Trivia

Hard

Which Of These Compound Classes Is So Foul That Smelling It Hinders Research Into Them?

Triflourides
Isocyanides
Phosphines
Hexabutols
A small bottle with a green liquid inside.
ohsoabnormal/Wikimedia

Answer: Isocyanides

Isocyanides are a class of organic compounds related to cyanide that serve as the building blocks for synthesizing more complex compounds. Anything that serves as a building block for bigger reactions seems like the perfect thing to study and explore in the lab, no?

In the case of isocyanides, however, research into them (and the practical applications thereof) is greatly hindered by one factor: smell. Not just any smell, not just a sulfurous whiff, momentarily unpleasant and then sent up the fume hood, but a horrible building-permeating stench. The smell of most isocyanides is so potent as to be legendary among chemists, and it takes days for the smell of even a minute amount of the substance to dissipate (there are a few isocyanides like malt, natural rubber, and creosote that convey less offensive odors).

In fact, the smell is so bad that the most practical application for the compounds, at the moment, seems to be deploying them in non-lethal weapons—who needs water cannons or microwave beams to disperse a crowd if they’ll run screaming from the smell, after all?

Trivia

Hard

You Can Keep Your Coffee Warm Longer By Adding What?

Trivia

Hard

TIME Magazine’s “Man Of The Year” Cover Was Created After They Failed To Honor?

Trivia

Hard

Apollo 11 Astronauts Used Their Signatures As What?

Trivia

Hard

Which Of These Actors Almost Took The Role Of Neo In The Matrix?

Trivia

Easy

Members Of Which Of These Species Are Known To Cannibalize Each Other In The Womb?

Trivia

Hard

Which Widely Used Internet Acronym Is Coincidentally Self-Referential In Dutch?

Trivia

Hard

Microsoft Once Released An Official Windows Training Video Starring Cast Members From?

Trivia

Easy

Which Of These Animals Was Originally Known As The “River Horse”?

Trivia

Hard

The Term “Jaywalking” Derives Its Name From?