Chem-Men Cause Chemical Chaos!

New student group aims to become superheroes via intentionally dumb science.


Flasks flung furiously across the floor. Goggles ignored in drawers. Broken beakers beaten in sinks.   New Trier spends approximately a week teaching about safety in the lab, with additional focus continuing throughout the year. Shouldn’t schools want to keep kids safe? What happens when the students reject safety? These are the questions being asked now, as chemistry class chaos overtakes New Trier due to the willfully risk-laden antics of the Chem-Men.

The Chem Men are a group of students raising awareness about the importance of safety, or the lack of it. With a clear and dangerous agenda of trying to gain superpowers through deliberate, often elaborately-conducted lab accidents, the Chem Men hope to spawn into the saviors of New Trier’s notoriously crime-laden community.  We talked to Adam Atomix, the leader of the Chem Men, who gave us his perspective.

“How do normal people become superheroes?” asked Atomix. “More than fifty percent of the time it is through a dangerous experiment. Spider-Man, The Hulk, Captain America, Kool-Aid Man—all heroes who urge us to follow in their footsteps. New Trier is trying to restrict our rights to be the next generation of superheroes.”

Administration blames the constant popularity of the Marvel franchise. With three versions of Spider-Man, and talk of a multiverse, students believe they are destined to have powers as well. But if you spend time around something radioactive will it kill you, or make you the newest world savior?

“Wearing goggles should be a choice,” continued Atomix.  “I may become blind, or I may become a prophet. There’s no telling what will happen, and we will not allow New Trier’s outdated ideas on ‘safety’ to hold us back from our true potential.  My body, my choice!” 

However, other students and staff see the Chem Men’s “pro-choice” attitude as not just lacking perspective, context, and basic abstract thinking, but also as being highly problematic, as students are risking likely outcomes of death and/or dismemberment. However, the Chem Men have cited “every superhero movie ever” and said there is a 100% chance of getting powers when involved in a lab failure. On the other side, parents and teachers have complained that they don’t want to spend the next thirty years mourning a kid that intentionally got bit by a radioactive animal. 

“In the end, what is safety, if not the perpetuation of blind adherence?” asked Atomix, grinning as he plunged his hand into a terrarium filled with uranium-painted scorpions.  He then continued to say something else, but it was indecipherable due to his excessive screaming and weeping.