Effects of Superstitious Behavior on the Synthesis of Nylon 66

a man and a woman looking at the test tubes

By Wang Bo

Abstract:Everyone has their own lab superstition.

Specific:Superstitious behavior is a common phenomenon among experimental scientists, and can significantly increase the success rate of experiments. As a result of the very nature of such superstition, there is very little experimental data to support its efficacy. This article aims to support and optimize the utility of superstitious lab practices in the preparation of Nylon 66.

As an experimental chemist dedicated to organic synthesis, one constantly struggles with all kinds of supernatural phenomena. Heavily cited 100-year-old literature procedures or even one’s own results suddenly cannot be reproduced. For this reason, countless chemists have resorted to primitive superstitions; the burning of incenses, worshiping of Buddha, the sacrifice of livestock or even transitioning from staunch atheism to a faithful devotion to Jesus. When times are at their hardest and you see reviewer two circling like the vulture they are. When your back is up against the wall, there is only one thing to do and that is to turn and fight reviewer two.1 Aside from resorting to violent tendencies scientists fall onto superstitious behaviors that have nothing to do with science, but damnit they may be onto something here (figure 1).

Figure 1: Wine and reagents.
Figure 1: Wine and reagents.


We have explored the influence of a variety of superstitious behaviors based on the preparation of Nylon 66.

Scheme 1 Preparation of Nylon 66

Herein we have tested for six common variables: weather, diet, clothing, glassware condition, choice of deity, and geo-magnetic laboratory orientation. To ensure the rigor of our experimental exploration, we have conducted the experiments not only on ourselves, but as a blind control had every one of his research students do it as well under the optimal conditions, unpaid of course. Due to a translation error, one of the students was literally blinded with a fork. The interval between each experiment was one month to ensure that there was no interference between experiments. To avoid the influence of irrelevant variables, before each experiment the author reset the placement of all the items in the laboratory to the state of the first experiment, and simultaneously cleared all the irrelevant personnel in the laboratory who had nothing to do with this experiment. Unfortunately, the existing laboratory cannot meet our demanding requirements for variables. In order to complete the experimental investigation, the author established a “superstitious inquiry laboratory” to achieve the ideal experimental state. In addition to maintaining all the necessary experimental instruments and chemicals, the experimenters were subjected to ultraviolet sterilization technology to ensure that microorganisms have no influence on the experiment. Finally, the laboratory is completely sealed and oxygen was supplied from a cylinder during the entirely of the experimental testing.


In the experiment, the author tested gradients under varying conditions to ensure that each group running experiments was impacted by only one variable at a time. Product purity was used as the assay of efficacy, which was analysed by 1H NMR and GPC. Experiments were conducted in hexiplate, with the displayed yields as an average of the best two (tables 1–7).


The first variable assessed was the weather on the day of the experiment (table 1). It was found that the purity of the product decreased during periods of inclement weather, while the best results were obtained on sunny days.

Table 1WeatherDietClothingContainerReligionOrientationPurity (%)
1SunnyNo alcoholLab coatBrand newNoNorth94.34
2CloudyNo alcoholLab coatBrand newNoNorth85.10
3Light rainNo alcoholLab coatBrand newNoNorth79.45
4Moderate rainNo alcoholLab coatBrand newNoNorth52.32
5Heavy rainNo alcoholLab coatBrand newNoNorth31.31

This striking trend may result from the increased hydrolysis of adipoyl chloride by atmospheric moisture on rainy days. We recommend future experiments be conducted only after an anti-moisture dance. Regarding table 2 (age of glassware), no trend is discernable, but the best product was obtained from reactions in a flask with at least four previous uses. Go figure. 

Table 2WeatherDietClothingContainerReligionOrientationPurity (%)
1SunnyNo alcoholLab coatBrand newNoNorth94.34
2SunnyNo alcoholLab coatUsed 1 timeNoNorth85.63
3SunnyNo alcoholLab coatUsed 2 timesNoNorth79.39
4SunnyNo alcoholLab coatUsed 3 timesNoNorth78.02
5SunnyNo alcoholLab coatUsed 4 timesNoNorth95.98

Many chemists have turned to the comforts of alcohol induced stupors when haunted by issues of reproducibility.2 When we tested a range of popular beverages, to find that beer and wine had minimal effects on product purity. Vodka, however, was significantly detrimental to the yield of the polymerization, as we kept dropping the reactions on the floor. Not nearly as detrimental as Tequila however, as only 1 experiment was successfully completed, but the subject doesn’t remember it fully (thus this was excluded). Moreover, we concluded that it’s best not to drink while in the lab, but it’s not the worst thing either. Contrary to our expectations, wearing a top hat or suit provided no increase in product yield nor purity (table 4).

Table 3WeatherDietClothingContainerReligionOrientationPurity (%)
1SunnyNo alcoholLab coatUsed 4 timesNoNorth95.98
2SunnyBeerLab coatUsed 4 timesNoNorth92.34
3SunnyWhite wineLab coatUsed 4 timesNoNorth93.98
4SunnyRed wineLab coatUsed 4 timesNoNorth91.21
5SunnyVodkaLab coatUsed 4 timesNoNorth40.00
Table 4WeatherDietClothingContainerReligionOrientationPurity (%)
1SunnyNo alcoholLab coatUsed 4 timesNoNorth95.98
2SunnyNo alcoholJeansUsed 4 timesNoNorth90.32
3SunnyNo alcoholSuitsUsed 4 timesNoNorth89.78
4SunnyNo alcoholTop hatUsed 4 timesNoNorth91.43
5SunnyNo alcoholPeaked capUsed 4 timesNoNorth88.41

Four deities were tested, and we found that offering prayers to the Holy Goat (R3) was most effective, while the Flying Spaghetti Monster (R2) and Hephaestus (R1) were also more effective than the control.

Prayers directed at Joseph Smith (R4) were extremely detrimental to the purity of the product and we can only assume that he is in fact the diefic embodiment of reviewer two and thus should not be trifled with. Finally, we examined the orientation of the laboratory in which the experiments were conducted (table 6).

Table 5WeatherDietClothingContainerReligionOrientationPurity (%)
1SunnyNo alcoholLab coatUsed 4 timesR3North97.34
2SunnyNo alcoholLab coatUsed 4 timesR3East90.43
3SunnyNo alcoholLab coatUsed 4 timesR3West89.09
4SunnyNo alcoholLab coatUsed 4 timesR3South88.23
5SunnyNo alcoholLab coatUsed 4 timesR3Center98.39
Table 6WeatherDietClothingContainerReligionOrientationPurity (%)
1SunnyNo alcoholLab coatUsed 4 timesNoNorth90.98
2SunnyNo alcoholLab coatUsed 4 timesR1North96.34
3SunnyNo alcoholLab coatUsed 4 timesR2North96.87
4SunnyNo alcoholLab coatUsed 4 timesR3North97.34
5SunnyNo alcoholLab coatUsed 4 timesR4North89.43
Table 7 (Student)WeatherDietClothingContainerReligionOrientationPurity (%)
MarySunnyNo alcoholLab coatUsed 4 timesNoNorth99.99
JoeSunnyNo alcoholLab coatUsed 4 timesR1North91.21
SueSunnyNo alcoholLab coatUsed 4 timesR2North90.99
FannySunnyNo alcoholLab coatUsed 4 timesR3North87.69
DickSunnyNo alcoholLab coatUsed 4 timesR4North69.69

We observed that north-facing laboratories were highly effective, but a perfectly circular lab was ideal. We do acknowledge our own failings to examine zero gravity laboratories, but NASA told us to fuck off when we asked to utilize their facilities.  


We have found that the ideal conditions for the preparation of Nylon 66 are to perform the reaction sober, on a sunny day, in glassware with four previous uses, while wearing a lab coat in a circular laboratory and praying to the Holy Goat. We expect to see our finding being implemented in industry soon. 

About the Authors 

Wang Bo is a slave to scientific research. Mary is a fucking liar. Dick is who we thought he is and has been removed from the lab.

Author Contributions

Wang Bo worked like a slave.

Conflicts of Interest

Wang Bo is a staunch materialist 


The author failed miserably in the first experiment, and has since moved on to believe in superstition. Wang Bo also realized that the student he has working under him are little shits.

Notes and references

  1. J. Major, 1995, Chem. Pub. Comm. 6, 55.
  2. Personal experience (last night)

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