Friday, January 27, 2023

Have a good weekend

A busy week, but a good one. Here's hoping that you had a good week, and that you have a good weekend. We'll see you on Monday. 

C&EN: Dow 2022 earnings down 32%, cutting 2000 workers

Via C&EN's Alexander H. Tullo: 
Dow is launching a workforce reduction—2,000 workers, over 5% of its total workforce—as the company continues to grapple with economic turbulence, primarily in Europe.

Dow is the first major chemical company out of the gate with full-year 2022 financial results. Dow managed a 3.5% sales increase, but earnings declined by a sharp 32.5%.

On a Jan. 26 call with analysts, Dow CEO Jim Fitterling said the year began well, with strong demand across the company’s businesses. The picture changed in the second half. “Economic conditions deteriorated, driven by record inflation, rising interest rates, ongoing pandemic lockdowns in China, and continued geopolitical tensions,” he said.

Europe, where Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has driven up energy prices and caused many chemical producers to shut plants, was responsible for 60% of Dow’s earnings decline.

The layoffs are part of a Dow program, originally unveiled when Dow released third-quarter earnings in October, to save $1 billion in 2023. Half the savings will come from structural improvements, including the job cuts. Dow will also shut plants, particularly in Europe. It says it will announce the locations set for closure later this quarter. The company says that for now the program will focus on smaller facilities.

That's a pretty frightful decline in earnings! Best wishes to those affected, and best wishes to all of us.  

Thursday, January 26, 2023

21 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

At Common Organic Chemistry, curated by Brian Struss, there are 34 new positions for January 21The jobs can be viewed on the website or spreadsheet.

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

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

C&EN: Carus fire impacts US permanganate supply

C&EN's Rick Mullin on the fire that shut down the Carus plant in Illinois: 

A fire at a Carus plant in LaSalle, Illinois, has temporarily shut down the only US producer of potassium permanganate and sodium permanganate and is raising concern about availability of the important water treatment chemicals.

The Jan. 11 fire destroyed a warehouse and caused extensive damage at the facility, Carus says. The firm declared force majeure on Jan. 18, saying it will be at least 90 days before it can fulfill orders for permanganate chemicals.

The company supplies about 80% of the US market for the chemicals, which are used in municipal water treatment to oxidize dissolved iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide into solids that can be filtered out. The bulk of imported potassium permanganate and sodium permanganate comes from India. China is the world’s largest producer of the chemicals, but companies there are hobbled by a US antidumping tariff on potassium permanganate.

A salesperson's dream for those who have permanganate in stock: 

“I’m getting an insane amount of calls for an insane amount of volume,” says one distributor who supplies imported permanganate, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of his company’s policy. “I’m getting unsolicited orders for six to eight months.” He and others anticipate an outage of considerably longer than 90 days.

Can't imagine the pressure that's on Carus to rebuild and start production again. Will be interesting to see if there are any manufacturers in Canada or Mexico who will try to pick up the slack...

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

The 2023 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 583 research/teaching positions and 63 teaching positions

The 2023 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 583 research/teaching positions and 63 teaching positions. 

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

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

On January 25, 2022, the 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 540 research/teaching positions and 80 teaching faculty positions. On January 26, 2021, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 259 research/teaching positions and 31 teaching faculty positions. 

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Here's a link to the current (third) thread. 


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

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 148 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 148 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson) and Andrew S. Rosen (@Andrew_S_Rosen).

Go to the open thread for this year's search.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Reactions to C&EN's reorganization

Also in this week's C&EN, letters to the editor: 
I have always been impressed by the excellent journalism by C&EN. The scope of the magazine as well as the skill caused a number of friends who are not chemists to become American Chemical Society members solely for a C&EN subscription.

So the current staff trouble at the flagship magazine is deeply concerning, and I hope something will be rapidly remedied. If not, C&EN has no hope of replacing the likes of Newsweek, Bloomberg Businessweek, or the Financial Times for the nonchemist.

James Morris
Foster City, California

I have been an ACS member for decades. By far the most valuable benefit of membership to me is C&EN, which I read regularly, along with Science and Nature. I have been consistently impressed with the quality and independence of the reporting, even when it runs counter to the financial interests of CAS (a division of ACS).

I recently renewed my ACS membership for 2023, but if the changes in editorial control at C&EN degrade this treasured institution, I don’t think I will do so for 2024.

Daniel Erlanson
San Francisco

I am an ACS member. I was concerned by the Dec. 12/19 editorial (page 4). The environmental policy news is the most valuable thing in C&EN, with second place going to the industry and technology trend articles. Frankly, the news about society business, programs, and activities is of low interest to me most of the time.

Chris Lutes
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

 I couldn't agree more. 

Ting Guo fired by UC regents

In this week's C&EN, this news (article by Andrea Widener): 
Ting Guo, a chemistry professor at the University of California, Davis, was fired by the UC Board of Regents Jan. 19 after an investigation into whether he raped a high school student he was mentoring in 2010.

UC Davis released a statement Jan. 12 confirming the investigation. Guo had been on paid leave since January 2021.

Guo was named in a 2020 civil lawsuit by the student, listed as Jane Doe. The suit says that in 2010, the student, who lived in Davis, met Guo after her Advanced Placement chemistry teacher asked the class to shadow a chemist.

 

Friday, January 20, 2023

Have a good weekend!


It's been a productive week here, and I am looking forward to the weekend. I hope you had a good week, and I hope you have a great weekend as well! (新年快樂 to those who celebrate, by the way!) See you on Monday. 

 

Thursday, January 19, 2023

39 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

At Common Organic Chemistry, curated by Brian Struss, there are 9 new positions for January 14 and 30 positions posted on December 24. The jobs can be viewed on the website or spreadsheet.

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

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Warning Letter of the Week: vermin edition

In a letter to the general manager of Optum Infusion Services, this observation: 

The FDA investigator noted that drug products intended or expected to be sterile were prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions, whereby they may have become contaminated with filth or rendered injurious to health, causing your drug products to be adulterated under section 501(a)(2)(A) of the FDCA. For example, the investigator observed that:

1. You did not perform adequate product evaluation and take appropriate corrective action after vermin was observed in your production area. Vermin are a source of microbial contamination. Therefore, your products intended to be sterile were produced in an environment that may not provide adequate protection against the risk of contamination.

Seems bad for a compounding pharmacy!  

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

RUMINT: Hearing rumors of a Pfizer reorganization?

There have been the initial rumblings of a Pfizer reorganization, in terms of comments about Pfizer's decision to "externalize" some of its rare disease research and some vague comments from Pfizer's CEO about the importance of the organization's next 18 months. 

A reliable source indicates that some layoffs have begun at one site on the research side, and possibly more on the way. 

This is sad news. Unfortunately, a reality of Pfizer is that there has long been a pattern of regular reorganizations and waves of layoffs, and it's ~2019-2022 that has been the abnormal time. If true, I suppose the leadership is reverting to the mean. 

Best wishes to those impacted, best wishes to the larger Pfizer organization as a whole, and to all of us.


The 2023 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 570 research/teaching positions and 60 teaching positions

 The 2023 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 570 research/teaching positions and 60 teaching positions. 

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

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

On January 18, 2022, the 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 534 research/teaching positions and 79 teaching faculty positions. On January 19, 2021, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 252 research/teaching positions and 31 teaching faculty positions. 

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Here's a link to the current (third) thread. 


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

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 146 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 146 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson) and Andrew S. Rosen (@Andrew_S_Rosen).

Go to the open thread for this year's search.

Monday, January 16, 2023

C&EN: "UC Davis chemistry professor under investigation for alleged sexual assault of a high school student"

Via C&EN's Andrea Widener: 

Ting Guo, a chemistry professor at the University of California, Davis, is under investigation for allegedly raping a high school student he was mentoring in 2010. UC Davis released a statement Jan. 12 confirming the investigation. Guo has been on paid leave since January 2021.

The firing of a UC Davis faculty member is on the agenda for the UC Board of Regents meeting on Thursday, Jan. 19, but the person’s name is not listed.

Guo was named in a 2020 civil lawsuit by the student, listed as Jane Doe. The suit says that in 2010, the student, who lived in Davis, met Guo after her Advanced Placement chemistry teacher asked the class to shadow a chemist. Guo continued to mentor the student after that initial meeting.

Several months later, the student took gifts to Guo at his Davis home, where he raped her, according to the lawsuit. Guo raped the student two more times in separate incidents, also at his home. In one case he offered to give her $60, the suit says.

Full article here. What grim news. 

Chemical plant explosion in Liaoning province in China

Via Chinese government website China Daily: 
A chemical plant in Panjin, Northeast China's Liaoning province exploded on Sunday afternoon, according to Panshan county government.

So far, two people were killed, 12 were missing, four were seriously injured and 30 had minor injuries in the explosion. The injured were hospitalized.

The accident occurred in the maintenance process of the facility applied in alkylation reaction of Panjin Haoye Chemical Co Ltd, around 1:25 pm.

Local authorities carried out emergency response and rescue work, the statement from the county's publicity department said. The wounded are being treated and the cause of the accident is under investigation.

If it's an alkylation reaction, I presume that's a refinery (especially if it happened during maintenance.) I suppose we'll find out what happened...  

 

Friday, January 13, 2023

Have a good weekend

Well, this has been a pretty good week (other than that whole range hood thing). I hope that you had a good week, and a great weekend. See you on Monday! 

Permanganate plant catches fire in LaSalle, IL

Via CBS Chicago: 

LASALLE, Ill. (CBS) -- It took five hours to bring a fire under control at a chemical plant in the small city of LaSalle on Wednesday afternoon.

The fire was still smoldering for several more hours after that in the city of less than 10,000...

...The fire sent plumes of thick, colorful smoke billowing into the air as if a volcano were erupting. Residents were told to stay in their homes for safety.

The fire started around 9 a.m. at Carus LLC in LaSalle, about 80 miles southwest of Chicago. In a statement, company officials said the fire started in the plant's shipping area.

LaSalle Fire Chief Jerry Janick said there was heavy fire at the plant when the first crews arrived on the scene, and additional crews were brought in from surrounding suburbs.

...Gibbs said potassium permanganate is typically a fine powder, but will turn into purple liquid if it is exposed to water. It may look slightly pink or green when it is comes into contact with water.

The potassium permanganate turned cars brown with its stains. Much as Gibbs described it, the chemical also made nearby waterways look like they were full of grape soda.

LaSalle Police also said an oxidizer has been released in the area as a result of the fire, and people should not touch the green substance seen on cars and patios.  

It's never good when there is a chemical plant explosion, but a highly colored/staining chemical like permanganate cannot be easy to explain to the neighbors...

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Job posting: analytical scientist, Lifecore Biomedical, Chaska, MN

From the inbox, this position: 

This full time position offers incredible benefits, your choice of a 4 ½ or 5 day work week, and a company culture focused on development and growth which include promotion opportunities.

  • In this technical role you will be responsible for the development of robust analytical methods to support the characterization and release of manufactured goods for all stages of clinical development through commercialization. You will lead department projects, participate in core team meetings and interface with clients. You will be relied upon to use statistical based and data driven decisions to troubleshoot or improve analytical method related issues. You'll have responsibility to:
  • Develop robust chemical and physical analytical methods based on QbD, ICH and USP/EP requirements for analysis of medical device and pharmaceutical products
  • Perform method transfer of analytical methods (from compendial and client sources) into Lifecore
  • Serve as a technical resource for process development, quality control and manufacturing
  • Provide effective training for QC analysts on new methods and technology
  • Perform critical analysis of data using statistical calculations, interpreting results, and draw scientific conclusions
  • Present data at group meetings and other broader audiences within or outside the company
  • Perform routine and non-routine sample analysis
  • Compose well written development reports and assist in the writing of regulatory submissions
  • Support development and manufacturing investigations to identify or troubleshoot method related issues related to manufacturing and development activities
  • Help analyze new products or projects, as appropriate
  • Identify new analytical technologies that supports current or new business opportunities
  • Mentor, train and develop new colleagues to become effective method development scientists

This position could be a great fit for you have a solid understanding of and experience with analytical method development along with the following:

  • BS/BA in chemistry, biochemistry, chemical engineering, or related science
  • 8+ years of applicable industrial experience
  • Pharmaceutical method development, qualification, and validation experience
  • Experimental design and critical analysis of data (statistical software experience)
  • FDA regulated industry experience
  • Desire to work in a fast-paced work environment
Full ad here (search for "analytical scientist"). Best wishes to those interested. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

RIP Adolfo Kaminsky

Via the New York Times, this remarkable story of a World War II forger: 

Adolfo Kaminsky’s talent was as banal as could be: He knew how to remove supposedly indelible blue ink from paper. But it was a skill that helped save the lives of thousands of Jews in France during World War II...

At one point, Mr. Kaminsky was asked to produce 900 birth and baptismal certificates and ration cards for 300 Jewish children in institutional homes who were about to be rounded up. The aim was to deceive the Germans until the children could be smuggled out to rural families or convents, or to Switzerland and Spain. He was given three days to finish the assignment.

He toiled for two straight days, forcing himself to stay awake by telling himself: “In one hour I can make 30 blank documents. If I sleep for an hour 30 people will die.”

Mr. Kaminsky died on Monday at his home in Paris, his daughter Sarah Kaminsky said. He was 97.

...Needing work to help his family, Adolfo answered an ad for an apprentice dyer in a business that converted military uniforms and greatcoats to civilian wear. The owner, a chemical engineer, taught him the secrets of altering and removing colors. Adolfo became an expert at effacing the most stubborn stains.

He became so interested in chemistry that he took a side job as an assistant for a chemist at a dairy that churned butter. To gauge the fat content of the cream brought by farmers, the dairy would insert methylene blue in a sample and waited for its lactic acid to dissolve the color. That was how Adolfo learned that lactic acid was the best eraser of Waterman blue ink, the kind used on ID cards.

We live in a world of chemicals and chemistry. We are so often reminded of the bad that chemistry can do - it's good to get a reminder of the power of chemistry to save lives. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

The 2023 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 568 research/teaching positions and 58 teaching positions

The 2023 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 568 research/teaching positions and 58 teaching positions. 

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

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

On January 11, 2022, the 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 531 research/teaching positions and 72 teaching faculty positions. On January 12, 2021, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 248 research/teaching positions and 29 teaching faculty positions. 

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Here's a link to the current (third) thread. 


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

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 146 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 146 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson) and Andrew S. Rosen (@Andrew_S_Rosen).

Go to the open thread for this year's search.