Amusing Chemical Names
Ever heard of “erotic acid”? How about “traumatic acid”? As serious as their profession is, chemists do have a rather bizarre sense of humor. They have given some real molecules (mixtures or compounds) names that are quite unique, amusing, unusual and ridiculous, as follow.
Analcite: Well, everybody has their own analcite! Actually, this mineral of volcanic origin is alternatively called by the less amusing name of analcime. The name is derived from the Greek work that means “weak” as it produces a weak electrical charge when rubbed.
Anisole: Sounds like a molecule the Grim Reaper would be eager to collect. It is actually a colorless liquid with a pleasing aromatic smell, and is used in perfumery. It is also an insect pheromone, which attracts the opposite sex. Of course, if you are an insect.
Angelic acid: Not very angelic at all. It is an organic acid secreted by certain carabid beetles as a defense response. It is also extracted from roots of garden archangelica from which its name was derived.
Apatite: I hope you haven’t lost your “apatite” yet. This isn’t a mineral for starving people. Apatite refers to a group of phosphate mineral used widely as a phosphorus fertilizer. It is also a major component of teeth enamel and bones of all vertebrate animals.
BARF: Don’t barf yet, there’s more to come! This is shorthand for the chemical compound tris(pentafluorophenyl)boron or (B-Ar-F).
Bastardane: The molecular structure of this hydrocarbon deviates from the usual hydrocarbon caged arrangement, thus, it has come to be called bastardane–the illegitimate offspring.
Beta-BuTX: This isn’t an exercise equipment you can use to develop beta-BuTX. This is a fairly common type of snake venom with the complete name of beta-Bungarotoxin. Probably the venom becomes more potent if the snake bites you on the BuTX.
Buckminsterfullerene: Often referred to as buckyball, this is a collective term for stable but not completely unreactive carbon molecules with soccerball-shaped structures. A full family of fullerenes has been given names, such as Buckybabies, Rugby Ball, Russian Egg, Bucky Onions, Fuzzyball, Bunnyball and Platinum-Bur Ball.
Cadaverine and Putrescine: Both are organic chemical compounds produced by rotting and putrefying flesh, literally, the smell of death; and are poisonous in large doses. They also originate in some living processes, but since both are toxic, they are quickly excreted from the body. The presence of these molecules contributes to the distinctive odor of bad breath, urine and sperm, which also contains the related molecules of spermine and spermidine.