It is funny how I revert back to basic skills I learned in an undergrad class called Organic Qualitative Analysis. Naturally, this course is long extinct. The prof who taught it has retired and all of the newbie profs are experts in hyphenated technologies like nano-_____, bio-_______, and _______-mass spec.  I’m glad that a senior chem major can have the chance to do atomic force microscopy or make nano materials. I wish I had that opportunity. But let’s not forget the basics of our craft- basic physical manipulation of materials.

I just isolated an unusual organic compound as beautiful buff needles by old fashioned hot filtration and recrystallization from 95 % ethanol. Crystallization is something I never tire of doing. The hunt for a solvent system that will throw down the xtals is a kind of chase. Watching the crystals nucleate and grow is one of natures great shows and is very satisfying.  I can retire for the evening and feel like I actually did someting today besides creating files on a hard drive somewhere.