417. No equal equation
© Bruce Goodman 1 December 2014

In the old pre-computer days, Norris was late handing up his chemistry assignment. His professor at the university was rather short with him when he asked for an extension.

“I’m sorry, sir,” said Norris, “but I’ve been typing night after night, day after day and have barely finished page 1.”

“There’s no excuse for it,” said the professor. “Nola, the other one in the doctoral class, finished last week.”

“I know,” said Norris. “But her assignment was on Zinc oxide, whereas mine is on 2-Propenoic acid, 2-methyl-, 2-[[[[5-[[[2-[ethyl[(heptadecafluorooctyl)sulfonyl]amino]ethoxy]carbonyl]amino]-2-methylphenyl]amino]carbonyl]oxy]propyl ester, telomer with butyl 2-propenoate, 2-[[[[5-[[[2-[ethyl[(nonafluorobutyl)sulfonyl]amino]ethoxy]carbon.”

“Just use the formula,” said the professor. “No need to type everything out in full each time.”

“I have,” said Norris. “But C28H28F17N3O8S.C27H28F15N3O8S.C26H28F13N3O8S.C25H28F11N3O8S.C24 H28F9N3O8S.C14H10F17NO4S.C13H10F15NO4S.C12H10F13NO4S.C11H10F11NO4S.C10H10F9NO4S.C7H12O2)x.C8H18S occurs seventeen times on the first page.”

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