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MIT student blogger Jess K. '10

Deprotonated by Jess K. '10

I see the way you're split into your ions and you're fully dissociated.

I’m taking 5.12 (Organic Chemistry) this semester, which is interesting, to say the least. Orgo is notorious for being slightly less fun than having your feet cut off, but I really enjoy it thus far. We have our first exam next week, though, so we’ll see how I feel about it then. (I will say that I like the subject matter more than that of 5.112 – Principles of Chemical Science, which I took last semester.)

But my professor, Dr. Berkowski, is fantastic. The other day in lecture she put up the lyrics to “Deprotonated”, the chemical rendition of Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated”.

“SING IT,” we yelled from our respective purple seats (the seats in 10-250 are, indeed, purple).

“I’m a HORRIBLE singer!” she protested. “Luckily, I’m not shy.”

(Removed content. Sorry!)

It’s been approximately about two weeks like it sometimes always is: time for Q and A!
Anonymous has one quick question: I know this isn’t really related to this topic, sorry, but I have one quick question..How do you get to be a blogger on this website? I know you have to be associated with MIT, but do they just pick random people on campus, do you need connections, or what?

Way back when MITBlogs was a wee little thing, there was Matt, Ben, and Mitra. More bloggers were added because they worked in the admissions office, or out of personal interest; some were actively picked out because they had interesting stories to tell or had blogging experience. Last year the admissions officers actually created an application and a committee to determine the ’10 bloggers, which you’ll have to get to go through next year as well if you want to be an admissions blogger! (My answer to the aardvark question is posted here.) I’m not exactly sure how you get to become a guest blogger, but I’m guessing it probably involves some large sum of money and telling Matt McGann how that blue shirt he always wears brings out his eyes.

Sh1fty says: do MIT students get free windows licences? students at FER here in zagreb get free m$ software :)

We do! (Vista too!) Mac users can get Bootcamp as well, so that we can use Windows should we ever need to.

Monica requests: i was wondering if your parents were really strict on studying, because most korean parents can be…

In retrospect, I feel like relative to other Koreans I know, my parents weren’t that strict on studying, and my sister and I seem to have turned out okay. But I’m not here to tell you how to raise your kids, parents, Korean or not. I’m here to tell your kids to find what they like and go with that, becuase it’s not always the worst thing if you actually enjoy what you’re doing. Otherwise, you lose a hydrogen ion, and you become, Cl-, and H3O+, your pH is low, ’cause in H2O, you deprotonate, H+ you donate, you see…


60 responses to “Deprotonated”

  1. Deepthi says:

    Oh, this is beautiful.

    (I’m serious, in a way.)

  2. theresa says:

    heres a song I learned in calculus:
    (for the quotient rule of derivatives): low dee-hi, hi-dee low. draw the line and square below – (square below!)

    and another math song – the quadratic song, which is saying the quadratic formula to the tune of the Addams Family theme song (finger snapping included) :D

  3. omg… this is way too unusual… i mean i’ve never had a teacher who sings such weird songs in the class…!!! really… shez gta be a nice professor, i guess…
    n BTW, avril is probably gna quit singing if she sees wats happening to her songs… or probably… she’ll deprotonate…!!!

  4. Monica says:

    thanks so much! =)
    wow, you seem to have a cool teacher, I mean, it takes a lot of guts to sing in front of the class, haha

  5. milena says:

    I am sooo taking that class!!! hahahaha i love stuff like that. and organic chemistry sounds very interesting!!! awesome blog. i loved the song and the video!

  6. Jon says:

    HAHAHAHAHA and this is why MIT owns all

  7. Meara says:

    This is how much of a nerd I am: I followed the link to the lyrics, then found Complicated on my iTunes, blasted it on my computer, and then sang along with the Deprotonated lyrics. Twice.

    That might have made my day.

    I love nerdy songs. I still know the formula for Poisson distribution to the tune of Penny Lane…

  8. anonymous says:

    I’m the same anonymous with the blogger question you addressed above….i feel like you’re mocking my “quick question” thing!! i always preface my rediculous inqiuries that way, sorry

  9. Shawntwan says:

    hey Jess.. you know something..

    You’re awesome.. cool cases of deprotonation in MIT.. and You bring it on to light.. Your professor is one to be applauded.. she’ll definitely grade you well.. considering the amount of popularity she’ll get. You’re awesome once again.. Keep posting such (out of the expected) videos.. gosh!! who would’ve thought about posting one.. cool.. YOU COoL!!

  10. Alyssa says:

    You know you blog too much on this website when…

    1. The other hopefuls respond to your comments
    2. The people who run the blog site have responded as well
    3. You’ve written comments under multiple names, hoping no one realizes they’re all the same person, so it doesn’t seem you’re obsessed
    4. You’ve had the priviledge of writing “FIRST POST!!!” at least once
    5. You’ve actually BEEN the first person to post, not just the second person thinking you were the first
    6. You tell your friends/parents about the rediculous things “hopeful753” or “BobbyTeenager1000” posted last night…
    7. You feel like you kmow all the MIT admissions officers personally
    8. You’ve entered at LEAST one on-line contest that has no impact on admission decisions
    9. YouTube is your daily dose of watching crazy MITers do things you wish you could!!
    10. You’re now friends with >50 people that are self-described “nerds” or “geeks”

    These are just a few I can think of on the spot…if you have any more suggestions to add to this list, be my guest!! smile

  11. Shawntwan says:

    hey Jess.. you know something..

    You’re awesome.. cool cases of deprotonation in MIT.. and You bring it on to light.. Your professor is one to be applauded.. she’ll definitely grade you well.. considering the amount of popularity she’ll get. You’re awesome once again.. Keep posting such (out of the expected) videos.. gosh!! who would’ve thought about posting one.. cool.. YOU COoL!!

  12. J.P. says:

    No way! That’s so awesome! I wish my science teachers would do the same. The closest thing to a song was a cheer made up by my Biology teacher:

    “Three fatty acids and one glycerol make a lipid! *double-clap* Make a lipid! *double-clap*”

  13. Sh1fty says:

    i’m so grateful that my chem teacher never did such a thing because she would’ve probably get booed in my class :D anyway, thanks for answering my question wink now here’s another one: first off you should know that here in croatia we eat mostly tasty and cooked food. fruits and vegetables here are almost free of genetic modifications, so they taste as they should smile now, i’ve seen what american food looks like and heard what it tastest like and i’m a bit afraid of that… as a person who likes to eat, do you know if there’s some place around capus where i’ll be able to buy “normal” food?

  14. Keri says:

    I think we should show this at the dating auction tomorrow to get people to buy Berkowski. It would be awesome.

  15. Josh V says:

    HAHAH! Love the video. Clever cheers/songs/memory hooks are always fun.

    shi1fty…is croatian food/fruit really that good compared to american food? never heard that before. interesting…
    …then again, what do you classify as “american food” anyways?

  16. Jess says:

    anonymous – nononono! I wasn’t mocking you! I was making a funny! aw, man..

  17. Utkarsh says:

    I think i was vary cool. Can you please give list of some of the books you use for organic chemistry??? Please.

  18. Solomon says:

    Alyssa, one also blogs too much when one tries to lay down a criteria to determine obsessive blogging.

    Add this to your list.

  19. Albert says:

    Haha…thanks for making us look ridonkulous jkim =)

  20. Albert says:

    …but we’re still awesome

  21. bhushan says:

    i hate chemistry much more than my former girlfriend

  22. Christina says:

    Theresea – I LOVE IT. smile

  23. Sanja says:

    I am concerned about the same question as Sh1fty. As a person who comes from Serbia, which would be next to Croatia, I still get to eat 100% natural food. I would probably survive lack of sarmas, but it won’t be that easy if fruit and vegetables are tasteless…

  24. Alyssa says:

    thanks, Solomon..I think?

  25. Anonymous says:

    dear Jess
    I love the video!
    Can you post some more of such videos ?

  26. Anonymous says:

    Yes, Matt always does wear that blue shirt.

  27. Well honestly chem the most difficult and uninteresting and dull thing I came across so far.

  28. Ying Wei says:

    The song is truly remarkable!!!!

    I have never thought that “complicated” can be modified in such a scientific way….

  29. Melis says:

    Hahahaha, I loveeee Dr. Berkowski! She sings in 5.13, too!

  30. Hey people here something you guys can work on. This riddle was written by Einstein. He said 98% of the world could not solve it. Are you among the 2%??? Find out for yourselves.

    Here is the riddle:

    There are 5 houses in 5 different colors. In each house lives a person with a different nationality. The 5 owners drink a certain type of beverage, smoke a certain brand of cigar, and keep a certain pet. No owners have the same pet, smoke the same brand of cigar, or drink the same beverage.

    The question is: Who owns what?

    You guys definitely need CLUES so..

    • The Brit lives in the red house.

    • The Swede keeps dogs as pets.

    • The Dane drinks tea.

    • The green house is on the left of the white house.

    • The green homeowner drinks coffee.

    • The person who smokes Pall Mall rears birds. .

    • The owner of the yellow house smokes Dunhill.

    • The man living in the center house drinks milk.

    • The Norwegian lives in the first house.

    • The man who smokes Blend lives next to the one who keeps cats.

    • The man who keeps the horse lives next to the man who smokes Dunhill.

    • The owner who smokes Bluemaster drinks beer. .

    • The German smokes prince.

    • The Norwegian lives next to the blue house.

    • The man who smokes Blend has a neighbor who drinks water.

    Get on it!! hey Jess.. nice video though..

  31. BonBon says:

    Yay for fun science and math songs!
    My buddy once brought an old Simon and Garfuncle (did I spell that right?) record with the song NaCl to chem class. Pretty amazing even though I don’t remenber how it goes :( Oh Well. Horrah for excellent MIT professors! wink

  32. Katherine says:

    That is awesome. I now plan on memorizing the lyrics. My calculus teacher does somethig similar, playing old songs every time we use the derivative in a new law. And for birthdays, actually.

  33. amrita says:

    on our birthday tori amos will be performing in ireland

    and you and i, my friend
    will be living it up

  34. Melissa '11 says:

    I remember working on puzzles like that in 5th grade (as a class). They were pretty fun.

  35. Melissa '11 says:

    I think you’re missing some info – we only have four animals: Bird, Dog, Cat, Horse.

    But I’ll get started =)

  36. Melissa '11 says:

    Brit: red house, bird, milk, Pall Mall
    Swede: white, dog, beer, Bluemaster
    Dane: blue, horse, tea, blend
    Norwe: yellow, cat, water, Dunhill
    German: green, whatever pet was not mentioned, coffee, prince

    House Order L-2-R: Yellow, Blue, Red, Green, White


  37. James says:

    Science songs FTW! A professor at the University of Washington named Greg Crowther writes songs about biology and chemistry and performs them with his band Science Groove. He also keeps a Massive Database of science songs at

  38. Emily L. says:

    jkim, your blog rocks my socks and trust me, these are pretty rockin’ socks

  39. Your professor is hilarious! Reminds me of my own chem teacher right now, he has a fluorine dance.

    On an unrelated note, how was first semester at MIT for you? I understand that MIT has a pass/no record for first semester, but still, I think I would feel really crushed if I failed a class there. Yet I’ve heard many people talk about the immense difficulties associated w/ MIT classes, so it seems inevitable to have a “no record” class.

  40. Melisa ’11.. you got it..(PPL can check the answers from her entry) Yes you’re right about the intended missing info but I couldn’t help myself. Sorry about that. Anyway’z you can count yourself among the 2%. I don’t know about the rest.. lol:P

    Here’s another shot if people would like to take..Should be a piece of cake for you brainniess..

    Find a number consisting of 9 digits in which each of the digits from 1 to 9 appears only once. This particular number should satisfy the following requirements:
    a. number should be divisible by 9.
    b. If the most right digit is removed, the remaining number should be divisible by 8.
    c. If then again the most right digit is removed, the remaining number should be divisible by 7 and so on until the last remaining number of one digit which should be divisible by 1.

    Get on it!!

  41. Challenger says:

    hey Melissa.. sorry about your spelling your name incorrectly.

  42. Melissa '11 says:

    No problem, Challenger =) I’ve started on the other one. All I know is the starting number and that the even number can only go in certain places =)

  43. AJ Singh says:

    I remember solving that Einstein puzzle 5 years ago. Did he really construct it?

    Anyway, answer to Challenger’s puzzle


    Ayman J Singh

  44. Melissa '11 says:

    Or AJ Sign can solve it…

    I’ll still go and figure it out for myself though

  45. AJ says:


    You are right about the even numbers thing. I am not sure how you fixed yourself with the starting digit.


  46. yipeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee……….
    i solved it

    here it goes

    Name House Bevrage Cigar Pet
    Brit Red Milk Pallmall Birds
    Swede White Beer Blumaster Dogs
    Dane Blue Tea Blend Horse
    Norwe. Yellow Water Dunhill Cats
    German Green Coffee Prince N.M

  47. Sh1fty says:

    actually, there was another clue: “One person has a fish” and the question was “Who’s got the fish?”. Melissa, you’re right, it’s the german wink is anyone here going to inpex this year? with a bit of luck i might be going there too :p

  48. Sea says:

    omg, that riddle took me about 20 minutes to solve the answer. do you see how much i tried to be among the “2% group” ?

  49. AJ says:

    I remember another one, similar to Challenger’s puzzle. It goes something like this:
    <ul>Find the smaller number which when

    <li>Divided by 10 gives remainder 9</li>
    <li>Divided by 9 gives remainder 8</li>
    <li>Divided by 8 gives remainder 7</li>
    <li>Divided by 7 gives remainder 6</li>
    <li>Divided by 6 gives remainder 5</li>
    <li>Divided by 5 gives remainder 4</li>
    <li>Divided by 4 gives remainder 3</li>
    <li>Divided by 3 gives remainder 2</li>
    <li>Divided by 2 gives remainder 1</li>
    I think that was the puzzle. I don’t remember the answer though.

    Try cracking it.

  50. hmm…………….. AJ
    i will try that

  51. Kim '10 says:

    No, no, the question is “Who owns the fish?”

    Which is why only 4 pets were mentioned…

    (I just did that puzzle about a month ago, found it here: )

    Yay logic puzzles!

  52. Sh1fty says:

    here’s the solution for AJ’s last puzzle:

    int i,r=0;
    for(i=1;r==0;i++) if(i==9 && i%9==8 && i%8==7 && i%7==6 && i%6==5 && i%5==4 && i%4==3 && i%3==2 && i%2==1) r=i;

    it prints 2519 smile

  53. Nina says:

    Oh, JKim. You and putting things on YouTube. You must be stopped. raspberry


  54. Hi shifty, its a massacre, your program looks like C genre, but is not C definitely, unless you have built your own compiler that includes automatically for you, you cant keep # incude statement incomplete, it returns error.

    It could be done in another way, the number is actually LCM of i (1 to 10) -1

    Guess why.


  55. AJ says:

    Gee, I forgot to mention the condition that you were not allowed to take help from Ritchie (Or Stroustrup for that matter) in any form. Oh well.

    Seems that the answer is correct. Lets try something interesting. Here is another problem. Think about it:

    Suppose that a clock takes 7 seconds to strike 7, how long will the same clock take to strike 10?

    And another one:

    John takes 2 steps for every 3 steps taken by Bob. They both start out on the left foot. What is the minimum number of steps that Bob has to take so that both he and John land together on the right foot


  56. AJ says:

    Sorry for posting so many problems, but I cannot resist from posting this one:
    The monkey and the banana

    Over the top of a fence hangs a rope. On one end of the rope a monkey is holding a banana. On the other end of the rope hangs a weight equal to the weight of the monkey. The rope weighs one third pounds per foot and the banana weighs two ounces per inch. The length of the rope in feet is the same as the age of the monkey. The weight of the monkey in ounces is the same as the age of the monkey’s mother in years. The combined ages of the monkey and its mother are thirty years.

    One half the weight of the monkey plus the the weight of the banana is a quarter as much as the weight of the rope. The monkey’s mother is half as old as the monkey will be when it is three times as old as its mother was when she was half as old as the monkey will be when it is as old as its mother will be when she is four times as old as the monkey was when it was twice as old as its mother was when she was a third as old as the monkey was when it was as old as its mother was when she was three times as old as the monkey was when it was a quarter as old as it is now.

    How long is the banana?

  57. Sh1fty says:

    it was c, i forgot that this engine takes everything within angle brackets as tags… here is a rar wich contains the source and the exe file wink

  58. YAHOO!

    1) (7/6)*9 sec ( I like RAW format both as a photographer, and a puzzler)

    2)6 ( I have practically experimented this)

    3)feeling like monkey ……….. I leave it for others;)

    Has anybody tried rebol ? or SCHEME? SCHEME is an MIT language, ( ie MITDev)

  59. bhushan says:

    ok!!! i will solve that
    but first transfer all units in SI