Nature Chemistry | The Sceptical Chymist

A few of our favourite things

We’ve been enjoying the ‘favourite things about chemistry’ meme started by ChemJobber and continued by Azmanam and the C+EN team – who have now challenged us!

So the London-based team put their heads together and came up with this list:

1. The smell of ethyl acetate (in the morning) [SC]

2. A rainbow of Keck clips [SC]

3. A good graphical abstract that perfectly sums up the paper [SC]

4. CPK models (the proper physical things, not just pretty pictures) [SC]

5. Peter Atkins’ textbooks [GA]

6. Awesomely symmetrical (and pretty) crystal structures [NW]

7. Chemistry sets [GA]

8. The elements song [GA/NW]

9. Curly arrows [LC]

10. Freaky glassware and the prowess of glassblowers [All]

We’ll also throw the baton on to the Chemistry World gang, David Bradley of ScienceBase and Michelle Francl of Culture of Chemistry — and our Boston- and Tokyo-based teammates Steve and Anne.


Neil Withers (Associate Editor, Nature Chemistry)


  1. Report this comment

    Steve said:

    Well, some of mine overlap with others that have been posted, but it doesn’t stop them being my favourites. I also noticed a distinctly experimental flavour to a lot of them, so I tried to come up with some more closely related to my current position:

    1. New reactions that run ‘spot to spot’ on TLC

    2. Freshly made Pd(PPh3)4

    3. A well packed flash chromatography column (which results in tight and well separated bands of compounds)

    4. Gas-tight microsyringes

    5. Old fashioned mechanical shakers that make the whole lab move

    6. A full set of clean NMR spectra

    7. RIDICULOUS – acronyms for NMR experiments

    8. Rapid responses from reviewers (even when they say ‘no’)

    9. A well balanced referee report

    10. A good pun (with the emphasis on good)

    Given the popularity of Derek Lowe’s ‘Things I won’t work with’ (, how about some things he does like? And how about some thoughts from Prof. Like Substance ( – perhaps he could add some flavour from being a young academic?