Friday, July 20, 2018

View From Your Hood: distant baseball edition

Boston University
Credit: @chemtoolman
From @chemtoolman:

"You can just make out Fenway Park in the distance."

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

The most useless career trope: "[insert major here] can do everything"

The American Historical Association last week released a comprehensive snapshot of the entire discipline’s Ph.D. recipients. The project, Where Historians Work, tries to track where all of the 8,500 people who earned a doctorate from 2004 to 2013 landed jobs. About 7 percent of the recipients could not be found.... 
...Critics of the value of a history Ph.D. may find fodder in the history association’s project. Hover over some of the tiniest bubbles on an interactive slide, those representing just a single person, and you’ll see examples of people who may not have needed their Ph.D. for their current jobs: a rental-car clerk. A maintenance worker. An actor. A postal worker. 
But the biggest bubbles tell a more hopeful story about the utility of a history Ph.D. The data show that those who earned history Ph.D.s in that time include 174 chief executives, 363 higher-education administrators, 320 nonprofessors doing history, 57 curators, and 82 editors. The point: History Ph.D.s don’t just stay in academe. They are everywhere.
I admire this survey, and I encourage each field to do more of them. However, I find this trope of "they are everywhere" to be completely useless. Rather than saying "this is what you can do" or worse yet, "here is a story of one history Ph.D. who succeeded", I think it's far more useful to tell students and potential students "this is what you are likeliest to do, and here are the statistics to back that up."

What do they actually do? If you read the story, it sure looks like most of them end up at 4 year schools, either on the tenure-track (47%) or not (13%). Some of them go into higher ed administration (6%), the private sector (7%), government (7%) and non-profits (4%).

Here's what I think the study is missing: wages. What are the wages for these graduates? Until we know what the wages for the people are, there can be no economic conclusions drawn about this group of people. (Also, underemployment, but wages first.) 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs List: 138 positions

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs list (curated by Joel Walker and myself)  has 138 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.)

The Computational Drug Discovery Chemistry Jobs List: 20 positions

The Computational Drug Discovery Chemistry Jobs List has 20 positions. This list is curated by Joel Walker. 

22 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Over at Common Organic Chemistry, there's 22 new positions posted for July 17.

The Process Chemistry Jobs List: 175 positions

The Process Chemistry Jobs List has 175 positions.

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

Want to chat process jobs? Try the open thread. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Warning Letter of the Week: recycling consumables edition

A dispatch from the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research to the Managing Director of Claris Injectables Ltd. in Gujarat, India: 
1.    Your firm failed to thoroughly investigate any unexplained discrepancy or failure of a batch or any of its components to meet any of its specifications, whether or not the batch has already been distributed (21 CFR 211.192). 
Your firm invalidated out-of-specification (OOS) results without adequate investigation and scientific justification. Examples include: 
....In March, 2017, you obtained OOS results for the [redacted] impurity during stability testing of [redacted] injection batches [redacted]. You suspected the analyst may have incorrectly rinsed the HPLC vials. New samples prepared and tested by a second analyst using both the original column and a new column, as well as old and new vials, also yielded OOS results. Although you lacked sufficient evidence, your investigation concluded that the OOS results were due to sample vial contamination. You invalidated the OOS results after obtaining passing results from testing retain samples.
Rinsing HPLC vials??!?!?

(Someone who does science in the United States probably has no idea as to the constraints around consumables in the developing world. But still!)

Odd approach to peer review

Also in this week's C&EN, a pretty remarkable experiment from eLife (article by Katherine Sanderson): 
The life sciences journal eLife is trying out a radical approach to peer review. Rather than deciding whether to publish a paper after peer review, an editor’s decision to send a paper for peer review will be a commitment to eventually publish it. The trial is optional and aims to recruit 300 papers. In the trial, the editor and referees will agree on what they want authors to address.  
The authors can then make revisions, including more experiments; respond to criticisms; or withdraw the paper completely. The referee reports, editor’s decision letter, and authors’ response will be published alongside the final article. Reviewers can choose whether to remain anonymous.  
The aim is to give more power to authors, say eLife editors Mark Patterson and Randy Schekman in an editorial. They also hope it will strengthen the review process, with referees gaining a reputation for the advice they give. Observers welcome the trial with caution. Raghuveer Parthasarathy, a physicist from the University of Oregon, worries that journal editors sifting through initial submissions are given more power. “It may bias the system further towards flashy papers from well-connected authors,” he says.
This is a pretty interesting experiment, and it will be interesting to see if it produces anything sustainable... 

This week's C&EN

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

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The 2019 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 30 positions

The 2019 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 30 positions.

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

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

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

Please fill out the 2017-2018 Faculty Search Survey

In the interests of understanding the results of this year's academic recruiting, I have created an unscientific survey. I will be sharing results as they come in.

If you were a faculty candidate during the 2017-2018 academic year, please fill out this survey so we can get a better picture of the experience of faculty candidates this past year.

Please leave suggestions for improvements for the survey (and the List!) in the comments. 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 25 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 25 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.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Chinese plant explosion kills 19

BEIJING — At least 19 people have been killed and a dozen injured after a chemical plant exploded in southwest China, engulfing the plant in flames and throwing a thick plume of smoke into the sky. 
The explosion erupted in an industrial park in Jiangan County, Sichuan Province, at about 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, the China News Service reported. Intense fires gutted a new-looking, three-story production building belonging to the Yibin Hengda Science and Technology Company, and windows of nearby buildings were shattered, a Sichuan news service said. 
“I heard an enormous explosion, enormous, and felt tremors,” Liu Ping, an official in charge of the industrial park, told a Chinese news website. “We’re now checking DNA to confirm the list of fatalities.” 
China’s grim record of accidents in factories and mines has improved in recent years, according to government statistics. They showed that 38,000 people died in work-related accidents last year, a fall of 12 percent from 2016.
Sounds like it was a methanol plant, which would offer plenty of risk of explosion. Best wishes to those involved. 

Friday, July 13, 2018

Nitrile gloves

A list of small, useful things (links): 
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!

Are you having more difficulty in sourcing chemicals?

"Finally, we have found the Lost City of Acrolein!"
Credit: cageclub.me
This was an interesting comment by Dan Singleton at Texas A&M about the difficulty of sourcing basic organic chemicals. (Recently, he had difficulty in ordering acrolein, which is a bit of a surprise.)

Here's a comment about the difficulty in sourcing lithium powder (isn't there a Collum prep about how to make lithium powder? Does Rieke sell that? Either way, I'd rather buy that than make it.)

I haven't noticed too much difficulty in ordering compounds these days (at least in the 100 gram range.) Now tons of compound? I think it's always hard.

What's been your experience with finding lab-scale quantities of typical organic chemicals? 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs List: 121 positions

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs list (curated by Joel Walker and myself)  has 121 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.)

The Computational Drug Discovery Chemistry Jobs List: 20 positions

The Computational Drug Discovery Chemistry Jobs List has 20 positions. This list is curated by Joel Walker. 

15 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Over at Common Organic Chemistry, there's 10 new positions posted for July 9 and 5 positions posted on July 5.

The Process Chemistry Jobs List: 175 positions

The Process Chemistry Jobs List has 175 positions.

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

Want to chat process jobs? Try the open thread.