Monday, May 21, 2018

Postdoctoral position: Boron Specialties, Pittsburgh, PA

From the inbox, an industrial postdoctoral position at Boron Specialties:
Boron Specialties (a small, woman‐owned, Pittsburgh‐based fine chemical company) is seeking a postdoc for a 2‐year position, with the possibility for continuation thereafter. Successful hires will be asked to split time between analytical method development and synthetic chemistry (primarily inorganic) across a number of scales in conjunction with senior scientific staff. We seek energetic, enthusiastic applicants excited about playing an integral role in the growth of a small company. 
  1. Ph. D. in chemistry (inorganic preferred) with a publication record to indicate achievement.
  2. Willing and able to participate in a robust safety culture and comply with all environmental, health, safety, and security rules, regulations, and laws.
  3. Experience with multinuclear NMR, FT‐IR, MS, ICP, and GC.
  4. Experience with highly reactive, air‐sensitive, and toxic materials, and an ability to safely manipulate materials under air‐free conditions.
  5. Willing and able to perform tasks ranging from analytical titrations to multi‐kg syntheses.
  6. Demonstrated project management experience
  7. Must be able to solve complex technical problems using both inductive and deductive reasoning.
  8. Excellent written and verbal communication skills are essential to the position
  9. Able to legally work in the United States
Desirable attributes:
  1. Hands‐on knowledge of electro‐ and electroanalytical chemistry.
  2. Strong mechanical aptitude.
  3. Able to represent the company at trade shows and scientific conferences.
  4. Experience in supervision and direction of junior staff / technician‐level employees.
  5. Experience with standard operating procedure development.
Send a CV (with full publication list) and contact information for 2 references to Bill Ewing (
Ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Paper towels

A list of small, useful things:
An open invitation to all interested in writing a blog, a hobby that will bring you millions thousands hundreds tens of dollars joy and happiness. Send me a link to your post, and I'd be happy to put it up.

Have a good weekend!

Ask CJ: What prior approvals are required for lab work at your company?

From the inbox, a good safety-related question:
We recently had a minor chemical exposure incident here at Random Chemicals Inc., and the safety analysis made its way up to corporate EHS. This prompted some reviews of our lab practices and the powers that be are considering implementation of some kind of approval process for any "new" synthesis procedure. 
They are allowing us to have some feedback into how that would look, so thats nice, but of course the worry is that a lot of red tape just for starting what could be a simple reaction. Do chemists at other companies have similar approval processes? What does it look like when you want to start something new in the lab, just order the chemicals and do it, or does someone have to sign off?  
I suspect that there are bands of chemicals and types of reactions (and sizes) and someone who plans on running a 20 L fluorination probably gets a lot more attention and needs a lot more upper-management approval than someone who is planning on running a 50 mL reaction with some nBuLi. All the Dow items that came post-Sangji seem to have indicated that (for example) large companies require a lot more written procedures and warnings and checks than, say, a typical academic synthesis laboratory.

Readers, what do you think? 

Well, that's a good reason for a shortage

Via The Truth About Cars, an interesting shortage due to an industrial incident:
Ford has paused production of the F-150 at its Kansas City Assembly Plant after a fire at one of the facilities belonging a Michigan-based supplier created a parts shortage. Meridian Lightweight Technologies makes instrument panel components for the pickup.
Roughly 3,600 unionized plant workers at the Kansas City facility have been told to cool their heels at home from May 7th to 14th, according to an Automotive News report. 
A fire and series of explosions ripped through the Meridian factory last week, injuring two people and leading to the evacuation of 150 workers. The conflagration reportedly happened during a 1:30 a.m. shift change. 
Eaton Rapids City Manager Aaron Desentz told the Lansing State Journal the fire seemingly originated in an area of the plant called the “tunnel,” where workers put magnesium scraps on a conveyor belt to be melted down.
That sounds like something that might catch on fire... 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs List: 143 positions

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs list (curated by Joel Walker and myself)  has 143 positions.

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions, but if you want to do the traditional "leave a link in the comments", that works, too.

Want to chat about medchem positions? Try the open thread.

Positions I'm not including: positions outside the United States, computational positions (this will likely change), academic positions (likely never.)

27 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Over at Common Organic Chemistry, there's 13 new positions posted for May 16 and 14 new positions for May 12. 

The Process Chemistry Jobs List: 153 positions

The Process Chemistry Jobs List has 153 positions.

Want to help? Here's a form to fill out.

Want to chat process jobs? Try the open thread. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

17 students, 1 teacher burned in ethanol-boric acid flash fire in Nashville

From a variety of sources, including the ACS DCHAS listserv, an incident at Merrol Hyde Magnet High School in Hendersonville, TN (article by NewsChannel5): 
HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. - A hazmat situation injured multiple people at Merrol Hyde Magnet High School in Hendersonville. 
An official said at least 17 students and one teacher were triaged at the scene Wednesday morning, and multiple patients were taken to area hospitals. 
Six students were treated at Tristar Hendersonville Medical Center, while five students were taken to Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. 
The teacher was reportedly treated and released from Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Reports from school officials said the educator involved was a first-year chemistry teacher.
I find it grimly amusing that this article (and a number of others, including Nashville's The Tennessean) seem to believe that flames spontaneously result from the mixture of ethyl alcohol and boric acid (which was used in this case.) I don't think that's true - I think you need to light it on fire, which is probably what happened here.

Yet another incident where there was a combination of:
  • fire
  • alcohol 
  • students being too close
that has caused injuries and teachers getting fired and lawsuits being filed in this country time and time again.

Another reminder that the American Chemical Society's Committee on Chemical Safety specifically asks teachers to discontinue the traditional Rainbow Demonstration and use the safer Flame Test.

Why don't industrial members attend ACS National Meetings?

Also in this week's C&EN, a really interesting article about new approaches to the ACS National Meeting by Kevin Edgar, the chair of the Committee on Meetings & Expositions, including this interesting paragraph:
Another M&E initiative aims to enhance industrial member attendance at ACS meetings. The proportion of industrial ACS members has dropped in recent years, and it is critically important to all of our members that we maintain strong connections to industry. We understand that much of the loss of industrial members is a result of economic trends that ACS cannot control and has a limited ability to influence. We are looking at ways to create a more inclusive industrial community at meetings, to connect with the expo, and to enhance the overall industrial member experience.
It sure seems like people in industry prefer to attend smaller conferences, even as the registration for a National Meeting (~$400) is a lot more than the $1000 or so that you'll pay for a practitioner-level conference.

I'm not sure I have a solution for the National Meeting folks, other than maybe to make them just a little less pricey. Anyone else have a better solution? 

This week's C&EN

A few of the articles from this week's issue of Chemical and Engineering News:

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 549 positions

The 2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 549 positions.

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

The 2017 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List finished with 590 positions.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Try the open thread.

Want to talk about starting your new group? That open discussion is here.

Otherwise, all discussions are on the Chemistry Faculty Jobs List webforum.

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 24 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 24 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady. 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.

Friday, May 11, 2018

View From Your Hood: West Coast tower edition

Credit: @HartwigGroup
Via Twitter, from the Hartwig Group: "#WestCoastBestCoast I never get sick of this view #viewfrommyhood Ok fine, actually view from the balcony."

(got a View from Your Hood submission? Send it in (with a caption and preference for name/anonymity, please) at; will run every other Friday.) 

Grad students: Who wants to write for C&EN?

From the inbox:
C&EN is looking for grad students to write about their experiences for the magazine. To be considered for this paid opportunity, send a roughly 250-word essay on an issue you face as a graduate student to Include your name, university, country, and year in school. Deadline is May 31.
Best wishes to those interested. 

The Layoffs Will Be Projected

A grim tidbit from the New York Times about the work environment at Nike (amidst an article about sexual harassment by Julie Creswell, Kevin Draper and Rachel Abrams):
...The callousness that some women experienced extended at times to the work force at large, employees said. By the summer of 2016, for instance, Nike had decided to stop making golf balls, golf clubs and other equipment. Members of the division were summoned to a meeting inside the Clubhouse, the nickname for one of Nike’s buildings. 
There, horrified employees watched their names appear on a large screen, directing them to different rooms, where some would be laid off, according to one person who attended the meeting and two people who were told of it. The person said it left employees with the impression they were being let go via PowerPoint presentation....
(Emphasis mine) I suppose I understand the need for some level of efficiency in the case of layoffs of multiple people, and the logistical difficulty in separating large groups of people in a corporate headquarters. But this just seems rather cruel - surely envelopes (all the same size, all the same color) or some other paper-based mechanism would be less horrifying? 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Dr. Phil Smith - Novartis Statement

Novartis statement - 17:15 CET:

In February 2017, Novartis entered into an indefinite employment agreement with Dr. Phil Smith. With the recent advances in photoredox chemistry, Novartis believed that Dr. Smith could advise the company as to how Novartis might approach certain organic chemistry matters, including iridium photocatalysis.

The agreement was for an indefinite term, and paid Dr. Smith 9,000 USD per month. In March 2017, Novartis had its first meeting with Dr. Smith under this agreement. Following this initial meeting, Novartis determined that business conditions completely unrelated to Dr. Smith's skills in the laboratory had changed, and that Novartis financial conditions required the decision to not engage further.

As there was no contract and happily Dr. Smith could be terminated for any reason, payments were stopped immediately in March 2017.

with no apologies to Novartis

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs List: 132 positions

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs list (curated by Joel Walker and myself)  has 132 positions.

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions, but if you want to do the traditional "leave a link in the comments", that works, too.

Want to chat about medchem positions? Try the open thread.

Positions I'm not including: positions outside the United States, computational positions (this will likely change), academic positions (likely never.)

23 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Over at Common Organic Chemistry, there's 17 new positions posted for May 9 and 6 new positions for May 3. 

The Process Chemistry Jobs List: 150 positions

The Process Chemistry Jobs List has 150 positions.

Want to help? Here's a form to fill out.

Want to chat process jobs? Try the open thread.