November 11, 2014

4:16 PM | ACS Starting Salary Survey results in infographic form
If you're interested in seeing the 2013 ACS Starting Salary Survey in infographic form, here it is.Hat tip KZ 
4:14 PM | Job posting: Scientist, Medicinal Chemistry, San Diego, CA
Via Twitter: We are looking for a highly motivated, hands on medicinal chemist to become a key member of Crinetics team. This individual will be an integral part of our medicinal chemistry effort to discover small molecule therapeutics. This is a growth and learning opportunity in a small company environment. Responsibilities:Design, synthesis and purification of small molecule drug candidates and other molecules as part of drug discovery programs. Qualifications:PhD in Organic […]
3:55 PM | Daily Pump Trap: 11/11/14 edition
Good morning! Some of this week's positions posted on C&EN Jobs: Livermore, CA: This Sandia senior manager position for biotechnology seems very interesting. Q-clearance makes it sound important. Trenton, NJ: Interesting "technical service chemist" position from Gelest -- first time I've seen that. M.S./Ph.D. desired. The Woodlands, TX: This must be the shortest job description I've seen in a while. From Flotek Industries: Candidate must have a fundamental understanding […]
3:41 PM | Ivory Filter Flask: 11/11/14 edition
Good morning! A few of the academically-related positions posted this week on C&EN Jobs:Hempstead, NY: Hofstra is looking for an assistant professor of either computational chemistry or chemical education.Birmingham, AL: Samford University desires an assistant professor of organic chemistry.Washington, DC: Postdoc for organofluorine work at Georgetown.Houghton, MI: Michigan Tech is looking for an assistant professor of physical chemistry (experimental.) Is there a 4-year school in […]

November 10, 2014

10:57 PM | Minnesota professors respond on the 5 gram azide limit
I e-mailed Professor William Tolman, the chair of the University of Minnesota's chemistry department for further explanation of the 5 gram limit on azide reactions within the department. Here was a portion of his response: We estimated how big an explosion would occur if the azide prep was done on various scales, and what mitigation is readily available (blast shields, capabilities of hoods, etc.), and from this we estimated that a prep done on a 5 gram scale (or less) could be handled […]
4:41 PM | The Silence of The Hiring Process
From the inbox, a common thought amongst chemistry job seekers expressed extremely well (I have made one redaction to protect their identity): I have been looking for a job for about 12 months and under-employed for 6. During this time I have conducted about a dozen initial interviews, 3 second interviews, and most recently, 3 interviews with a company that I felt really good interviewing with. In 8 of these cases, despite being told I could email with questions and explicitly asking if it […]
4:29 PM | NYC teen burned in rainbow demonstration suing for $27M
Paraphrasing Captain Spock, the rainbow demonstration is beginning to reside in the hands of the attorneys. From the New York Post: The family of a 16-year-old boy who was severely burned when a high school ​chemistry experiment went horribly haywire is suing the city for $27 million over his injuries. Parents Yvonne and Claudio Yanes say Beacon High School on W. 61st Street had received a video from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board warning that a procedure called the […]
4:18 PM | Job posting: process chemist, San Diego, CA
From the inbox, a process chemist position:Process Development Chemist (Scientist level $60-$80K) BS/MS Chemistry (maybe Biochem) 5-10 years experience Experimental design, Analytical methods “Recipe development” i.e. solvent ratios for extractions Knowledge of reaction systems Chromatography Tech transfer from lab bench to pilot scale Knowledge of bioprocess beneficial Interested? Contact Nathan Radosevich (recruiter for RemX […]
4:09 PM | University of Minnesota chemistry has limited the scale of azide reactions?
Also in this week's C&EN, a really worthwhile article from Jyllian Kemsley talking to William Tolman, the chair of the chemistry department, on their recent TMS-azide explosion. While the whole article is worth reading, I think this section detailing Professor Tolman's decisions was very interesting (emphasis mine):“Overall, there was clearly a lack of proper hazard assessment,” Tolman continues. “They didn’t stop and say, ‘This is a really dangerous […]
3:23 PM | This week's C&EN
Plenty to chew on:A letter to the editor proposing a "Division of Cannabis Chemistry" -- I suspect this is really gonna happen, folks. Hey, look, it's some letters about climate change!This agreement between journals about reproducibility standards is interesting -- the non-explanation explanation from ACS Publications is interesting, too. (article by Andrea Widener)An article by Glenn Hess and Andrea Widener on the election results and chemical industry matters before Congress. I […]
12:17 PM | Bitcoin provocations
Yesterday at the Alt Banking meeting we had a special speaker and member, Josh Snodgrass (not his real name), come talk to us about Bitcoin, the alternative “cryptocurrency”. I’ll just throw together some fun and provocative observations that came from the meeting. First, Josh demonstrated how quickly you can price alternative currencies, by giving out […]

November 09, 2014

4:46 PM | Why GMO labeling in the U.S. needs to win only once
There were no doubt celebrations last week in the boardrooms of corporations that own patents to the world's genetically engineered crops. Proposals to label foods containing these crops--commonly called GMOs for genetically modified organisms--were defeated soundly in Colorado and barely in Oregon.That makes for a perfect record in the United States for the GMO purveyors who have beaten back every attempt to mandate labeling of foods containing GMO ingredients. But, I think the celebrations […]

November 08, 2014

3:02 PM | Aunt Pythia’s advice
Holy crap! Aunt Pythia is in love with a new knitting pattern and has just completed her first reversible “flaming hat”: And that’s all I got today, folks. Just kidding! I’m here for you guys, of course! Let’s dig in. But before I forget, please think of something titillating, reversible, and scrumptious  to ask Aunt […]

November 07, 2014

9:40 PM | Rotovaps are like heroin for Hollywood
Of course, it's not being used as an actual rotary evaporator. (Still from "Big Hero 6")They can't help but abuse them. (Off the top of my head, there's Rotovap Abuse in the very forgettable Formula 51 and in an early episode of "Fringe", as I recall?)In all honesty, I love the enthusiasm of the chemist in this clip (starts at 1:25), if not the adherence to PPE. And it is quite clear that the animators were given access to an actual, physical laboratory. 
11:40 AM | Inflation for the rich
I’m preparing for my weekly Slate Money podcast – this week, unequal public school funding, Taylor Swift versus Spotify, and the economics of weed, which will be fun – and I keep coming back to something I mentioned last week on Slate Money when we were talking about the end of the Fed program of quantitative […]
8:37 AM | A week of links
Links this week: The freedom to pursue informed self-harm has a long and noble tradition. What happens when behavioural economics is used to explain rational behaviour. A great summary of some of Gordon Tullock’s work. HT: Garett Jones Another study on the limited effect of parenting on IQ. HT: Billare via Stuart Ritchie What Hayek might […]

November 06, 2014

7:37 PM | I don't think Impostor Syndrome ever goes away
This past week, Beth Haas posted on Impostor Syndrome and how she felt a little odd about being at her new workplace:I realized I was asking everyone around me for permission to be there, and that was undermining my confidence. I don't need anyone's permission to do my job. I'm the real deal, not an impostor. Like the spy movie cliché, people tend to assume you belong and you know where you're going. You just have to act like it. Do it long enough, and you might just fool […]
4:21 PM | How do you disrecommend someone?
I have been extraordinarily remiss in not linking to C&EN's Employment Outlook section, but as readers may have sensed, it has been busy here this week. So, to rectify that, 3 links: Sophie Rovner's broad economic outlook is quite interesting, especially the focus on Paul Hodges' thoughts. It's worth a look, especially the ending paragraphs where they focus on the unemployment amongst East Coast pharma scientists versus the need for petrochemical workers in the Gulf region. Susan […]
3:30 PM | Daily Pump Trap: 11/6/14 edition
Good morning! A few of the industrial positions posted at C&EN Jobs this week:Fort Washington, PA: Vitae Pharmaceuticals is hiring a senior director of process chemistry. Pretty cool.Lionville, PA: West Pharmaceutical Services is looking for a principal analytical chemist with an LC/MS bent.North Chicago, IL: AbbVie with more process chemistry positions; also, a medicinal chemistry position in Shanghai. (heh)Austin, TX: This "chemometrician" position is obviously with a defense contractor […]
3:13 PM | Ivory Filter Flask: 11/4/14 edition
Good morning! A few of the academically-related positions posted at C&EN Jobs this week: Columbus, OH: This Data Analytics position at the Ohio State University's quite striking:The College of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University seeks applications to fill a tenure-track faculty position in Data Analytics at the Assistant Professor level within the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  The successful applicant will develop and apply novel computational methods […]
12:23 PM | Nerd catcalling
This is a guest post by Becky Jaffe. It has come to my attention that I am a nerd. I take this on good authority from my students, my friends, and, as of this morning, strangers in a coffee shop. I was called a nerd three times today before 10:30 am, while I was standing […]
12:14 AM | Job posting: assistant professor, Conway, AR
From the inbox: The Department of Chemistry at the University of Central Arkansas invites applications for a tenure-track position beginning Fall 2015.  The successful candidate will have a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry or closely-related discipline and a strong commitment to teaching, research, and service at the undergraduate level.  Course responsibilities include organic chemistry, organic spectroscopy, and general organic/biochemistry for health science fields.  Complete […]

November 05, 2014

4:06 PM | The Most Unexpected Mention of EPR You'll See This Week
In the middle of a very interesting, poignant and not-too-surprising article about people struck by lightning:Over the past three decades, Cooper has written articles on lightning safety, helped set up websites for survivors, and published many academic papers. A link on her UIC page points visitors to most of her work on the topic, including studies with esoteric titles such as “Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Spectroscopic Evidence of Increased Free Radical Generation and Selective […]
12:07 PM | Going to Haiti next week
I’m off to Haiti next week, for a week, with my buddie and bandmate Jamie Kingston. I was trying to figure out what to do with the blog while I was gone, and so I asked sometimes-guest blogger Becky Jaffe to cover for me (some of you may remember her Hip Hop’s Cambrian Explosion series […]

November 04, 2014

3:27 PM | This week's C&EN
Busy day yesterday, apparently. A few non-employment related tidbits from this week's C&EN:I still marvel at the details of the history of the birth control pill that are being hashed out in the letters to C&EN. Worthwhile look by Lisa Jarvis into the academic/pharma collaboration model. (reg) Sounds positive right now -- will be interesting to see what shakes out in 3 years or so. This isn't going away, is it? I wonder if it has lowered pharma's R&D costs? This […]
8:31 AM | Genome Wide Association Studies and socioeconomic outcomes
A few months back, I posted about a Conference on Genetics and Behaviour held by the Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Global Working Group at the University of Chicago. In that post, I linked to a series of videos from the first session on the effect of genes on socioeconomic aggregates. Over the last couple of days, I watched the […]

November 03, 2014

4:44 PM | More soon, but first...
This is a screenshot from last Thursday's ACS Webinars on "the future of medicinal chemistry" with speakers from both Pfizer and Gilead.Isn't it time that industrial expectations of incoming Ph.D. medicinal chemists be laid out in a more systematic or quantitative fashion? I would find a single sentence such as "95% of our recent Ph.D. chemist hires have published one JACS article and was scored highly for their job talk" much more informative.More later. 
12:36 PM | “Hand To Mouth” and the rationality of the poor
Here’s one thing that you do as a mathematician a lot: change the assumptions and see how wildly the conclusions change. You usually start with lots of assumptions, and then see how things change when they are taken away one by one: what if the ring isn’t commutative? What if it doesn’t have a “1”? […]

November 02, 2014

7:11 PM | Is there really an oil glut?
Back in March 1999 "The Economist" magazine carried a cover photo of two men drenched in oil as they attempted to close a faulty valve that was spraying a huge stream of crude skyward. Over the photo was the headline: "Drowning in oil." At the time it really did seem as if the world were drowning in oil.The previous December crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange touched $10.72 per barrel. That month U.S. gasoline prices averaged 95 cents per gallon. "The Economist" opined that oil might […]
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November 01, 2014

11:50 AM | Aunt Pythia’s advice
Well, hello and good morning! Glad you all could make it onto Aunt Pythia’s magic bus today! I’ve redecorated to celebrate Daylight Savings Time (or rather, the end of it): Daylight savings time has made Aunt Pythia very happy today, because it means an extra hour for me to focus on you, you and your […]
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