In response to a column in Chemistry World in which David Jones talked about chemical verse, I pointed out an Elizabethan sonnet published by Howard Maskill, an organic chemist then of Stirling University, that has long stuck in my mind. CW published the letter, but for some reason truncated the sonnet to the first four lines. So, for the record, here is the full thing, from Nature 1981, 294, 606.
To trans, trans – tricyclo[7,3,1,O5,13]-tridecane
Shall I compare thee to a single form
of cyclohexane locked with bulky group?
Or should it be with that bicyclic norm
Whose ethane bridge 1,5 doth bridge the hoop?
Thy undistorted, perfect trans-fused rings
By force field calculation hold no strain;
No rapid rates which angle bending brings
As in bicyclo[3.2.1]octane.
To help thy ground state conformation needs
To free an equatorial tosylate,
Then ring flip from an all chair form precedes
Reaction from a boat transition state.
And then departs the leaving group when trans
Coplanar hydrogens, the rate enhance.
The actual poem was illustrated with diagrams so to do Maskill justice here is an image.
There are several other ludicrous chemical rhymes out there, one of which is this month’s Classic Kit. I’ll post those later when I get a moment.