Monday, November 30, 2015

Aldrich = Amazon?

Also in this week's C&EN, Marc Reisch writes about Sigma-Aldrich's completed purchase by Merck KGAa with this interesting little paragraph: 
Among the Sigma services that Merck coveted was a Web-based laboratory supply store that, according to Batra, is not unlike the consumer goods operation run by the Web retailer Amazon. 
A scientist who arrives on Sigma’s website looking for an obscure intermediate will also be offered related intermediates and access to relevant research papers, Batra says. Before long, that scientist might have three or four items in the checkout cart, making for a more substantial order for Sigma. Twenty-four-hour delivery service allows the scientist to advance her research project more rapidly, he explains.
So the CEO of Millipore thinks that people go to Sigma and click on their suggested links, while they're ordering some Trifluoromethylator (the Burninator!). So maybe he knows his site much better than I do, but let me assure you this - the number of times I've been convinced to buy something on Aldrich's site while shopping for something else is on the order of zero.

Readers, your experiences? Maybe I'm weird. 

This week's C&EN

A few of the articles in this week's issue of C&EN:

Friday, November 27, 2015

Late Night with Chemjobber, Friday, November 27, 11 PM Eastern

Final plug for Late Night with Chemjobber; it'll be two hours* of guests and call-in fun, starting at 11 PM Eastern on Friday night, November 27.

Booked guests: @pinkyprincess (11 PM slot), @seearroh and @drrubidium (11:30 PM slot), Alex Goldberg (11:45 PM), St. Andrews' Lynx (12:00 AM) and Chad Jones (12:15 AM). 

Click here to hear the show at 11 PM Eastern today, and if you'd like to call in, lines open at 11:10 pm or so. The number to call in is (267) 521-0195.

Be aware that technical difficulties may happen, so apologies in advance if they happen.

UPDATE: The show has been extended.

*If we have lots of callers, I'll try to figure out how to extend the show. New software, not quite sure how to proceed. 

Little ornament hooks

Small, useful things (links):
As always, if you have a chemistry blog to promote, send me a link to a post! 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Refrigerator art, old refrigerator magnets
I am incredibly thankful for my family, my friends, my community (physical and online) and my job. I am looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving with my folks today.

I am also incredibly thankful for you, my readers and commenters. Thank you for your reading, your advice, your e-mails and your brilliant, insightful comments and critiques. I am truly blessed.

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

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Late Night with Chemjobber, Friday, November 27, 11 PM Eastern

Another plug for Late Night with Chemjobber; it'll be two hours* of guests and call-in fun, starting at 11 PM Eastern on Friday night, November 27.

Booked guests: @pinkyprincess (11 PM slot), @seearroh and @drrubidium (11:30 PM slot)

Final details will be posted by noon Eastern time on Friday.

*If I have a bunch of folks still interested in calling in at the end of the show, I'll start another show**, maybe.
**The Blog Talk Radio software only allows 2 hours at a time at my level of usage. 

"Lower your shields and surrender your ships."

"We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness
to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us."
Credit: Brent Saunders
Much like Derek, I don't have high hopes for scientists for the Pfizer-Allergan merger. I hope I'm wrong.

Readers, your best caption? 

Process Wednesday: gotta wait until the dryers are done

From Francis X. McConville's "The Pilot Plant Real Book" and its short section on dryers, a comment about dryer characteristics:
The properties of product from pilot drying equipment may be significantly different from that of product dried in laboratory vacuum tray dryers. This is particularly true of units that agitate the cake mechanically such as orbiting screw conical dryers. Particle attrition or agglomeration can result in major differences in particle size distribution, bulk density, compaction and flowability. These things in turn affect solubility, bioavailability, formulation, processing, packing and shipping. Therefore, it is not valid to base projected product properties on the results of tray-dried samples when different equipment will be used on scale-up. 
The behavior of a given product in different dryer types cannot be easily predicted. Bench or small pilot-sized test units are available for tumble or paddle dryers, but the dynamic similarity to large-scale equipment is poor. 
The best way to determine what the product will look like is by performing pilot studies in representative drying equipment. Sometimes the actual product characteristics will not be known until the first production batch comes out in the dryer. 
Just in case you thought you could predict the future in this sense, you cannot. Gosh, it is remarkable to me how much is not known in this business. 

Daily Pump Trap: 11/24/15 edition

A few of the positions posted on C&EN Jobs:

Seattle, WA: Seattle Genetics has a manufacturing scientist opening.

Tampa, FL: Moffitt Cancer Center has an opening for a M.S./Ph.D. medicinal chemist.

One more time: PharmAgra Labs, back again.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Job posting: associate professor, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA

Advanced Assistant Professor or Associate Professor, Applied Science 
The candidate is expected to establish and maintain an externally funded, world-class research program that inspires a highly motivated graduate student body as well as undergraduate students. Collaborations with existing departmental activities in the fields of photon-based/ultrafast characterization, carbon nanostructures, protein-based high-performance materials, electronic and magnetic materials, medical imaging, and surface and thin film characterization are expected. Other significant collaboration opportunities are available with the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, Eastern Virginia Medical School and NASA Langley Research Center. William & Mary also has a strong tradition of excellent teaching at the graduate and undergraduate levels, and the successful candidate will play an important role in the educational mission of the Department of Applied Science. 
The successful applicant will have full access to a state-of-the-art solid-state NMR facility, which currently has only one other user. The position comes with five years of support at the 100% level for a technician to maintain the NMR equipment who will report to the successful candidate. The NMR facility houses two Bruker wide bore superconducting magnets operating at field strengths of 17.6 T and 7.05 T, each controlled by Bruker AVANCE I high power consoles optimized for solid state experiments, along with several probes capable of temperature controlled (−100 °C to +100 °C) magic angle spinning experiments. Additional shared instrumentation include a PHI Trift-II ToF/SIMS, and a Hitachi S-4700 SEM, as well as a vast array of other characterization instruments. The startup for the position will be competitive.
Best wishes to those interested.  

Ivory Filter Flask: 11/24/15 edition

A few of the academically-related positions posted on C&EN Jobs:

Newark, NJ: New Jersey Institute of Technology wishes to hire two assistant professors (inorganic chemistry/biomaterials.)

Baldwin City, KS: Baker University wishes to hire a tenure-track assistant professor of chemistry; looks to be a physical chemistry position.

Edwardsville, IL: Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is seeking an assistant professor of analytical chemistry.

Saint Paul, MN: Hamline University desires to hire an assistant professor of organic chemistry.

Winnipeg, MB: The University of Manitoba is looking for a "Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Surface Chemistry." (what is that? ahhh.)

Edmonton, AB: The University of Alberta desires an assistant/associate professor of medicinal chemistry/drug discovery.

Flint, MI: The University of Michigan - Flint is searching for an assistant professor of organic chemistry.

Farmville, VA: Hampton-Sydney College wishes to hire a visiting assistant professor of bioorganic chemistry. 

Got a minute (or 120?) on Friday night? Time for Chemjobber Late Night

Friends, I have long had the dream of doing a late night talk radio show, and here's my chance.

On Friday night at 11 PM Eastern, I'll be going live with Blog Talk Radio. Come here on Friday morning, and I'll have the details laid out. 

You'll be able to click on a link and listen live, you'll be able to call in and yell at me about my lack of Monday posts and generally have a good time. I hope you'll join me. I'm hoping to have guests lined up for each half-hour slot.

Wanna be a special guest? E-mail me at

The link and number will be posted on Friday by noon Eastern time. Talk to you then. 

This week's C&EN

A very late post on this week's issue of C&EN:

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Weekend longreads: red mercury

An incredibly interesting long article in The New York Times Magazine by C.J. Chivers about a legendary, mythological material called "red mercury", which I had never heard of. Here's a demonstration of the stuff: 
...Two years before in Ras al-Ain, another Syrian border town, Abu Omar said, he was with a group of Islamic fighters that organized a test with 3.5 grams of liquid red mercury and a container of chlorine. The experiment was led by Abu Suleiman al-Kurdi, who commanded a small fighting group that has since joined the Islamic State. Al-Kurdi gathered the jihadists around his materials as the test began. ‘‘I will count to 10, and whoever stays in the room after that suffocates and dies,’’ he warned. 
The chlorine was held in a foil-lined container, Abu Omar said. As the group watched, al-Kurdi dipped a needle into the red mercury and then touched the needle to the chlorine, transferring a drop. ‘‘Everything interacted with everything,’’ Abu Omar said, and a foul vapor rose. All of the fighters were driven away, first from the room, then from the house. 
The powers of red mercury, Abu Omar said, were real. 
Almost every aspect of this story, like so many other breathless accounts of red mercury, was unverifiable. And even if something did happen in that room, the noxious vapors could have a simple explanation: Chlorine alone damages the respiratory tract and can be deadly if inhaled. 
But Abu Omar had answered the question. He stood firmly in the red-mercury camp. He was hardly alone...
Gonna hafta start blaming deviations in the plant on unknown red mercury leaks. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Weekend Ask CJ: ADD/#chemjobs in Philly

From the inbox, a request from someone who: 
  • has a B.S. in chemistry, 
  • and has anxiety/ADD issues,
  • does not want to work in the lab
Two questions: 
  • Does anyone have any experience working in the lab with ADD? 
  • Does anyone have a good position outside of the lab for people with ADD?
Seems to me that a sales position might work? I dunno. 

Also, anyone have suggestions for someone who is a synthetic chemist in the Philadelphia area?