Coming soon to a smartphone near you: Goggles, lab coat, and fire extinguisher

Some time ago, my brilliant C&EN colleague Jessica Morrison hatched a plan to develop emoji for chemists. With the help of Yang Ku and Sam Lemonick, chemoji were born. And later this year, they’ll become part of the standard set–along with a few other science items, redheaded and curly-haired people, superheroes and heroines, and yarn.

Credit: Emojipedia

Credit: Emojipedia

Want our original set of images? You can download them here. At least one school is using them on fume hoods–the faces are cut in half and pasted on the frame and sash; aligning the smile puts the sash at the correct height.

(Where has the Safety Zone been, you ask? First there was Grappling with graduate student mental health and suicide, then Confronting sexual harassment in chemistry. Those stories were followed by a promotion to C&EN’s executive editor for policy. New editor responsibilities included managing Top headlines of 2017 and U.S. policy outlook for 2018, plus assorted other things to learn. I still have the safety beat, though, and one of my goals for this quarter is to get the Safety Zone going again.)

Author: Jyllian Kemsley

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  1. Jyllian – The Safety Zone has been missed! I am most pleased it is returning. As Chief NSTA Safety Blogger (, I have shared the SZ Blog information with K-12 teachers over the years. It is an important resource to help make it safer for students and teachers. Again – welcome back – look forward to reading your work!!!

    Dr. Ken

  2. It would be interesting to see how students will use these chemojis …
    It is a cool idea and hopefully it will promote chemistry. But even chemoji need to be scientifically accurate. The presumably DNA molecule is far from representing DNA structure. The symmetric helix is missing the distinctive major and minor grooves ( Unfortunately this is a common mistake, that appears again and again on C&EN pages (despite previous attempts to alert the editors)

  3. Hi Haim–If you’ve got concerns about art in C&EN, please pass them along! In the case of the emoji, there are two draft illustrations. The one with ambiguous helix handedness that’s shown in this post, and one that’s definitely a right-handed helix, albeit too short a segment to show the major and minor grooves (this was the one submitted with the official proposal):