Chemistry Cards: Breathing Life into a Lame Idea

February 7th, 2011

One question that people always ask me is: “Paul, what is your best blog post ever?”

Actually, no one has ever asked me that question.  But if someone did, my clear-cut winner would be this post I submitted to C&EN’s blog from a super-secret bunker during my long, dark blogging hiatus.  Rudy Baum and company are using the post to draw hundreds of millions of hits per year to the ACS Pubs Web site, and I’m getting bupkis for it.

For those of you too apathetic to click the link, the post covered my greatest idea ever: improved business cards for chemists.  The cards are the size of standard baseball cards and feature an action shot of the chemist on the front and assorted chemistry stats on the back:

The idea was so far ahead of its time that only this past week did Jorge Cham make a Ph.D. Comic about it.

To be honest, the trading card idea was a flop.  Exactly two of these cards were ever printed, and I still have both.  Never have I felt compelled to give a business card to anyone, and never has anybody ever asked for one, either.  So, what the hell are these things good for?

Acknowledgments.  That’s it.  Nothing else.  Here is the acknowledgments slide from my Ph.D. defense:

I call on all chemists at the upcoming ACS meeting in Anaheim to eschew boring lists of names, and in their stead, use chemical baseball cards on acknowledgments slides.  Insipidity—on any slide—will not be tolerated in the land of Walt Disney.  Just do it.  I’ll be at your talk, watching you.

Thanks for reading.

I am stealing R. Baum’s catchphrase in retaliation.

(H/T to @NeilWithers for tweeting the comic)


11 Responses to “Chemistry Cards: Breathing Life into a Lame Idea”

  1. Stu Says:

    I think there should be a series of cards for journals and/or ediors of those journals too… 😉

  2. Stu Says:

    But perhaps just for thost editors that can actually spell ‘editors’ though… let the humiliation begin…

  3. Stu Says:

    I swear there is something wrong with my keyboard… ‘those’ not ‘thost’. I’ll stop now.

  4. Matt Says:

    OK, Paul. What’s your favorite BBall card background?
    I’ve always been partial to the 1983 Topps and the 1986 Topps, although I imagine many would vehemently disagree with me on the 1986.

    @Stu, ManU loses this weekend and you are reduced to this???

  5. Paul Says:

    I never collected baseball cards, but I vividly recall the 1986 Topps design and liking it. I really hated everything that looked like it was printed on wood (e.g, Topps ’87).

    What I did collect were football cards. A whole lot of them. From the 1980s, I like the Topps 1988 design the best.

    My overall favorite set was 1994 Fleer. The main set was awful, but the insert sets were awesome and incredibly innovative.

  6. excimer Says:

    Yes, I may have to do this for my defense. This is a good idea.

  7. Eric F. Brown Says:

    I thought the correct spelling was ‘bupkus.’

  8. Pig Farmer Says:

    I always think “bupkus” sounds a bit like “butt kiss”, but then I don’t speak Yiddish.

  9. Hap Says:

    I don’t speak Yiddish, but I thought it was spelled “bupkis” as well.

  10. Paul Says:

    While I’ve grown out of practice writing Yiddish since moving out to California, I am fairly certain that “bupkis” is the correct spelling.

  11. James Says:

    Great idea! I’m curious, though – what’s on the back of GMW’s card? Did you use nanolithography to fit all his publications on there?


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