12 Days of Geek | Day 9 | Pour me a hot cup of C8H10N4O2

by in 12 Days of Geek

Q. C8H10N4O2 is a molecule geeks love. Why?


“It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity.” –Dave Barry

The science behind the pep comes in the form of C8H10N4O2—the chemical formula for caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that works by blocking sleep-inducing adenosine receptors in your brain. Since your nerve cells are unable to tell a difference between caffeine and adenosine, they fill up with caffeine, allowing your body’s natural stimulants to function more freely.

In addition to the morning perk, there are some health benefits to moderate caffeine consumption. From boosting long-term memory to protecting against type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, studies have shown that 250–300 mg (3 to 4 cups of coffee or tea) of daily caffeine intake can be really good for the body.