Cutest Molecule Ever

The IUPACInternational Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (official) name for this molecule, 3,4,4,5-tetramethylcyclohexa-2,5-dienone, belies the charming appearance of its chemical structure.

When drawn in two dimensions, this molecule’s resemblance to the tuxedoed bird is apparent, as is the rationale for its common name, penguinone.  The “-one” suffix is appropriate, since the major functional group in this molecule is a ketone (represented by the C=O double bond in the structure).

A disclaimer:
This molecule (searched by structure) shows up in the literature about 10 times, according to Beilstein and SciFinderTwo useful databases for chemistry, esp. organic chemistry.  However, a chemistry database search for the term “penguinone” leads to no results.  Thus, it is unclear if a chemist actually bequeathed this name to the molecule, or if the name “penguinone” was a happy myth propagated by the internet.

Coming up soon: Gender distribution in organic chemistry.

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