13 Mildly Amusing Chemical Names

On October 31, 2014 by Tim Newman

Funny Chemical Names - Mad Scientist

Chemistry, pharmacology and biochemistry can be pretty impenetrable, but it seems that chemists, pharmacologists and biochemists aren’t afraid of a bit of tongue in cheek tomfoolery.

I can’t work out whether the rock solid art of mucking about with minutia has turned their brains into infantile mush or whether it’s essential to be a bit screw loose to enjoy their microscopic escapades in the first place.

Recently I wrote about the so-called NanoPutians – chemicals entertainingly engineered to take human form, clearly these chemistry fellas enjoy mucking about on a nano-scale.

I came across a list of humorously named chemical compounds the other day and thought I’d bring you the best of the best as further evidence that chemists are a lot more entertaining than their field of study. Some of the following names are serendipitous, some are very much purposeful…

1) Housane

Funny Chemical Names - Housane IMAGE

That’s right, it looks like a house. Housane is a cycloalkane with the formula C5H8.

2) Dickite

Funny Chemical Names - Dickite

OK, so this one wasn’t named as a joke, it was named after its creator Dr W. Thomas Dick. It still raised a snigger from me though. Apparently it’s a clay like substance that’s useful in a number of manufacturing processes. It was first described in Wales in 1888.

3) Pikachurin

Funny Chemical Names - Pikachurin

Yup, this is a retinal protein named after the Pokémon character Pikachu. Pikachurin is a…

…dystroglycan-interacting protein which has an essential role in the precise interactions between the photoreceptor ribbon synapse and the bipolar dendrites.

Discovered in Japan the quick and “nimble” action of this protein reminded researchers of the super nippy Pikachu.

4) Arsole

Funny Chemical Names - Arsole

Hilarious. This chemical is a version of Pyrrole but the nitrogen atom has been replaced by an arsenic atom, hence the jokes. Here’s a quote from Wikipedia, I swear I didn’t make this up:

The aromaticity of arsoles has been debated for many years.

Not round my house it hasn’t, there’s no need for any debate on the matter. The facts are evident.

5) Bastardane

Funny Chemical Names - Bastardane

Bastardane is a close relative to adamantane and its proper name is ethano-bridged noradamantane, I prefer bastardane.

It got its name from its unusual “ethano-bridge” which was a deviation from the standard hydrocarbon caged rearrangements, so because it broke the rules it came to be known as bastardane – the unwanted child.

6) Crapinon

Funny Chemical Names - Crapinon

This is a drug that blocks Acetylcholine, one of its side effects is constipation.


Funny Chemical Names - Diaminomaleonitrile - DAMN


8) Earthcide / Fartox

Funny Chemical Names - Fartox

This fungicide’s full name is pentachloronitrobenzene but it has been given a variety of monikers. It kills stuff good.


Funny Chemical Names - BARF


10) Nonanal

Funny Chemical Names - Nonanal

Grow up. This is an aldehyde derived from nonane – (C9H18O).

11) Cadaverine

Funny Chemical Names - Cadaverine

Cadaverine is one of the chemicals responsible for the pungent stench of death that emanates from a less than fresh cadaver. The formula is NH2(CH2)5NH2, which is similar to putrescine another stinky compound involved in the process. Cadaverine is caused by a breakdown of the amino acid lysine and also helps give urine its snazzy aroma.


Funny Chemical Names - Diethyl azodicarboxylate - DEAD

Diethyl azodicarboxylate is aptly named, it’s an explosive; it’s also shock sensitive, carcinogenic and an eye, skin, and respiratory irritant.

13) Moronic Acid

Funny Chemical Names - Moronic Acid

I know a few people who’ve seemingly drunk their own body weight of this juice. Moronic acid, or 3-oxoolean-18-en-28-oic acid, is a natural triterpene, just FYI. Moronic acid is an extract from the plant Rhus javanica, a sumac plant traditionally believed to hold medicinal applications, it’s also found in mistletoe. Good news though, it appears to help fight off herpes.

Whoever told you that chemists, pharmacologists and biochemists have no sense of humour has lied to you.

@media all and (max-width: 228px) { div#darkbackground, div.visiblebox { display: none; } }