People who do science are a stereotypically straight-laced bunch. But there’s evidence that at least some chemists are also fans of low-brow, sophomoric humor. The basest of comedy, aside from this pun. Then again, it could just be us. Check out what these molecules and compounds are called and decide for yourself.
Spoiler alert: You’re going to roll your eyes. We apologize in advance.
Really, Science? A poop joke? Sigh. Crapinon is an anticholinergic agent (the same kind of drug as Dramamine or Benadryl) with an unfortunate side effect: It generally causes constipation. Should some enterprising soul decide to take crapinon mainstream, the built-in catchphrase is sure to test well with preteens.
So, this happened. Even though it seems like vaginatin is either a) a bad fake answer on a high school chemistry test or b) an over-the-counter medication no one would ever want to buy, it’s actually a compound isolated from the plant Selinum vaginatum, a member of the carrot family.
Predictably, arsole is a ring-shaped molecule. It’s an arsenic-based organic compound with the formula C4H4AsH. Though arsole has never been isolated in the lab and is not known to exist in nature, study of similar compounds suggest that arsole is moderately aromatic.
While studying minerals on the isle of Wales in 1888, metallurgical chemist Allan B. Dick described in great detail what he assumed was just kaolin, a well-known clay used in ceramics and pottery. In 1931, a look at his research determined that he had identified a wholly new mineral, which was promptly named after him and never mentioned again until the first list of terrible scientific names was assembled.
This rare glassy mineral is found only in the Fuka region of Japan. Its name, which evokes images of people angrily throwing rocks at light bulbs, is probably its most interesting feature.
Argininosuccinate synthetase is an enzyme, and a mouthful; you’ll typically find it referred to by its nickname, ASS. In humans, you’ll find ASS mostly in the liver and kidneys. (It looks a bit like confetti.)
Well, shyte. If you were looking for an interesting story, you’re out of luck: Welshite is a mineral discovered by Wilfred R. Welsh.
Alright, chemists, that’ll do. Clitoriacetal is a glycoside derived from the root of the plant Clitoriana macrophylla. Which looks like this, because of course:
Sodium ethyl xanthate, you sly devil. “Just call me by my initials,” you said. Well played. For the record, SEX is a compound used primarily in ore mining; because it is attracted to metal of various types (copper, nickel, lead, gold, etc), SEX is added to slurries to extract bits of ore from water. Technically speaking, one could say that SEX is a tool used by gold diggers.
If these weren’t enough to sate your appetite for “hurr hurr, look what it’s called” jokes, there’s a whole bookful available to you. Check out Molecules with Silly or Unusual Names by Paul W. May, which includes info on hundreds of compounds with weird or funny names, most of which are not as immature as these.