was well-known as a lover of science and, with two well-known science writers, co-wrote a series of four books called The Science of the Discworld, which took a sideways look at 'roundworld' (Earth) science. Octarine, in the Discworld books, is known as 'the colour of magic', which forms the title of Pratchett's first ever Discworld book. According to Disc mythology, octarine is visible only to wizards and cats, and is generally described as a sort of greenish-yellow purple colour, which seems perfect for what will probably be the final halogen in the periodic table. Octarine is also a particularly pleasing choice because, not only would it honour a world-famous and much-loved author, but it also has an 'ine' ending, consistent with the other elements in period 17. Octarine is being counted as 'a mythological concept' under IUPAC rules, which state that elements must be named after "a mythological concept or character; a mineral, or similar substance; a place or geographical region; a property of the element; or a scientist". The Discworld stories are certainly stories about gods and heroes, and 70 million books surely count for something.

Like the idea? Go sign the petition. I did.


Some of the heaviest elements ever seen have been given tentative names by their discoverers. The namesakes? Three places and a Russian dude.

These names aren’t settled on quite yet - there is a five month probation period during which the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) welcomes public comment. You can email the IUPAC president directly with your thoughts.

If you discovered an element, what would you name it?


Nomenclature - Crash Course Chemistry #44

Ever feel like there’s a international team of bad guys changing all of the easily remembered chemical names and turning them into test-failing, number-infused, pain in the neck names? Well… you’re not wrong. IUPAC exists but try to keep in mind that they’re doing it for the greater good. In this episode, Hank talks about IUPAC, prefixes, suffixes, ranking, numbers for carbon chains, and cis or trans double bonds.

hi, my name is S)-N-((R)-1-(((3S,6R,7S,10R,11S,15S,17S,20S,25aS)-10-((S)-sec-butyl)-11-hydroxy-20-isobutyl-15-isopropyl-3-(4-methoxybenzyl)-2,6,17-trimethyl-1,4,8,13,16,18,21-heptaoxodocosahydro-1H-pyrrolo[2,1-f][1,15,4,7,10,20]dioxatetraazacyclotricosin-7-yl)amino)-4-methyl-1-oxopentan-2-yl)-N-methyl-1-(2-oxopropanoyl)pyrrolidine-2-carboxamide,

but you can call me Aplidine.