Signs You Are a Chemistry Major

Chemistry majors look (and smell) different from other students.
Chemistry majors look (and smell) different from other students. Mike Kemp, Getty Images

If you are a chemistry major, you already know you're special. Yet, can people sense you are a chemistry major before you tell them? Yes! Here are the signs that set you apart from other students.

  1. You get annoyed when someone tells you they don't want chemicals in their food (shampoo, cleaners, etc.) because you know everything is a chemical.
  2. The dark circles under your eyes from lack of sleep are from pulling all-nighters to write up lab reports and work chemistry problems rather than from partying.
  3. You often smell like a signature scent from the lab that no one mistakes for designer perfume. If you work in certain labs, even your breath reeks of an organic solvent.
  4. You not only know what Avogadro's number is, but can state it with 5 significant figures. You also realize Avogadro isn't the one who came up with the number that bears his name, although he did describe a gas law.
  5. You own a lab coat, wear it even when it isn't necessary, and like the interesting way it smells.
  6. Despite the lab coat, most of your pants have holes in them from acid burns. Your shoes and possibly your lab notebooks also bear these marks. There's a good chance you have some scars from chemical burns, too.
  7. You make the Best. Coffee. Ever. Every time.
  8. Your cupboard contains lab glassware in addition to the usual kitchen utensils. You didn't borrow it from the lab, did you?
  9. You know the difference between borosilicate glass, flint glass, and leaded crystal (and why it's not really crystal).
  10. You know what color will be produced by burning pretty much every metal salt known to mankind.
  11. When someone refers to a mole, you think of the unit, not the burrowing mammal.
  12. If asked, you could provide detailed instructions for 10 ways to make it go boom. You likely have pictures of key examples on your cell phone. Your lawn may have a few dead spots from outdoor experiments.
  13. When asked if something is organic, you consider whether it contains carbon and hydrogen, not whether it was grown without pesticides.
  14. You can pronounce the name of every ingredient on product packaging, know its purpose, and may be able to draw its structure.
  15. You know, without looking, what color Chemistry Cat is. If you have a cat, you consider dressing it up like Chemistry Cat for Halloween.
  16. You have multiple copies of the periodic table, although you could state the names of at least the first 20 elements in order and possibly their atomic weights. The periodic table may be the wallpaper on your phone and computer.
  17. You rarely get to wear sandals or flip flops. When you do wear them, you're conscious of spilling liquids on your feet.
  18. If you need vision correction, you wear glasses, because you can't wear contacts in the lab. You may even own a pair of prescription safety glasses.
  19. You own or want to wear a bow tie.
  20. No matter how well things are going, you can always find some type of error.
  21. You don't sniff perfume or even food the same way as others. You use your ​hand to wave a small amount of the odor toward your nose. It's a dead giveaway you took a chemistry lab.

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Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Signs You Are a Chemistry Major." ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2020, Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2020, August 25). Signs You Are a Chemistry Major. Retrieved from Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Signs You Are a Chemistry Major." ThoughtCo. (accessed January 24, 2021).