Thursday, February 11, 2010

The $17,000 Glass Vial

The scientist across the hall poked his head into my office today. He's a natural products chemist, which means he spends his time trying to identify and isolate new compounds with interesting biological activity from all kinds of crazy organisms.

He held up a little glass vial that appeared to envelop a faint coating of dust. It almost looked like someone had just scratched up the inside of the vial with a metal pick.

He informed me that this compound he had painstakingly isolated could be bought from a chemical supply company for hundreds of dollars a milligram.* The amount of dust he had collected inside that little vial would be worth $17,000!
He joked that if he did this part time, he could afford to hire a postdoc.

"Or just go buy a car!"

"Not a great one..."

*1 gram = 1,000 milligrams

1 comment:

  1. Can you please post the instructions for making this compound. I could use the extra money.



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