Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Chemjobber’s Conditions For Becoming Chemistry Jobs Czar

Spotted in a spam folder somewhere:

Chemjobber’s Conditions For Becoming Chemistry Jobs Czar
  1. Office in Midland, MI
  2. Walk-in privileges with the CEO of Dow, DuPont, Pfizer, Merck and Novartis
  3. Full professor rank - at highest pay level for faculty
  4. Staff of 12 people (3 labor economists, 3 research analysts, 1 scheduler, 3 social media people, 1 beer assistant, 1 organizer of blue dress shirts) 
  5. CEOs of major chemistry employers sits down individually with Chemistry Jobs Czar and tells their HR people to follow the directive of the Chemistry Jobs Czar without delay, subject to doing anatomically impossible things in cases of disagreement
  6. 24/7 access to either a private jet or a lifetime supply of Glenfiddich
  7. Ability to spend weekends in Bozeman, Montana with family on way from chemistry career fairs
  8. Security detail if deemed necessary after security review.
  9. Serve as the face of chemistry employment policy - the principal spokesman on television and social media
  10. Promise by November 1, 2019, Congress will ratify CJ Chemjobber to be Secretary of Labor, unless Chemjobber wishes to continue in Czar position

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The 2019 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 586 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 31 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 31 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, May 20, 2019

New York schools settle for over one million dollars for 2014 rainbow demonstration incident:

Well, this is a long time in coming. From the New York Daily News: 
Two students traumatized by a horrifically botched classroom science experiment in 2014 have received over $1 million from the city. Former Beacon High School student Julia Saltonstall received a $750,000 settlement. Her classmate Sara Salitan received $400,000, documents filed in Manhattan Supreme Court show. The deals were made official Monday, which was to be the first day of a trial over their injuries.
Saltonstall suffered burns on her forearms, including a third-degree burn on her right arm, when teacher Anna Poole screwed up the chemistry “rainbow experiment.” She’d since coped with emotional trauma. Salitan’s injuries were “purely emotional and psychological in nature, including post traumatic stress disorder and depression,” according to a recent filing in the case. Messages for Saltonstall and Salitan’s attorneys were not returned....
...The rainbow experiment was designed to show students how different mineral salts produce multicolored flames when burned. On Jan. 2, 2014 Poole poured methanol from a one-gallon bottle into hot Petri dishes containing nitrates that had been on fire only moments earlier. The chemical cocktail created a blazing ribbon that flew across the table where Poole’s students were gathered, engulfing Yanes.... 
...The Daily News exclusively reported last year that Poole had received a promotion and was now working in the Education Department’s central office providing instructions to other educators about science-teaching techniques. 
Poole could not be reached for comment.
Well, maybe after another 25 kids are hurt and another couple million dollars in settlements are paid out that we'll get some change.

Another reminder that the American Chemical Society's Committee on Chemical Safety specifically recommends teachers "that the “Rainbow” demonstration on open benches involving the use of flammable solvents such as methanol be discontinued immediately due to extreme risk of flash fires and flame jetting."

Friday, May 17, 2019

Got a career dilemma?

I'm always game for writing answer requests for advice in my column at Chemical and Engineering News. Please feel free to write me ( if you have a career-oriented dilemma that you'd like me to write about in the magazine. Also, you can submit your questions with this handy web form. Thanks!

GC columns

A list of small, useful things (links): 
An open invitation to all interested in writing a blog, a hobby that will bring 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!

Job posting: Scientist Urethane Catalysts, Huntsman Advanced Technology Center, The Woodlands, TX

From the inbox:
We are currently looking for a dynamic individual as a Scientist, Urethane Catalysts for our Performance Products organization at our Advanced Technology Center located in The Woodlands, Texas. 
This job exists to support our urethane catalyst business of our Performance Products Division.  Incumbents help develop and deploy new or modified products as well as troubleshooting issues that customers may have with existing products.  Assists the business to achieve these goals through laboratory experimentation, product/application development, customer trials, customer technical service support, and other activities....
What will be expected from you?
  • Conduct laboratory investigations in order to develop new products, application technologies and/or to provide technical service support which demonstrates the ability to effectively resolve a variety of moderately complex technical service or product development/modification challenges
  • All work must include well written concise reports which are completed on time and exhibit rigorous data analysis skills....
What are we looking for in the ideal candidate?
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, or Material Science is required.
  • 3+ years of relevant experience in a laboratory environment or
  • Demonstrated knowledge in isocyanates, polyols and related chemistry as well as a strong working knowledge of ridge and flexible polyurethane foam systems
  • Proven experience of formulating ridge and flexible polyurethanes foams...
Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested.  

Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs List: 332 positions

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs list (curated by Joel Walker and myself) has 332 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.)

26 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Over at Common Organic Chemistry, there are 26 new positions for May 12.

The Analytical Chemistry Jobs List: 25 positions

The Analytical Chemistry Jobs List has 25 positions; this is curated by the ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry. Want to help out? Fill out this form. 

The Process Chemistry Jobs List: 300 positions

The Process Chemistry Jobs List has 300 positions.

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

Want to chat process jobs? Try the open thread. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

"The Difference A Lab Coat Can Make"

Via a report in the Salt Lake Tribune (by Courtney Tanner) and help from Twitter, this rather alarming report from the Utah State Legislature about an incident at the University of Utah:
A University of Utah Incident Demonstrates The Difference a Lab Coat Can Make 
In February 2018, an incident in the University of Utah’s Chemistry Department led to chemical burns for two lab personnel. This incident involved air-reactive chemicals that combust when exposed to air, which was the hazard that led to the 2008 death of a UCLA researcher. In this incident, the researcher conducting the experiment and their spotter, who had a fire extinguisher, each received burns. Figure 1.2 shows the lab coat and burns resulting from the accident.  
In this case, the researcher was wearing a flame-resistant lab coat or more serious injury could have occurred. Unfortunately, we observed and OEHS has reported repeatedly that lab coats in general are not being worn consistently.  
Unlike the incident at UCLA, two major differences were observed in the University of Utah’s incident report. First, the researcher was wearing the flame-resistant blue lab coat shown in Figure 1.2. As the figure shows, the air-reactive chemical left burn marks in the material. However, an incident report noted that the clothing and skin beneath the coat were unaffected. The second major difference was that a spotter was present to extinguish the chemical. Neither of these safety precautions were present in the UCLA tragedy. 
After the Chemistry Department’s Safety Committee reviewed the incident, the following improvements to this specific lab group’s safety practices were identified.
  • Use Fire-Resistant Gloves: While the researcher’s nitrile gloves did not melt, second-degree burns were still incurred. Another research group in the Chemistry Department uses fire-resistant pilot gloves, which were recommended for future use when air-reactive chemicals are involved.
  • Build Larger Margins of Safety into Procedures: The fire resulted when the plunger of the 5 mL syringe came out while drawing 4.6 mL of the chemical. A proposal to fill syringes only to 60 percent of capacity when working with air-reactive chemicals was developed, a level significantly lower than 92 percent of syringe capacity that caused this incident. 
This is a good and regrettable reminder that it's hard to learn from our history, even incidents that were famous just ten years ago. I find it a little bit depressing that this incident happened, and that so much of it was predictable from the Sheri Sangji incident, i.e. the lesson from the incident that a syringe must be properly sized for the amount that it needs to withdraw was not followed in this case. 

However, there is cause for hope. If this had happened 10 years ago or 20 years ago, the student would not have been wearing a flame-resistant lab coat, and the researcher would have sustained far more life-threatening injuries. In addition, I suspect that the presence of a spotter with a fire extinguisher at the ready was also a procedure added post-Sangji. Little by little, I sincerely hope that academic chemistry's safety record is improving. 

(Questions that I don't have time right now: What the ##$$ is it going to take for us to get reports of serious incidents or near misses out of industry or academia on a regular basis? There should be some kind of central repository of these incidents that can be anonymized so that the community can learn.)

UPDATE 0515191700: Jyllian Kemsley reminds us about the Pistoia Alliance Chemical Safety Library.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The 2019 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 585 positions

Job posting: Core Facility Research Specialist, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

From the inbox, a position with a core facility at the University of Iowa:
The University of Iowa Materials Analysis, Testing, and Fabrication (MATFab) Facility is an Office of the Vice President for Research core resource, offering a wide array of instrumentation to research investigators.   
Position: The MATFab Facility is seeking a Core Facility Research Specialist to: support medium- to ultra-high vacuum, electron emission and detection, deposition, and etching instrumentation for materials fabrication and characterization including e-beam lithography, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), reactive-ion etching, atomic-layer deposition, photolithography, and chemical vapor deposition.
Position ad here and here. Best wishes to those interested. 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 31 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 31 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.