Nature Chemistry | The Sceptical Chymist

A cluster of chemists(?)

I’ve spent the last few days in Boston in the company of many of the other self-confessed chemists who work for Nature Publishing Group. We’ve been thinking of ways to focus and improve our coverage of chemistry and some of the changes you will see relatively soon – here on the blog and also a rejuvenated chemistry portal on

The reason I’m writing about this? – Well, my first title was going to be ‘Brainstorming in Boston’, but then I got to thinking about what the collective noun for chemists is? See the Wikipedia entry for a general list – one of my favourites has always been a ‘murder’ of crows.

So, chemists of the world, how best to describe us collectively? A quick search on Google found suggestions such as ‘solution’ or ‘aliquot’ – but surely we can do better?! We could even break it down by field… what do you call a group of organic chemists, or physical chemists? (I’m talking collective nouns here – not collective insults…!!).


Stuart Cantrill (Associate Editor, Nature Nanotechnology)


  1. Report this comment

    Joshua said:

    I’ve always been a big fan of the use of alliteration in these phrases (a ‘gaggle of geese’ is one of my favorites…) So maybe a ‘crowd of chemists’ (when at Friday afternoon beer bashes) or a ‘conspiracy of chemists’ (when gossiping at the pub)?

  2. Report this comment

    Andrew Sun said:

    To refer to the crowd formed: an assembly of …

    To refer to the population: a mole of …

  3. Report this comment

    Uncle Al said:

    “A fungible of chemists.” “An unemployment of chemists.” (Organikers are pharm workers.)

  4. Report this comment

    Barney said:

    A self-assembly of chemist?

    (depending upon the chemist, sometimes one is a crowd)

  5. Report this comment

    Andy said:

    I quite like a nucleus of chemists. Or, if alliteration is the thing, how about a concentration of chemists?

  6. Report this comment

    TheMatt said:

    I think we are a “reaction” of chemists.

    Since I’m a physical chemist, I’ll start it off:

    A regression of physical chemists

    A fit of physical chemists

    And since I’m a theorist:

    A simulation of theoretical chemists

    A calculation of theoretical chemists

  7. Report this comment

    Mac said:

    Continuing TheMatt’s idea:

    Multiprocessor parallel memory-consuming job of theoretical chemists ;-D

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    Propter Doc said:

    An uncertainty of theoretical chemists.

    A tube of NMR spectroscopists.

    A goo of polymer chemists.

    A generation of dendrimer chemists

    A complex of organometallic chemists

    I’m with Andrew – it has to be a mole of chemists.

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    Lee Reilly said:

    A lattice of solid state chemists.