Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

As always, 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 tomorrow.

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. 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! 

Weird job posting for Ottawa, ON: someone who knows stoichiometry

Lead Chemist  
Vapor Candy, LLC - Ottawa, ON 
We are in the Electronic Cigarette Industry specializing in high quality nicotine based products, and are looking for a Canadian based chemist to help us set up operations in Ottawa. We are looking for someone who can help us with the logistics side of lab operations in Ottawa, as we are a new corporation in Canada. We have been very successful in the USA and are trying to expand the business. 
This position is for part time, with a great possibility of becoming a full time position. The position requires the candidate to have the ability to mix, handle and store the chemical nicotine, safely. The process entails mixing 99% pure nicotine with Propylene Glycol and or Vegetable Glycerin, to dilute the nicotine into specific amounts that are safe for consumption via an electronic cigarette device. 
We are looking for a chemist who understand the following: 
When determining how much Nicotine Liquid to use, we'll start by finding the concentration of the Nicotine Liquid. We will use the mg/mL on the label to find the volume of Nic Liquid to add to the 250 mL erlenmeyer flask. This volume will correspond to the amount of nicotine that will be exactly neutralized by 25 mL of the 0.1N HCl solution. 25 mL of 0.1N HCl will neutralize exactly 0.0025 moles of a mono-hydroxy base (or of an organic base acting as a mono-hydroxy base). The molecular weight of nicotine is 162.26, so 0.0025 moles of nicotine is: 162.26 grams * 0.0025 = 0.4056 g. We call it the 406 Method. 
4ml of Nic Liquid 100mg (VG or PG)
46ml distilled water
30 drops PH Tester (Bromothymol Blue Aquous)
Acid HCI 0,1N 
Pay is negotiable.
But they've given away the secret formula!

(From my uneducated perspective, it seems the entire "vaping" industry is unregulated and could pose unexpected danger to those hired by new entrants to the market. As always, caveat emptor (and caveat artifex!))

Warning Letter of the Week: Hey, this cheese isn't smoked!

I'm not aware of the extent of FDA's statutory powers, so I was amused to read this warning letter about smoked cheese:
Misbranded Food
1.    Your Smoked Horseradish Pasteurized Process Cheese Food, Smoked Habanero Pepper Pasteurized Process American Cheese with Habanero Peppers, and Smoked Cheddar Pasteurized Process Cheddar Cheese Food products are misbranded within the meaning of 403(a)(1) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 343(a)(1)] in that the product labels are false and misleading. For example, your Smoked Horseradish Pasteurized Process Cheese Food, Smoked Habanero Pepper Pasteurized Process American Cheese with Habanero Peppers, and Smoked Cheddar Pasteurized Process Cheddar Cheese Food product labels declare “smoked” as a part of the statement of identity; however, according to the establishment inspection report the products do not go through a smoking process but rather have liquid smoke applied to the surface of the cheese. The products should not include the term “smoked” in the statement of identity but “with added smoke flavor,” “smoke flavored,” or with “natural smoke flavor” would be permissible.

2.    Your Smoked Horseradish Pasteurized Process Cheese Food product is misbranded within the meaning of 403(i)(1) of the Act [21 U.S.C. §343(i)(1)] because the labels fail to declare the common or usual name of the food. Specifically, “Horseradish Pasteurized Process Cheese Food” is not an appropriate common or usual name for a product that does not contain any horseradish, but rather horseradish flavor [21 CFR 101.3(b)].  
You know, if I were to find that Horseradish Pasteurized Process Cheese Food didn't have any horseradish, I might be disappointed.  

Process Wednesday: (not so?) stinky burn at 200 gallon scale

Graphic adapted from Pesti and Anzalone [1]
I happened upon a copy of "Asymmetric Catalysis on Industrial Scale" and rather enjoyed this passage
in a chapter by Pesti and Anzalone [1]:
Our first pilot plant run was designed to prepare 45 kg of thioester. As safety was particularly important with the use of mercaptans, our two reaction vessels (200- and 300-gallon glass-lined reactors) would be vented through a scrubber containing bleach and sodium hydroxide solution to control emissions. Another unexpected consideration was the late-stage replacement of n-butyllithium for n-hexyllithium. n-Hexyllithium is preferred since the conjugate acid, hexane, is safer to handle as compared with the volatile butane, but this had become necessary due to a shortage of hexyllithium. At this scale, we could not vent outside the quantity of butane we would form from the use of n-butyllithium, but instead it was directed to our thermal oxidizer to be burned. The rate of natural gas uptake to the burners would also provide a handy means of measuring the butane produced and in turn the endpoint of the reaction.  
The preparation of the silylated mercaptan went smoothly; 24.5 kg of 1-propanethiol was reacted with 2.5M n-butyllithium followed by chlorotrimethylsilane in THF/heptane as in our established procedure. As we had calculated, a 6 hour sparge of nitrogen through this 30°C solution eliminated all the butane. This solution was transferred via a cartridge filter to the larger vessel that already contained 50.0 kg of [isobutyl ester] in THF.  
Addition of the aluminum chloride at this point required careful planning. It is a reactive solid and we wanted to minimize operator exposure. Our engineering designed a solids-charging adapter for safe delivery in portions without exposing the reaction or the operators. 
I thought the idea of using the thermal oxidizer burn rate as a measurement of the reaction progress was pretty interesting. I've never had experience with a thermal oxidizer unit before (I presume that one of those comes with boatloads of paperwork.) Also, the shift to nBuLi because of a shortage of hexyllithium is a fun, real part of the story -- logistics issues always pop up and it's neat to see that they were able to adapt.

Sure wish there was an explanation of how they adapted to the challenge of adding a reactive, hygroscopic solid to a reactor. I know that there are "glovebox" mountings to add reactive solids to reactors, but I'd be curious to know what is done at larger scale...

1. Pesti, J.A.; Anzalone, L. "Multi-Kilo Resolution of XU305, a Key Intermediate to the Platelet Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa Receptor Antagonist Roxifiban via Kinetic and Dynamic Enzymatic Resolution." Asymmetric Catalysis on Industrial Scale: Challenges, Approaches and Solutions. 2004, Copyright © 2004 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Angela Merkel, scientist

I found this New Yorker article (written by George Packer) about Angela Merkel very interesting. I don't really know enough about German politics to really deeply understand her, or her role (and I really don't understand how she can be seemingly blamed for the European economy, but I don't understand the relationship between the German government and the European Central Bank.) But this section about her life as a chemist/physicist was interesting:
In 1977, at twenty-three, Angela married a physicist, Ulrich Merkel, but the union foundered quickly, and she left him in 1981. She spent the final moribund decade of the G.D.R. as a quantum chemist at the East German Academy of Sciences, a gloomy research facility, across from a Stasi barracks, in southeastern Berlin. She co-authored a paper titled “Vibrational Properties of Surface Hydroxyls: Nonempirical Model Calculations Including Anharmonicities.” She was the only woman in the theoretical-chemistry section—a keen observer of others, intensely curious about the world. 
People who have followed her career point to Merkel’s scientific habit of mind as a key to her political success. “She is about the best analyst of any given situation that I could imagine,” a senior official in her government said. “She looks at various vectors, extrapolates, and says, ‘This is where I think it’s going.’ ” Trained to see the invisible world in terms of particles and waves, Merkel learned to approach problems methodically, drawing comparisons, running scenarios, weighing risks, anticipating reactions, and then, even after making a decision, letting it sit for a while before acting. She once told a story from her childhood of standing on a diving board for the full hour of a swimming lesson until, at the bell, she finally jumped. 
Scientific detachment and caution under dictatorship can be complementary traits, and in Merkel’s case they were joined by the reticence, tinged with irony, of a woman navigating a man’s world. She once joked to the tabloid Bild Zeitung, with double-edged self-deprecation, “The men in the laboratory always had their hands on all the buttons at the same time. I couldn’t keep up with this, because I was thinking. And then things suddenly went ‘poof,’ and the equipment was destroyed.” Throughout her career, Merkel has made a virtue of biding her time and keeping her mouth shut. 
“She’s not a woman of strong emotions,” Bernd Ulrich, the deputy editor of Die Zeit, said. “Too much emotion disturbs your reason. She watches politics like a scientist.” He called her “a learning machine.” Volker Schlöndorff, the director of “The Tin Drum” and other films, got to know Merkel in the years just after reunification. “Before you contradict her, you would think twice—she has the authority of somebody who knows that she’s right,” he said. “Once she has an opinion, it seems to be founded, whereas I tend to have opinions that I have to revise frequently.”
I feel like I've met people like Dr. Merkel before -- this description reminds me of some of my professors. (That said, I cringe at the thought of some of my former professors being major politicians! (Not that I would do any better...))

An interesting development: Novartis fires employee for academic dishonesty

I'm sure folks saw this Retraction Watch posting
A former Vanderbilt University biomedical engineer committed fraud on a massive scale, according to a new Office of Research Integrity (ORI) report. 
Igor Dzhura is banned from receiving federal funding for three years, and is retracting six papers, which have been cited more than 500 times. Since leaving Vanderbilt, he has worked at SUNY Upstate Medical University, and now works at Novartis.
But this little tidbit is definitely worth noting:
Update 1:20 p.m. Eastern, 11/21/14: A Novartis representative reached out to inform us that they’ve fired Dzhura after discovering he included the faked papers on his application: 
"We have learned that Igor Dzhura included papers with fraudulent data in his application for employment at Novartis.  Falsifying data is not acceptable and we have terminated his employment with the company. We are conducting an internal review to ensure that there was not any scientific misconduct related to his research here."
Dr. Oransky says (at Pharmalot) that "[this] is the first case we’ve seen in which a drug company has immediately fired someone for such revelations." I'm guessing that this may set a precedent, or highlight contradictions where people have not been dismissed. That said, most folks don't get the full blast of an ORI report.

Readers, is Dr. Oransky correct in that this is the first case of a pharma company firing an employee for academic integrity issues? 

First status check for Prof. Patrick Harran was last Thursday

Via Michael Torrice of C&EN, the first status check of Prof. Harran's deferred prosecution agreement in the case of Sheharbano (Sheri) Sangji was last Thursday: 
Judge George G. Lomeli said in court that he had reviewed reports submitted by the DA’s office and determined that Harran is complying with all terms of the agreement. 
Lomeli set the next status check for May 21, 2015. 
In the June deal, Harran agreed to complete community service and pay a $10,000 fine. After five years, if Harran has complied with all terms of the agreement, the DA’s office will drop all charges. 
After the hearing, Deputy DA Craig W. Hum said that his office receives reports from Harran’s attorneys detailing what the chemist has done to comply with the agreement. Investigators for the DA’s office then verify the claims in the reports. 
The UCLA chemist has paid the $10,000 fine to the Grossman Burn Center. He also has developed and started teaching a chemistry course for South Central Scholars, a volunteer organization that helps prepare Los Angeles area high school students for college. In court, Thomas O’Brien, Harran’s attorney, said that the chemist had started his first several hours of nonteaching community service at the UCLA hospitals. Harran must complete 800 hours by the end of the five-year term of the agreement.
I'm appreciative that C&EN is staying on this case.  

Daily Pump Trap: 11/25/14 edition

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

Ridgefield, CT: Boehringer Ingelheim has multiple B.S. chemist openings; looks to be HTS work.

Union, NJ: BASF is looking for a B.S. analytical chemist to perform precious metal assays; I didn't know that BASF had "precious metal trading, refining and catalyst manufacture businesses," but I suppose that I should not be surprised. Sounds interesting; bet you'd have some good stories for cocktail parties.

Rahway, NJ: Merck looking for flow chemistry and biocatalysis chemists -- Ph.D., 0-10 years of experience desired.

North Chicago, IL: AbbVie has an opening for a Ph.D. analytical chemist for a position working on antibody-drug conjugates.

And another one: AbbVie looking for an experienced Ph.D. analytical chemist to "develop and lead analytical strategies in the area of clinical-phase Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) process development."

Ivory Filter Flask: 11/25/14 edition

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

Florence, SC: Francis Marion University is looking for a tenure-track assistant professor of chemistry; no subfield designated.

Burton, OH: Kent State University at Geauga desires an assistant professor of chemistry; no subfield designated.

Rockford, IL: Rockford University wishes to hire an assistant professor of organic chemistry.

Tempe, AZ: Arizona State is hiring for a M.S./Ph.D. general chemistry lecturer.

Tuscon, AZ: Pima Community College is looking for a M.S./Ph.D. chemistry instructor; 43k-63k offered. Looks like mostly general chemistry.

Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh has two openings for postdoctoral fellows in PET chemistry; no radiochemistry experience required. 40-45k offered.

Grinnell, IA: Grinnell College is looking for a B.S. chemist to be a chemistry technical assistant; looks to be mostly lab prep? 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Does anyone know what Cambrian Genomics' Austen Heinz is talking about?

I've covered Cambrian Genomics before. This is the Bay Area startup that claims to be "laser printing DNA." (Long story short: it's not actually "printing." Cambrian appears to be using lasers to sort DNA on microbeads.)

Cambrian's CEO, Austen Heinz, seems to have gotten himself in a little bit of trouble last week by claiming that his company's technology would enable (through making synthetic biology cheaper) sensitive body parts* to smell better. (Mr. Heinz has apparently dramatically recasted the original intent of another startup founder's idea.)

I'm really not interested in discussing that, since I don't think there's much value to be added from me/us to the discussion. However, I am very interested in figuring out if Austen Heinz's claims are true. Here's one from VentureBeat that I'd like to understand better: 
Cambrian’s technology is already being used for far less sensitive, and perhaps more useful, use cases. The company has been doing work printing DNA for the huge pharma company Glaxo Smith Kline. It’s also in talks to formalize a similar business relationship with Roche. 
Big pharma companies are asking Cambrian to print various types of DNA that can be used in the drug discovery and testing process. 
“We’re helping them make drugs,” Heinz said. For example, Cambrian’s DNA can be used for producing small molecules or for making new screens to find small molecules, Heinz said. “DNA can be used for every part of the process,” Heinz said. 
Heinz says that his company also intends to print DNA for customers in the industrial chemical and agricultural industries. He says producing seeds used by consumers is in itself a million-dollar industry.
So, first, I don't know what Mr. Heinz means by "Cambrian's DNA can be used for producing small molecules." Do they mean biologicals? (i.e. Cambrian is cloning genes that will make monoclonal antibodies?) I presume that "making new screens" is about using their technology to make protein for in vitro assays. 

I sure as hell don't know what Mr. Heinz is going to do with DNA for industrial chemical industries -- maybe this is a reference to biocatalysis? 

I also want to point out this interview with Planet Tech, where his predictions of what synthetic biology can do begins to wander into science fiction: 
...You recently described your vision of the future as "Anyone that has a mobile phone and bitcoin can create creatures." What exactly do you mean by this and how do you imagine it coming about?  
I mean that anyone with a phone can use genome design software for instance Benchling which runs on a web browser and order genes and DNA to make creatures that are useful to them.

Will people only be able to create new single-cell life or do you imaging the invention of entirely new larger organisms?

Yes i think new multicellular life forms built from a text file are possible but we need more progress in construction of large artificial chromosomes and the ability to print and sequence methylated dna at scale.

How do you plan to stop people from using your technology to create very dangerous microorganisms?

Virtualization. Instead of mailing out DNA we will send the DNA to a virtualization center like Transcriptic, Synthego, or Emerald Cloud Lab. From there they can put thousands of different DNA strands into thousands of cells then make thousands of video files of what those cells are doing and then do image process and machine learning on those videos and send that data back to the user to do the next design.

Not until the final organism is made will it be evaluated for release. This definitely lowers the bar for us for processing orders because as long as the screening is heavily locked down there is little risk of release of malicious code.
...Where do you see the future of the company in 5 and 10 years?

In the next 5 years we want to be the largest manufacturer of DNA in the world. In 10 years we hope to be closer to our longterm mission of replacing all natural organisms on the planet with better synthetic ones. For instance having made the DNA for say 10% of all plant on the planet surface sounds like a reasonable goal.
"Thousands of video files?" Does this even remotely make sense? Has there been some sort of advance in computer processing of microscopy files that I haven't heard about? (entirely possible) I know that he's predicting the future, speculating, "visioncasting", whatever. Count me highly, highly skeptical.

What I find really weird about the tech/venture journalism scene is how no one seems to be asking any scientists subject matter experts anyone if any of the stuff Austen Heinz says can happen is true or untrue:
  • Is it true that GSK has purchased DNA from Cambrian? 
  • Is it true that Cambrian is doing deals with Roche and ThermoFisher? (Somehow, I doubt it -- whose words are we relying on here? Mr. Heinz's, so far as I can tell.) 
  • He's obviously speculating about the future of synthetic biology -- how far off are his predictions from the median prediction of recognized experts in the field? 
Readers, what do you think?

UPDATE: Also, here are Cambrian Genomics' patent applications. 

*I'm not entirely a prude, just trying to write around corporate firewall software. 

This week's C&EN

A short week, still lots of interesting chemistry-related tidbits:

Friday, November 21, 2014

Daily Pump Trap: 11/20/14 edition

A few of the jobs posted on C&EN Jobs in the last week:

Princeton, NJ: This "senior research scientist" position at BMS is interesting, in that it seems aimed at a B.S./M.S. chemist that's spent 10-15 years at the bench. Anyone know what it is about?

Shanghai, China: This position with the USP is pretty interesting:
The person in this role will be responsible for the management, leadership and execution of the strategy for USP's operations in China including all laboratory activities supporting USP's monograph and reference standard needs, monograph modernization, and other allied compendial programs.  
250-325k. Wow. Ph.D., 10-15 years experience in pharmaceutical analytical chemistry, etc., needed.

Augusta, GA: KaMin is a kaolin clay manufacturer -- they're looking for a lab tech. They're offering $19.90 - 25.76, which is pretty good, I'm guessing. (Are they really going to pay that?)

East Syracuse, NY: This "product marketing chemist" for a GC instrumentation company is interesting; claiming 25-30% travel time. Considering your clients are in petrochemicals, I'm guessing it's more like 50% or higher.

A broader look: Monster, Careerbuilder, Indeed and USAjobs.gov show (respectively) 187, 1033, 2742 and 18 positions for the search term "chemist." LinkedIn shows 546 positions for the job title "chemist", with 27 for "research chemist", 78 for "analytical chemist", 2 for "medicinal chemist", 5 for "synthetic chemist" and 5 for "organic chemist." 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Can't leave on a depressing note quite yet

The author who got a paper accepted in a spam journal titled "Get me off your [expletive deleted] mailing list" should be given an award of some kind. 

Busy day, but more coming

In the meantime, I thought I should mention this long essay by William MacPherson, a former Washington Post reporter who finds himself nearing retirement age and being a lot poorer than he was planning: 
...Against the advice of people who thought they knew better, I bought shares in AOL before it really took off and in Apple when it was near its bottom. I figured Apple’s real estate must be worth more than the value the market gave the company. I was right. Shares in both companies soared. If I’d shut up and stayed home…but I didn’t. On the advice of these same people who advised me against AOL and Apple, I turned my brokerage account into a margin account for someone else to handle, and I left the country again. A few more dips into the well, a few turns in the market, a few margin calls, and when I went back for another dip, the well was empty. The old proverb drifts back to me on a wisp of memory. A fool and his money are soon parted. My adventures were over. 
The story is, of course, more complicated than that—whose story isn’t?—but these are the essentials. It’s unlikely, and it’s not intended, to evoke sympathy. I’d acted like one of those people who win the lottery and squander it on houses, cars, family, and Caribbean cruises. But I hadn’t won the lottery; I’d fallen under the spell of magical thinking. In my opinion, I didn’t squander the money, either; I just spent it a little too enthusiastically—not on Caribbean cruises but on exploring the aftermath of the fall of Communism in eastern Europe. I don’t regret it. When my writing was bringing in a little money I had a Keogh plan, and when I was at the Post a 401(k) account. I’d made a little money in real estate and received a couple of modest but nice inheritances, which together, and with Social Security and the pension, would have given me enough income to live on, had I not felt I’d lost the ability to continue writing and had I forgone, or at least spent more modestly on, my work in Europe and related activities, avoided the margin account, and so on. The “so on,” I should add, included a major heart attack that led to congestive heart failure, a condition that greatly reduced my physical resilience and taxed my already-limited income.  
There are a lot of people like me, exiles from the middle class who suddenly find themselves on Grub Street....
For those who do not have a spouse or children (or other family, as he does) to rely on, this sort of slow drift into poverty has got to come with a slew of negative second and third order effects. Best wishes to the author, and to all of us. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Starting chemist salary at gold refiners' in Jackson, Ohio? $25,000

Via the Wall Street Journal*, more anecdata about how we do not have a shortage of chemists in this country (emphasis mine): 
JACKSON, Ohio—Building contractor Alan Stockmeister is known around town for his stewardship of local businesses: radio stations, a movie theater and a bank, for example. But nothing has been quite like his refinery just off Main Street, which has become an outpost in the multibillion-dollar global gold trade. 
Ohio Precious Metals LLC owns one of five refineries in the U.S.—there are 73 world-wide—certified to melt scrap gold and pour it into ingots that can be traded on global markets. OPM’s more than 170 workers process several billion dollars a year in gold and silver headed for banks and jewelers in New York, London and Shanghai... 
...Mr. Stockmeister, 62 years old, who took over his father’s small construction business, wasn’t particularly interested in gold or recycling when he bought OPM a decade ago. His goal was to protect and create local jobs, he says. When he heard that the assistant manager at a local Wendy’s had a chemistry degree, Mr. Stockmeister gave him a job. Starting wages for entry-level chemists at OPM are $25,000 a year. Engineers start at $45,000. 
Gold from all over the world arrives in this city of 7,200 people in UPS envelopes and armored trucks. The plant, about two hours east of Cincinnati, is ringed by barbed wire. Employees pass through metal detectors and put their shoes through an X-ray machine. Violating the “no metals in, no metals out” policy can result in dismissal...
For some reason, I am inclined to wonder if there's some sort of typo here. I hope  OPM is just a really stingy employer (although, not according to Glassdoor) and that they don't actually employ all that many chemists. Also, if Wendy's is the only upwards wage pressure in Jackson, Ohio, there might be a problem.

That said, as long as rock-bottom wages like that exist, I'm going to keep thinking that not all is well with the chemistry job market.

*Can't get to the article without a subscription? Search "Gold Rush in Ohio? Small Town Plays Big Role" and the WSJ website will let you in.

Process Wednesday: the most horrifying plant story you will hear today

Thanks to a Derek Lowe post, longtime chemblogosphere commenter Thomas McEntee tells a story of his past: 
Complacency...can be a killer. In December 1974, I was called by the plant supervisor to come out to where the day shift was running another 2000-gal oxidation of tetrachlorocatechol using a process I'd developed for the production of high-purity o-chloranil. We had run this 15 or 20 times before without problems. The process involved use of considerably less than a stoichiometric quantity of nitric acid in hydrochloric acid under about 15 psig oxygen in the headspace. When the oxidation was complete, we centrifuged pure o-chloranil and washed the cakes with hexane..(uh oh). The problem I was presented with was that the reaction was not taking up oxygen. We checked the oxygen cylinders (OK), the dual manifold system (OK), and scratched our hard hats. 10 minutes later, the reactor exploded. Flames erupted from where the sight glass had been. 
Long story short, 3 of us nearly died and it was a week before I got out of the hospital.
The graveyard shift had the job of cleaning the GL reactor, finishing the cleaning with water washes and a final spark test for explosivity. 
After months of denials, the truth came out that the reactor cleaning had not been done at all and that about 100 gallons of hexane were in the reactor when the day shift loaded it for the new run. The batch sheet had been filled in as if all the cleaning and spark testing had been done. Under the agitation conditions we used and in the presence of pure oxygen, the hexane auto-ignited. 
Critics will say 'well, that should teach you..." but we had been able to bypass messy recrystallizations from carbon tet using this process. We had the forms and the boxes to check but the plant workers, all good guys but a tad lazy in those eerie hours after midnight, tried cutting some corners. As Derek wrote, it all gets back to people thinking about what they're doing.
This is pretty horrifying to me, for a variety of reasons. It's pretty clear that pencilwhipping the batch record was seen as an okay thing to do, which is an obvious problem (and not one that the chemist should be responsible for, said a chemist).

I wonder if the operators knew how deadly leaving hexane in the reactor was in this case. Also, I presume that a lot of development work had gone into avoiding the use of nitric acid. Yikes -- what a mess and I am glad no one died. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Anyone give the Rheo Thing some help?

He's looking for a new position. Go over there, see if you can help him out. 

Daily Pump Trap: 11/18/14 edition

Good morning! A few of the positions posted on the C&EN Jobs website:

Wever, IA: I always highlight bench chemistry positions in rather obscure places because it's a fun story. I feel like I should give it a tagline or something. Today's entry is the Iowa Fertilizer Company, who is looking for a lab chemist for its new fertilizer plant:
Iowa Fertilizer Company seeks those who are looking for a challenging career with a new company at a large, new facility which is poised to change the face of the fertilizer business in the Midwest. The selected candidate will grow their career with us as we grow our business. Iowa Fertilizer Company (IFCo) is currently seeking a Lab Chemist to become part of our organization at our location in Wever, Iowa. 
IFCo is looking for a Lab Chemist to join our Engineering team in Wever, Iowa. This individual will assist in training and partner with the lab superintendent to develop laboratory and operations personnel in the technical aspects of wastewater analyses and treatment, product quality with Ammonia, UREA, UAN, Nitric Acid, and air quality monitoring. Assistance will also be needed in planning, directing, and conducting technical reports and review on regulatory issues. The incumbent will oversee training of chemical laboratory tests to assist making qualitative and quantitative analyses of solids, liquids, and gaseous materials for purposes, such as research and development or processes, quality control, maintenance of environmental standards, and other work involving experimental, theoretical, or practical application of chemistry and related sciences.
Spring House, PA: Johnson and Johnson is looking for a B.S./M.S./Ph.D. radiosynthetic chemist.

Ipswich, MA: I'd like to know what this New England Biolabs postdoc is about -- they're looking for a Ph.D. organic chemist. Also, a production associate position (B.S. chemist desired.)

Cleveland, OH: Sherwin-Williams is looking for a polymer process control engineer; 5+ years experience and a B.S. in chemical engineering desired.

Malta, NY: GlobalFoundries desires a failure analysis engineer; they desire a M.S./Ph.D. analytical chemist with broad instrumental experience.

Ivory Filter Flask: 11/18/14 edition

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

Terre Haute, IN: Indiana State University is seeking an assistant professor of organic chemistry. Deadline is January 5, 2015.

Charlotte, NC: UNC - Charlotte desires an assistant professor of nanoscale chemistry, which is a new, interesting title.

Bay City, MI: Delta College seeks a M.S. chemist for a position as a chemistry instructor; starts at 48k -- not bad.

Conway, SC: Coastal Carolina University is looking for an assistant professor of marine chemistry; "specializations in environmental biogeochemistry and global cycling are particularly encouraged."

La Crosse, WI: The University of Wisconsin - La Crosse is seeking an associate lecturer to run its organic chemistry laboratories. M.S./Ph.D. desired; 37-45k offered.