2/26/2007

A man after my own heart

Last week's issue of C&E News has a letter from one of my favorite personalities in organic chemistry today, organolithium guru and Canadian Victor Snieckus. His letter is a response to a letter about foul odors in the lab. However, my favorite bit is the last paragraph, which mirrors a sentiment I hold dear:

"The acknowledgement in the cited paper to the hog raiser for providing a sample of liquid swine manure also prompts my reaction: In today's literature, we do not see innovative and intriguing phrases describing what made an experiment memorable or identifying an obscure location for the generation of a great idea. As an example of the former, I cite the following: 'Evans boldly put 50 atm of ethylene ... in a cell with 25 atm of O2. The apparatus subsequently blew up, but luckily not before he obtained the spectra shown in Figure 8" (Chem. Rev. 1969, 69, 639).'"

If you ever get a chance to go to a Snieckus seminar, they're pretty much like this. Very entertaining guy (and a good chemist at that).

10 comments:

Chemgeek said...

As someone who is doing a small side research project on swine manure, I will remember to acknowledge my suppliers whenever possible. As the weather warms around here, the buckets of previously frozen swine manure behind my building may start to attract attention.

een of andere vent said...

Great quote! The 'scientific language protocol' is quited boring nowadays. There should be more vivid phrases in scientific literature.

Lakshmi said...

I wish more scientists would switch to simple language and interesting observations, instead of the jargon infested stuff that crowd journals. Perhaps that way, we can stop scaring students away from science. I have not read Snieckus so far, but intend to now ! Richard Dawkins is MY personal favourite, who makes science look like a lot of fun, which it rightly is.

evgeny said...

According to Snieckus' letter, he's not Canadian, but Estonian. But if he's been in Ontario for too long, he might be saying 'Eh' or whatever those Ontario people do when they talk to each other.

Excimer said...

I think Snieckus is Lithuanian, actually. But he's lived in Canada for most of his life.

milkshake said...

There's a difference - Lithuanians are normal. But he was Estonian he would be named maybe Urmas Õunapuu and go like "Tallinn is faar awaay"

(sorry I could not help it)

Thomas said...

Victor is da bomb!

evgeny said...

"It's not my intention to carry the comment by my fellow Estonian Jaan Pesti..."

Naaah, he's definitely Estonian. He might have Canadian citizenship though, especially if his Soviet one was taken away from him for being a traitor. You need some sort of passport in order to go to conferences.

Barney said...

If I remember correctly, one of Snieckus's parents was Lithuanian and one was Estonian. Here you go: "Baltic State researchers take to the European stage."

David Snieckus said...

I googled myself, David Snieckus, and came up with this carbon-based curiosity stuff....interesting.
I'm also curious to find out who Victor Snieckus is..maybe a relative.

DAVID SNIECKUS
www.davidsnieckus.com