It took about three days to sketch, research and create.
Three days ago, I knew nothing about terpenes. My undergraduate phytochemistry class was really difficult. The teacher was a genius, and put huge amounts of effort into his tutorials, giving us thick booklets at each seminar filled with his hand-written notes and dozens of chemical structures. But for some reason, I just didn’t get it.
So this week, I decided to make the graphic I wish I’d had when I took the phytochemistry class many years ago. Having this poster on my wall would have answered all my questions and made the class much more enjoyable. I hope you find it useful, too.
As always, I welcome all feedback, corrections, suggestions and comments, etc.
Thanks to the thorough, kind and extremely useful feedback I’ve received as a result of making this chart, I’ve created a revised edition of the Table of Organic Compounds and their Smells poster with 8 additions and corrections. See details underneath.
I found a really old botany book that says undecan-2-one smells like “rue wort”. I don’t know what “rue wort” is, but I’ve labelled it on the chart anyway.
Added a 15-carbon row, which includes tamarind, celery and musk smells.
Added a benzene row, which includes almonds, tar and orange smells.
Added methene, CH₂! It’s extremely unstable and is usually called ‘carbene’. Nobody knows what it smells like because it reacts before it reaches your nose.
Pentane now has a smell
Alkenes are now labelled ‘unpleasant’
Corrected the second ketone column header from “2-methyl-” to “methyl-“
Moved kumquats to the left.
There were also some minor aesthetic changes: skull & crossbones symbol shows high toxicity (category I or II), while a warning symbol shows moderate toxicity (category III). A green face icon represents a highly unpleasant smell.
Again, thank you to all the people who emailed or otherwise messaged me with feedback on this poster. It pleases me to see how much this poster’s been shared around the internet on many different platforms. I’m glad you find it interesting. 🙂
Here are the last of the Visual Ingredients posters I’m planning to make. Here’s Chanel No. 5 and a cheap (but also popular) deodorant as well just for the comparison’s sake. Enjoy!
More book reviews coming soon. At the beginning of the year, I set a goal of reading and reviewing 104 books in 2013… I’ve read 87 so far, and the reviews are either uploaded or queued. That leaves me with 17 books and 13 days in which to read them!