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Valentine Perfumes Made By Chemists

In this week’s print Newscripts column, Associate Editor Linda Wang wishes readers a happy Valentine’s Day by writing a feature about a chemist who makes his own perfumes. Frederick J. Lakner first wrote in to C&EN in a Letter to the Editor about his frustrations at being unemployed. But it turns out that when Lakner isn’t patiently seeking a new job, he uses his chemistry skills to concoct fragrances for men and women. To check them out, click here.

The folks at the Periodic Table of Videos have also been having “a bit of fun for Valentine’s Day,” according to their website, by trying their hands at perfumery. In this clip, they pass around a bottle, and each team member adds a special component to create the perfect fragrance. As Martyn Poliakoff explains, cheap perfumes have very few components and evaporate quickly. The more expensive ones, he says, have lots of complex ingredients layered over one another. If so, their perfume, “Mendeleev’s Dream,” is quite sophisticated, containing components such as vanillin, vodka, citronellol, cinnamaldehyde, boron trioxide, and hexachloroplatinic acid (for “a little bling”). The kicker, I think, might be the red dye 23 put in at the end, turning the solution blood red. Kids, do not apply this at home.

For a man-on-the-street look at how “Mendeleev’s Dream” tests with science students at the University of Nottingham, here’s some extra footage:

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