Wednesday, September 20, 2017

"Psssst, hey kid"

"Got some postdocs, too." 

Nominate a colleague for the prestigious National Chemical Technician Award

From the inbox:
Do you know an outstanding chemical technician who deserves special recognition? If so, please consider nominating that person for the 2018 National Chemical Technician Award.

Nominees must be currently employed as a chemical technician, and must have worked as a chemical technician for at least five years. Technicians hold a range of titles, including process operator, laboratory analyst, technologist, and research associate.

Nominees, who do not need to be ACS members, will be judged on their contributions in the following areas: technical achievement, leadership and mentoring, publications, presentations, patents, quality and safety practices, and professional and community activities.

Nomination packets must be received by the ACS Committee on Technician Affairs by Oct. 18, 2017.

The 2018 recipient will receive a $1000 honorarium, plaque, and a trip to the ACS national meeting in New Orleans, where he or she will be honored at a special luncheon on Sunday, March 18, 2018. 
For more information or to nominate someone, visit Send questions to
Best wishes to those interested.  

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 268 positions

The 2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 268 positions.

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

Want to talk anonymously? Try the open thread.

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

Faculty position: assistant professor of physical chemistry, Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA

The Chemistry Department of Whitman College invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor position in Physical Chemistry, effective August 2018. The successful candidate will exhibit potential for excellence in teaching and will establish an undergraduate research program in physical chemistry. The successful candidate will offer courses in physical chemistry and general chemistry and will also contribute to the College’s general education requirement, with an annual teaching load of five courses. Additional duties include advising and mentoring students and participating in faculty governance at the department and college level. Whitman College is a highly selective liberal arts school that values both teaching and scholarship, offers a generous sabbatical program, and provides support for professional development, start-up funds, and benefits. 
Candidates must have a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry. Postdoctoral experience and/or additional teaching experience is highly recommended.
Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested.  

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 18 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 18 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.that works, too.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? This post will serve as the open thread.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Sexual harassment in academia

In this week's C&EN, a cover story by Linda Wang and Andrea Widener on sexual harassment: 
It started innocently enough. He was a prominent chemistry professor at a major research university, and she was eager to make a good impression. “I was a pretty insecure grad student in my early years, and the fact that he was paying attention to me and interested in my work and how I was doing in his class was kind of flattering,” says Tara (not her real name). 
The professor was not her adviser. Nevertheless, “He invited me to lunch a few times and just sought me out quite a bit. And then he invited me over to his house to watch a movie. He didn’t do anything inappropriate. But after that night, I was like, ‘Something’s weird here; he has a family.’ And his family was away for the weekend.” 
Those seemingly innocent actions became increasingly inappropriate. “The culmination was when he wrote me a love note. It was a proposition note, I guess. It basically said he wanted to have an affair with me. I stormed into his office and said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. This is offensive. I thought you were hanging out with me because I was talented.’ ” 
After that incident, Tara went out of her way to avoid the professor. “It was really hard,” she says, in part because his office was along the hallway she traversed between her lab and desk. Yet she didn’t report the situation to anyone. “I felt guilty, like I had somehow done something to have brought this on,” she says. 
Tara’s story is a common one in university chemistry departments nationwide, echoing the problems of sexual harassment in the larger science community and the nation. While chemistry hasn’t had a sexual harassment case come to national prominence yet, most female chemists can tell stories of harassment or discrimination of themselves or their colleagues. It may be among the reasons women aren’t reaching parity in chemistry Ph.D. programs and faculty positions. 
“It was one of the many factors why I ultimately was unsatisfied and uncomfortable in science,” says Tara, who completed her Ph.D. but decided to leave chemistry and is now working in an unrelated field....
Read the whole thing.

Friday, September 15, 2017

5 inch Draeger tubes

A list of small, useful things (links):
Again, 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.

The best skills gap article you will read this week

From Crain's Chicago Business, just a fantastic statistical and anecdotal flaying of the supposed skills gap (emphases mine): 
...But when demand for workers spikes, wages climb, too. Except for a handful of job titles, there isn't much wage inflation in Chicago manufacturing. 
The median manufacturing worker in the Chicago metro area saw wages rise 5 percent from 2012 to 2016 to $33,000 a year, even as wages for all occupations rose 6.9 percent in that period. The average 151,000 U.S. manufacturing workers quitting their jobs each month in 2016, presumably to take higher-paying jobs, was still 27 percent lower than the number quitting before the recession. Taken together, the data suggest that employers aren't so desperate for talent that they're willing to raise wages. 
Yet the companies that have the easiest time attracting candidates are the ones that pay the most, says Anne Edmunds, regional vice president at staffing firm Manpower Group... 
...Employers may not be able to afford to raise wages if they aren't making a high-margin product, or if they need to invest in new machinery, says Jim Nelson, vice president for external affairs at the Illinois Manufacturers' Association. 
Anyway, higher pay won't improve the quality of applicants. Job-seekers need 10th-grade math and reading skills—"Too many people apply for manufacturing jobs who are unable to read a blueprint"—and they need to pass a drug test and show up on time. "Manufacturing is not the consolation prize for an occupation," he says. "It is a high-skilled, rewarding career." 
Except it's a career that in Chicago has a median annual wage of $32,860. That's higher than other occupations that draw from a similar worker pool, like janitorial services or low-skilled health care like home health aides. But unlike in manufacturing, wages in those fields have grown 10 to 15 percent in recent years to roughly $27,000.
It's a good article - read the whole thing.

Daily Pump Trap: 9/15/17 edition

A few positions posted recently at C&EN Jobs:

Topeka, KS: The Kansas Health & Environmental Laboratories are searching for an ion chromatograph chemist. $19.16 hourly; can vary depending upon experience and qualifications. B.S. desired.

Washington D.C.: Applications are being accepted for AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships. $75-100k offered.

Key West, FL and elsewhere: Interesting set of naval positions available with Excet. A corrosion engineer position (FL), an analytical chemist position (DC), a coating chemist position (DC) and a formulation chemist position (DC.)

Beerse (Ville), Turnhout (BE): Janssen is looking for experienced medicinal chemists for neuroscience work. Ph.D. in organic chemistry, 2-5 years experience.

Huh: Not every day you get an Indian position around these parts. Applied Materials (Mumbai, India) is looking for a M.S./Ph.D. senior chemist for semiconductor work.

Ivory Filter Flask: 9/15/17 edition

A few academic positions posted recently at C&EN Jobs:

Urbana, IL: UIUC, conducting an open-rank search focusing on "a special emphasis on analytical, inorganic, and materials chemistry." 

Queens, NY: St. John's University is looking for an assistant professor of medicinal chemistry. 

Austin, TX: Open-field search at UT-Austin for two assistant professors.

Amherst, MA: Amherst College, looking for an assistant professor of inorganic chemistry. 

Terre Haute, IN: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology is hiring an assistant professor of organic chemistry and an assistant professor of analytical chemistry.

Burnaby, BC: Simon Fraser University is searching for an assistant professor of nuclear medicinal chemistry.

Nice name: There's a multi-university Actinide Center of Excellence? They're looking for postdocs at various universities (Notre Dame, Washington State, Oregon State, Minnesota, Northwestern.) Must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs List: 160 positions

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs list has 160 positions.

(So it's been a while since the list has had a purging, so that's coming soon.)

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 (this will likely change), computational positions (this will likely change as well), process positions (coming soon....), academic positions (likely never.)

The Process Chemistry Jobs List: 50 positions

The Process Chemistry Jobs List has 50 positions.

Want to chat process jobs? Try the open thread. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Resolved: lying on your resume is dumb

From Twitter, a really good story from UC-Irvine chemistry professor Jenny Yang, told in a number of tweets: 
Crazy thing happened. A Prof. emailed me for a personal reference after interviewing someone for a job that seemed like a great fit. 
Only problem? I had never heard of this person. They said they worked in my lab from 2013-2014, year I started. Unlikely I'd forget someone. 
Just in case, I asked everyone that had been in the lab that year if they remembered this person. They did not. They checked notebooks too. 
One of my students TA'd this person but I never taught this person. Looking back at my emails, this person had asked if they could do research in my lab but I said I had no space.  
Anyway I told the Prof. this person never worked n my lab. Prof emails me the next week. 
Says this person listed the wrong name on CV. They worked for a Jenny Yeng that was only at UCI for 1 year, ran a small group, and somehow does the same research as me. I said there is no such person.  
Prof. said they talked to this 'Jenny Yeng' on the phone.  
Said glowing things about the candidate. 
So this person lies on their CV. Gets caught. Makes up a fictional person to serve as a reference.  
And it cost them a job. I sure hope they learn a lesson and decide to revise their CV and be honest.
I don't have much to say about this, other than the obvious: eventually, lies get caught.

Warning Letter of the Week: poisoning infants edition

A warning letter from the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research to the CEO of Homeolab USA Inc.: 
During our inspection, our investigator observed specific violations including, but not limited to, the following.

1.    Your firm failed to establish and follow adequate control procedures to monitor the output and to validate the performance of those manufacturing processes that may be responsible for causing variability in the characteristics of in-process material and the drug product (21 CFR 211.110(a)).
Your firm released multiple lots of homeopathic in-process powder blends prior to attempting to validate your manufacturing process. You manufacture [redacted] homeopathic in-process powder blend mixtures which you send to Raritan Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Raritan), a contract manufacturing organization, to produce finished homeopathic drug products for the United States (U.S.) market. Some of your powder blend mixtures are manufactured from ingredients that pose potentially toxic effects. For example, your Infants’ Teething Tablet [redacted] contains belladonna. Raritan uses this powder blend mixture to produce finished drug products for infants and children, a population vulnerable to the toxic effects of belladonna. You shipped [redacted] lot [redacted] of Infants’ Teething Tablet [redacted] to the U.S. market before evaluating whether your manufacturing process was reliable and reproducible.

Your operators use a [redacted], an inherently variable process, to [redacted] produce in-process powder blends, including those made from toxic ingredients. You did not test the in-process powder blends for adequacy of mixing to assure uniformity and homogeneity prior to release and shipment to your contract manufacturer, Raritan.

FDA collected samples of your in-process drugs ([redacted] lot [redacted]) during our September-October 2016 inspection of Raritan. FDA analyses indicated that your in-process drugs were not homogeneous in composition.

Raritan used your powder blends to contract manufacture adulterated finished drug products that you marketed for use in infants and children in the United States. FDA analysis of finished drug products made from your in-process blends also demonstrated non-homogeneous composition. We acknowledge that the teething tablets made from your non-uniform powder blends were recalled.
For those who need some context, Hyland's Teething Tablets are (or were) a fairly common product in American drug stores. They are believed (incorrectly, I assert) to relieve teething pains in children. (I recall turning up my nose at these products because they are labeled as homeopathic.)

As it turns out, they weren't very homeopathic, and the health news website STAT had a long article in February detailing the many hundreds of children who were injured (and the 10 children who died) by the belladonna (a poison!) that was used as the active ingredient in these tablets.

As a parent and a scientist (and someone who works around the pharmaceutical manufacturing space), I am saddened and angered that non-homogeneous blending was the final hole in the Swiss cheese that allowed these poisonous tablets to be released to the public.

(Don't miss the "limited photography" section in the warning letter: "Your consultant impeded the inspection by preventing our investigator from photographing this piece of equipment.")

This week's C&EN

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

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 238 positions

The 2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 238 positions.

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

Want to talk anonymously? Try the open thread.

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

Staff scientist: Purdue University, energetic materials, West Lafayette, IN

From the inbox, a staff scientist position:
As Research Scientist located at Zucrow Labs, you will carry out research and administrative duties beyond the scope of individual students and post-docs in the synthesis, formulation, and characterization of energetic materials. You will utilize your expertise to improve the technical expertise of the College of Engineering Pre-Eminent Team in Energetic Materials, and develop new research avenues utilizing existing and improved experimental resources. 
Full listing here. Best wishes to those interested.