Friday, November 26, 2021

Have a great weekend

I've had a pretty chill week, overall. Here's hoping that you had a good week too, and that you have a great and peaceful weekend. See you on Monday. 

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving!

Every year, I am incredibly thankful for my family, my friends, my community (physical and online) and my job. This year, I continue to be very thankful for the health and safety of our family and friends.

I am also thankful for you, my readers and commenters. Thank you for your reading, your advice, your e-mails and your brilliant, insightful comments. I am grateful for your continued reading over these many years. I sincerely hope that you continue to be safe from the pandemic, and that you and your family are both healthly 

[An additional note: if you would ever like to meet for a cup of coffee or a beer, please reach out to my e-mail address. I hope to find myself in many different places in 2022, and I love to meet readers of the blog.] 

My family and I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving and if you're not in the United States, a happy Thursday and Friday! 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 470 research/teaching positions and 44 teaching positions

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 470 research/teaching positions and 44 teaching positions. 

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

On November 24, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 195 research/teaching position and 17 teaching positions. On November 26, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 482 research/teaching positions and 32 teaching positions.

To see trending, go to Andrew Spaeth's visualization of previous years' list.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Go to the second open thread. Here is the first open thread. The first open thread was closed on November 10, 2021.

Here is Sean Edington's status summary spreadsheet.

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread.

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 64 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 64 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson).

Want to talk? Go to this year's open thread. 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 44 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 44 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady and @nmr_chemist. It targets:

  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Rainbow demonstration victim has lawsuit award cut by appeal

An old story for this blog but Alonzo Yanes, a high school student burned in one of the worst stories of the Rainbow Experiment, had the lawsuit award reduced on appeal (via the New York Post): 

An appeals court Thursday cut in half the $60 million jury award for a Beacon High School student who was horribly burned in a since-banned chemistry experiment gone awry — still making it the largest payout in New York.

Alonzo Yanes was awarded the massive sum in 2019 after jurors heard about his horrific experience getting third-degree burns over 30 percent of his body at age 16 after a chemistry teacher was demonstrating the “Rainbow Experiment” — which uses highly flammable methanol to light various salts to produce different-colored flames.

The Appellate Division, First Department Thursday acknowledged that the excruciating burns, recovery, and the struggles ahead for Yanes, as he must live out the rest of his life with disfiguring scars, but still found the jury’s award “excessive.”

The decision laid out that the verdict should be reduced to $12 million for past pain and suffering and another $17 million for the future.

Even after it's been cut back, it's still a very large award, and one that has seemingly caused New York City public schools to not perform this demonstration anymore. I hope schools around the country either stop doing the rainbow demonstration, or institute the simplest best practices, including removing bulk containers of methanol from the room during the actual demonstration. 

I hope that the award will bring Mr. Yanes a tiny amount of peace. Best wishes to him, and the other victims from the Beacon School incident. 

Friday, November 19, 2021

Have a good weekend

Hope you had a good week. I'm almost recovered from the jet lag, but not quite yet. Have a good weekend, and we'll see you on Monday. 

Miami chemical vice?

Via Chemical and Engineering News' Cheryl Hogue, this funny tidbit about phased-out CFCs during the 1990s: 
Organized criminal entities “could be trafficking in something else, but they choose climate super-pollutants” over other items, such as illicit drugs, because of profitability, said Alexander von Bismarck, executive director of the Environmental Investigation Agency, a nonprofit group that probes and exposes environmental crime worldwide

A similar situation happened when the US ratcheted down its production of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the 1990s, von Bismarck said. Border agents began to find canisters of CFC-12 (also known as R-12) in the small, fast boats that drug runners used to sneak shipments of cocaine into the US. “What was found is that the risk-adjusted return was better for smugglers from R-12 than it was from cocaine,” simply because enforcement agencies didn’t place much importance on refrigerants, von Bismarck said. Then, border enforcement officers in Florida began to seek out refrigerants as well as drugs. “That had an enormous impact on the climate” by keeping CFCs, which are also greenhouse gases, off the market, he said. Eventually, HFCs replaced CFCs in many applications.

Funny to wonder what the border agents were thinking when they saw all those canisters...

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 451 research/teaching positions and 37 teaching positions

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 451 research/teaching positions and 37 teaching positions. 

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

On November 17, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 178 research/teaching position and 16 teaching positions. On November 19, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 470 research/teaching positions and 30 teaching positions.

To see trending, go to Andrew Spaeth's visualization of previous years' list.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Go to the second open thread. Here is the first open thread. The first open thread was closed on November 10, 2021.

Here is Sean Edington's status summary spreadsheet.

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread.

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 64 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 64 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson).

Want to talk? Go to this year's open thread. 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 44 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 44 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady and @nmr_chemist. It targets:

  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Survey of Earned Doctorates, 2020 edition

From the NSF's Survey of Earned Doctorates, the latest data, which is for the class of graduates during the 2020 calendar year. First, the demographic data (tab 58): 

All doctorate recipients (number): 2,763
Sex (%): Male 60.4 / Female 39.5 / Unknown 0.0
Citizenship (%): U.S. citizen or permanent resident 61.4, Temporary visa holder 36.0, Unknown 2.6
Marital status (%): Never married 48.5, Married 31.6,  Marriage-like relationship 8.3, Separated, divorced, widowed 1.6, Unknown 10.0
Bachelor's in same field as doctorate (%): 72.8
Master's earned (%): 37.9
Age at doctorate (median years): 29.0
Time to doctorate (median years): From bachelor's 6.3, From graduate school start 5.8, From doctoral program start 5.3

Now, their destinations (tab 59): 

Definite postgraduation study: 931 (36% of respondents to this question)
Definite employment: 761 (30% of respondents to this question)
Seeking employment or study: 809 (32% of respondents to this question)
Other: 55 (2% of respondents to this question)

Definite postgraduation study (%): Postdoc fellowship or research associateship 98.3, Other or unknown 1.7
Definite employment (%): Academe 16.4, Government 5.0, Industry or business 74.6, Nonprofit organization 2.5, Other or unknown 1.4
Primary activity (%): R&D 70.3, Teaching 13.3, Management or administration 4.1, Professional services 11.9, Other 0.4

Median starting salaries for those employed (does not count postdoctoral appointments) (tab 49): 

Total: $92,000
Academe: $52,000
Industry or business: $100,000
Government: $76,000
Nonprofit organization: $55,000
Other or unknown: $70,000

Last year's data, in case you're interested. I'd say there were no basic changes to the data - salaries were down a touch and also the number of graduates were down slightly, but that's about it. 

Friday, November 12, 2021

Have a great weekend

Traveling back from Italy this week. Hope you had a good week - I certainly had a lot of good meals. Hope you have a great weekend, and see you on Monday. 

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Job posting: Scientific Associate (PhD, 0-3 years experience), University Health Network, Toronto, Canada

From the inbox: 
We are currently looking for PhD Chemists to join the Centre for Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Discovery, a multi-disciplinary team tasked with translating new biological discoveries into druggable targets. Responsibilities of the Scientific Associate include:
  • developing strategies to design, synthesize, and test small molecule probes for target validation and proof of concept studies
  • conducting outreach with collaborators
  • evaluating new research programs and writing grants
Successful candidates will have:
  • a PhD in synthetic organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, or a related field
  • strong knowledge of concepts in biochemistry, pharmacology and drug discovery
  • excellent verbal and written communication skills
 
Best wishes to those interested.

Global organic chemistry job market link

Via organic-chemistry.org, a link to the job market section. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Charles Lieber to go on trial in December

Via the Harvard Crimson (emphasis mine): 
Former Harvard Chemistry chair Charles M. Lieber will head to trial this December to fight six felony charges brought against him by federal prosecutors.

Federal authorities arrested Lieber in January 2020 on charges that he made false statements to officials investigating his funding sources. According to the government, Lieber lied to the Defense Department and the National Institutes of Health about alleged ties to China’s Thousand Talents Plan, a talent recruitment program.

In June 2020, a federal grand jury indicted Lieber on two counts of making false statements. Later that summer, he was additionally indicted on four related tax offenses for allegedly failing to report income he received from Wuhan University of Technology.

Last month, Lieber filed a motion to suppress statements he made during a January 2020 interrogation at Harvard University Police Department headquarters following his arrest. Lieber alleged that federal agents “ignored the invocation of his right to an attorney by proceeding with the questioning after he requested an attorney.”

U.S. District Judge Rya W. Zobel, however, sided with the government, ruling that Lieber saying “I guess I think probably I should have ah, an attorney” was not “sufficiently unambiguous to constitute an invocation of his right to counsel.”

Lieber has maintained his innocence throughout the proceedings. He has received backing from several prominent academics, as well. In March, 41 professors at American universities — including seven Nobel laureates — penned a letter arguing against the federal government’s prosecution of Lieber.

Alongside the charges against him, Lieber has also been battling an advanced form of lymphoma, and his attorneys have pushed for an expedient trial for the opportunity to clear his name. In an Oct. 12 update to the court, Torrey K. Young, one of Lieber’s attorneys, wrote that “Professor Lieber’s health continues to be a paramount concern.”

“There are two possible treatments that Professor Lieber can consider once the current treatment fails to adequately slow cancer progression or the side effects become too severe, which he fears will be sooner rather than later,” Young wrote. “Both treatments require extensive hospitalization (i.e., about a month) with isolation given infection risks. Both treatments also have higher treatment associated morbidity (death) than anything he has already tried."

The final pretrial conference in the case is scheduled for Dec. 8, with a jury trial beginning Dec. 14.

I'm surprised that it's gotten this far, but it seems pretty clear that the Lieber strategy is to fight this one all the way (i.e. the government's settlement terms must have been unpalatable.) 

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 429 research/teaching positions and 34 teaching positions

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 429 research/teaching positions and 34 teaching positions. 

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

On November 10, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 165 research/teaching position and 14 teaching positions. On November 12, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 463 research/teaching positions and 29 teaching positions.

To see trending, go to Andrew Spaeth's visualization of previous years' list.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Go to the first open thread. This is the new open thread. The first open thread was closed on November 10, 2021.

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread.

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 64 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 64 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson).

Want to talk? Go to this year's open thread. 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 42 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 42 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady and @nmr_chemist. It targets:

  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Former Henderson State chemistry professor pleads guilty on Friday

Via the Arkansas Nonprofit News Network (article by Debra Hale-Shelton): 
...On the night of Oct. 7, 2019, a chemical spill occurred in Room 304 at Henderson State University’s Reynolds Science Center. The next day, a strong odor filled the building, forcing the school to evacuate the building and cancel classes. Weeks later, Terry David Bateman, 47, and Bradley Rowland, 42, were arrested and charged with manufacturing meth and other drug-related offenses.

But since then, the tale hasn’t followed a clear script. Last week, almost two years after his arrest, Bateman was acquitted of all charges by a Clark County Circuit Court jury, despite incriminating testimony from Rowland.

Then, on Friday, Rowland pleaded guilty in the same Arkadelphia courtroom to three felonies — manufacturing meth, drug paraphernalia use, and manufacture of a controlled substance, phenylacetone. Also known as P2P or phenyl-2-propanone, the substance is the penultimate chemical step in a common technique used to manufacture meth.

As part of a plea agreement, Rowland was sentenced to 120 days in the county jail and six years of supervised probation. 

The interplay between former professors Bateman and Rowland is yet unknown; I genuinely don't understand how you could have a safe in your office that you didn't know the contents of, but stranger things have happened. 

Housing is really expensive for graduate students

In this week's Chemical and Engineering News, an important conversation on chemistry graduate student finances (article by Wynne Parry): 
Housing, in particular, can strangle students’ finances. The high cost of living near the University of California, Santa Cruz, drove graduate students at this institution to strike in December 2019. They demanded a $1,412 per month raise, an increase they calculated would allow students to spend less than 30% of their pretax income on rent, the proportion recommended by financial experts.

On July 1 of this year, Connor Brandenburg, an organic chemistry student at UC San Diego, got a raise that brought his finances nearly in line with this rule. After his department increased students’ stipends from $31,000 to $34,000 per year, his rent—$897 a month for a studio in university-run housing—accounted for about 32% of his pretax income.

But, within a year and a half, this share may grow substantially. In April 2023, he will have exhausted the 2 years of on-campus housing the university allotted him as a graduate student. Off-campus rents for a comparable studio can run up to $1,700, Brandenburg says, so he’s planning to downgrade.

“I’m 24. I don’t necessarily want to share a room with someone anymore, [but] financially, that may be my only option,” he says.

There are aspects of short-term pain/long-term gain for graduate school, but it seems more than a bit cruel for this to extend to penury in the form of immediate housing costs. Establishing some kind of reasonable ratio for student stipends to rent should be a goal for departments - of course, that's easier said than done. 

Friday, November 5, 2021

Have a good weekend


Well, here we are again. Hope you had a good week, and hope you have a peaceful weekend. See you on Monday. 

 

Supply chain woes mount

From this week's C&EN, this news (article by Alex Tullo): 
Two of the world’s biggest chemical companies, BASF and Dow, posted strong results for the third quarter as the world’s economy continues to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. But both firms, among the first chemical makers to report earnings for the period, say inflation and supply chain disruptions are starting to weigh on the industry.

BASF reported a 42% increase in sales and a massive 160% increase in earnings in the third quarter from the same period a year ago, when governments around the world were imposing lockdowns to stem the spread of COVID-19. Increased sales volumes were responsible for 6% of the sales rise and increased prices another 36%.

However, earnings at BASF, the world’s largest chemical company, declined 23% from the second quarter. “Our downstream businesses are still confronted with further rising raw material, energy, and freight costs,” BASF Chairman Martin Bruderm├╝ller told analysts. “Price increases in most downstream businesses could only partially offset these higher costs.”

Interesting how the increased prices account for most of the additional revenues. 

Freelance opportunity: ChemTalk

From the inbox: 
ChemTalk is hiring freelance writers for their website. Candidates should have at least a bachelors degree in chemistry or a closely related field, or be close to finishing their degree. The work is remote and can be done anywhere in the world. Potential topics include high school chemistry & college chemistry topics, organic chemistry, and laboratory equipment / techniques.

Contact

Email a resume to jobs@chemistrytalk.org

About ChemTalk

ChemTalk is a 501(c)(3) public charity nonprofit, focusing on chemistry education, outreach and inspiration through its website, social media channels, and the upcoming ChemTalk LiveLab. More information can be found at https://chemistrytalk.org

Best wishes to those interested.  

Thursday, November 4, 2021

49 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Common Organic Chemistry is resolving some technical difficulties, but has ported over the list to Google Drive for now. There are 25 new positions for November 3, and 24 positions for October 30. 

Don't forget to check out the Common Organic Chemistry company map, a very helpful resource for organic chemists looking for potential employers. 

Global organic chemistry job market link

Via organic-chemistry.org, a link to the job market section.