Although this is not new material, I would like to open my section of “Impossible molecules” with a great example of creativity and tons of good sense of humour in organic chemistry: The Nanoputians. Back in 2003, James Tour and colleagues published a paper in Journal of Organic Chemistry where they describe the synthesis of an array of human-shaped organic molecules they called Nanoputians as a reference to the well known small characters, the Lilliputians, from the classic Gulliver’s travels . A very educational paper, ideal for undergrads and organic chemistry newcomers. It is very enjoyable the way they describe the synthesis of their Nanoputians using body-part-like descriptions and the originality of the names given to the molecules for a nano-universe with Nanokids, Nanobakers, Nanoballetdancers and more. I could not say how many organic chemistry papers I have read in my life so far, but there is no doubt that I will always remember Nanoputians and I am completely sure I will not be the only one.
Do you want to know more? Read the original papers.
Chanteau, S. H.; Tour, J. M. “Synthesis of Anthropomorphic Molecules: The NanoPutians”. The Journal of Organic Chemistry 2003, 68, 8750–8766.
Chanteau, S. H.; Ruths, T.; Tour, J. M. “Arts and Sciences Reunite in Nanoput: Communicating Synthesis and the Nanoscale to the Layperson”. Journal of Chemical Education 2003, 80, 395.