Thursday, July 5, 2012

Copper nanotubes and acronym hilarity

So, I just learned about this paper via the Twitter. It's a short piece in the journal Chemical Communications entitled "Electrochemical synthesis of metal and semimetal nanotube–nanowire
heterojunctions and their electronic transport properties." Nothing to see here, right? Well, the repeated references to copper nanotubes lead to fifty uses of the acronym "CuNT" in the three-page paper.

The paper is by a group of researchers in China, and I can't quite decide if the lesson here is to run your acronyms past colleagues who are native speakers of various other languages, or if the lesson is to absolutely never do that, lest you should deprive the world of gems like this.

If you're sufficiently juvenile that you're still laughing about the copper nanotubes, the School of Chemistry at the University of Bristol has multiple web pages dedicated to molecules with names like "arsole," "cummingtonite," and "moronic acid." Check it out.

via Colin Stewart via Ed Yong.


  1. So you probably will enjoy this paper:

  2. You are correct! I did enjoy that!

  3. Isn't part of the journal editor's job to make sure this kind of thing doesn't happen? Or the peer reviewers'?

    I did freelance editing for a decade, mostly for non-native speakers. Never came across something this hilarious, but I did prevent some major miscommunication issues.