"I find myself confronted by a somewhat bizarre set of circumstances," confesses the alchemist. "I believe it may prove useful to my career as a scientist to have various samples of the chemical elements, but there are several that I just can't seem to find. Will you try to get them for me?"
"I'll do what I can," you offer.
"I knew you would," he smiles, and he hands you a long list.
You read down it, trying to be helpful. "Ah, um—Element number 41. Isn't that, uh, Niobium?"
He frowns. "I don't think so. That would be completely pointless; I already have plenty of that one. Just locate the ones on the list. If you can't get them all at MIT, come to Harvard; I know they're known there."