Oh. My. God.
I was looking at the Molecules with Silly or Unusual Names website tonight, which reminded me that I'd submitted an entry a few years ago ("Bananaborane" on page 3, if you're interested) and I wondered whether the nickname had in fact just been confined to the chemistry department at Durham University, my own alma mater. (And no, I don't know why Blogger keeps creating a hyperlink from the word "University" back there: it isn't in my html.) But with a little Googling I found this example from the University of Minnesota (top of the list of abbreviations on page xi), which somehow made me feel better. What's that you say? I'm a nerd and a geek? Bah.
Anyway, I found the following gem of a fact on page 4 of the site. It seems that in the 1999 Anagrammy awards, which are given for the best anagrams of the year, Mike Keith won with this astonishing anagram of the names of 30 elements which are an anagram for the names of 30 other elements.
hydrogen + zirconium + tin + oxygen + rhenium + platinum + tellurium + terbium + nobelium + chromium + iron + cobalt + carbon + aluminum + ruthenium + silicon + ytterbium + hafnium + sodium + selenium + cerium + manganese + osmium + uranium + nickel + praseodymium + erbium + vanadium + thallium + plutonium
nitrogen + zinc + rhodium + helium + argon + neptunium + beryllium + bromine + lutetium + boron + calcium + thorium + niobium + lanthanum + mercury + fluorine + bismuth + actinium + silver + cesium + neodymium + magnesium + xenon + samarium + scandium + europium + berkelium + palladium + antimony + thulium
You think that's impressive? Try replacing the name of each element with its atomic number and see what happens:
1 + 40 + 50 + 8 + 75 + 78 + 52 + 65 + 102 + 24 + 26 + 27 + 6 + 13 + 44 + 14 + 70 + 72 + 11 + 34 + 58 + 25 + 76 + 92 + 28 + 59 + 68 + 23 + 81 + 94 [= 1416]
7 + 30 + 45 + 2 + 18 + 93 + 4 + 35 + 71 + 5 + 20 + 90 + 41 + 57 + 80 + 9 + 83 + 89 + 47 + 55 + 60 + 12 + 54 + 62 + 21 + 63 + 97 + 46 + 51 + 69 [= 1416]
And it would seem that this was Mike Keith just warming up. Bloody hell.
I haven't yet dared to look at the pages for other winners.
UPDATE: I've looked at a few of the others now and none of them have such far-reaching anagrams as Mike's (though one guy has some amazing mathematical stuff). This one, though, was too good not to share:
SPECIAL CATEGORY, July 2000:
2nd - Linda Garrett with:
Tiger! Tiger! Burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
-- William Blake
Fluffy Bunny! Roasting bright
Who the hell set him alight?
Did mere farmers aim to fry
Their carrot eating little guy?
-- Mr Bake Me Now