Solutions for Act II Scene 2 - Schoenflies When You're Having Fun

The chemicals in the flasks can be sorted into pairs by their point group, which is determined by and describes the internal symmetry of a molecule (the five symmetry elements are rotation axes, reflection planes, inversion centres, improper rotation axes and the identity).

This gives the following pairs, with their Schoenflies point groups listed:

  • chrysene and trans-1,2-dibromoethene: C2h
  • chloroethane and chloroethehe: Cs
  • water and formaldehyde: C2v
  • ammonia and methylacetylene: C3v
  • pentafluorochlorosulfanyl and iodine pentafluoride: C4v
  • nitrous oxide and hydrogen fluoride: C∞v
  • ethane and disilane: D3d
  • ethylene and pyrene: D2h
  • dihydrogen and carbon dioxide: D∞h
  • cubane and sulfur hexafluoride: Oh
  • methane and sulfate: Td

The next step is to react the two reagents on the tags for each pair. Note that for some of these reactions there is more than one possible product (depending on the relative stoichiometry and length of reaction).

  • C2h: nitrile plus water gives carboxylic acid
  • Cs: acid plus SOCl2 gives acyl chloride
  • C2v: alcohol plus acyl chloride gives ester
  • C3v: carboxylic acid plus carboxylic acid gives acid anhydride
  • C4v: acyl chloride plus carboxylic acid gives acid anhydride
  • C∞v: aldehyde plus water gives carboxylic acid
  • D3d: aldehyde plus primary amine gives imine
  • D2h: amine plus carboxylic acid gives amide
  • D∞h: alcohol plus aldehyde gives hemiacetal
  • Oh: amine plus acyl chloride gives amide
  • Td: alcohol plus carboxylic acid gives ester

Next add the numbers from each flask, and select this letter from the product.

  • C2h: 4, B
  • Cs: 8, O
  • C2v: 3, T
  • C3v: 7, H
  • C4v: 10, R
  • C∞v: 5, O
  • D3d: 4, N
  • D2h: 1, A
  • D∞h: 10, L
  • Oh: 4, D
  • Td: 2, S

If written in this order (alphabetically by the group "class" C, D, O, T then by the subscript letter and finally ordered by the subscript numbers if necessary) this reveals the phrase


This refers to Ronald Gillespie and Ronald Nyholm, the two main developers of Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulsion Theory (VSEPR theory), which predicts the geometry of a molecule from the number of electron pairs around each atom. This is obviously fundamental to the first step in this puzzle, as you can't identify a point group without knowing the shape of the molecule! Hence the solution is


The answer is: gillespienyholm