'Twas the night to make crystals, and all through the hood
Compounds were reacting; I’d hoped that they would.
The hood door I closed with greatest of care,
To keep noxious vapours from fouling the air.
The reflux condenser was hooked to the tap,
And the high vacuum pump had a freshly filled trap.
I patiently waited to finish my task,
While boiling chips merrily danced in the flask.
Then from the pump there arose such a clatter
That I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter.
Away with the fume hood! Up with the door!
And half of my product foamed out on the floor
Then what to my watering eyes should appear,
But a viscous black oil which had once been so clear.
I turned the pump off in a terrible rush,
And the oil that sucked back filled the line with mush.
The ether boiled out of the flask with a splash,
And hitting the mantle went off with a flash.
My nose turned quite ruddy, my eyebrows were bare,
The blast had singed off nearly half of my hair.
I shut the hood door with a violent wrench,
As acid ate holes in the floor and the bench.
I flushed it with water, and to my dismay,
Found sodium hydride had spilled in the fray.
And then e’er the fire got way out of hand,
I managed to quench it with buckets of sand.
Then shoveled up seven big buckets of mud.
I extracted the slurry again and again
With ether and then with dichloromethane.
Chromatographic techniques were applied
Several times ‘til the product had been purified.
I finally viewed with a satisfied smile,
One half gram in a shiny new vial.
I mailed the yield report to my boss,
Ninety percent (allowing for loss).
“Good work,” said the boss in the answering mail,
“Use same conditions on preparative scale.”
taped to my lab door…