Better Drinking Through Chemistry

March 19th, 2013

Hey, look what the American Chemical Society produced for St. Paddy’s Day: it’s a tutorial on the chemistry of alcohol, including its effects on your body and how your body attempts to rid itself of the poison.


Uh oh, but there’s a WWWTP? in there. If you pause at the 2:45 mark, you can see that they flubbed the structure of “amyl alcohol”:



While there are several isomers of amyl alcohol, instead of drawing one of those, the ACS has shown the structure for isoamyl acetate (commonly known as banana oil). When banana oil is dilute, it kind of smells like Juicy Fruit bubble gum. In concentrated form, it smells really gross. I know, because I made it in 6th period orgo lab in high school and the people around me in 7th period religion paid the price.

But good effort, ACS! This is exactly the sort of info we (as chemists) should be communicating to the People. It’s news they can use. Of course, in the future, try to get the structures right! (And for the record, you also misspelled “judgment” at 0:49. Boo.)

H/T to Kim the Magnificent for the tip.

6 Responses to “Better Drinking Through Chemistry”

  1. Andrew (@_byronmiller) Says:

    Judgement is widely accepted in British English. Perhaps ACS have a Brit on their staff?

  2. lukas Says:

    It’s Paddy, not Patty. Ever.

    Sorry, you made me do it.

  3. Paul Says:

    Corrected. Thanks!

  4. Andrew (@_byronmiller) Says:

    That’s the best thing I’ve seen all day. Also totally accurate.

    Pat’s day seems much bigger in the US than here, or even in Ireland. The only people I know who celebrate it or go and get wankered in Dublin are not native to the British Isles…

  5. KentuckyTesla Says:

    I will admit, I only drink Irish Whiskey on St. Paddy’s Day. That is a fantastic video – simple, easy to understand, and entertaining. I particularly enjoyed the “she’ll be sorry” at 0:38!

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