Friday, September 10, 2010

A comparative timeline

Graphic modified from Mirkin Group website.

9 comments:

  1. I knew Phil got tenure fast, but 3 years is unreal. Full professor after 5? From what I've heard/read there were other schools chomping at the bit to snatch him away.

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  2. There are reasons I don't compare my career with that of, say, Chris Chang. I would like to finish grad school without having to take anti-depressants, thanks.

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  3. Any particular reason for isolating Phil, or just the general self-deprecating remarks that we all put ourselves through?

    More seriously, your timeline stops in 2008 (and Mirkin's stopped in 2005. What's up with that?

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  4. Well, I was telling my wife about the amazing* Phil Baran, and I noted that he was younger than me, and had achieved a hell of a lot more in a hell of a lot less time. Admiration, for sure.

    As for the timeline, I think getting to full professor (2008 for PSB) was a nice stopping point.

    *Really, I mean that.

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  5. Although having aspirations is good, you shouldn't be too self-deprecating in your comparison to Phil Baran. While he is, without question, one of the most talented organic chemists of his generation, the practical impact of his contributions have yet to match Fischer's, Brown's, Woodward's, etc. He didn't discover protecting-group-free synthesis or oxidative enolate coupling, even though he's deservedly received gratuitous praise for applying those methods. As with a select group of hot-shot faculty, he has reaped the benefits of not only his innate abilities but also his academic pedigree.

    While going through graduate school, I heard too many "shouldas, wouldas, couldas" from my peers and, on occasion, myself contributed a few. Those who chase the sun will NEVER find happiness. Why accumulate rergets along with debt in grad school?

    Congratulations for contributing to the field of chemistry, maintaining a stable marriage, and being a responsible parent. (Having never met you, I'll presume that the all parts of the preceding statement are true.) Many great chemists, regardless of discipline, have forsaken other aspects of life for the sake or the science (or, more likely, their egos). Even if you haven't completed the multigram, protecting-group free synthesis of watdaphukamine or developed yet another palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling, you still maintain an entertaining, albeit under-visited blog.

    Anyway, I'm not paying you lip service--besides, I wouldn't hava anything to gain!

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  6. Bless you, Anon352p, that's very kind.

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  7. @anon 9/15/10 - LOL watdaphukamine!!! Yeah, I totally agree with your points. For every prodigy, there must be thousands of "normal" yet capable scientists. Yet throughout history novel ideas have only found practical application through assiduous but mundane research. Sure, it's cool that some organic PIs have no problems landing a JACS, ACIE, PNAS, or whatever publication. Have any of them developed the perfect MAP/ERK inhibitor or rt semiconductor?

    Anyway, my PhD adviser (not PB) was AWESOME...a brilliant scientist yet cultured in other aspects too. He was a great teacher and not a slave-driver. Virtually everyone in the group busted ass (minimum 80 hours per week plus teaching) on his/her own volition. Still, our boss encouraged us to have lives outiside of lab - gasp! Can the same be said about all chemistry faculty?

    Chemjobber, admire PB for his chemistry...maybe his ripped arms and not much more. Is he even married? Although we synthetic nerds worship him and his ilk, I assume that many of your neighbors have never heard of palau'amine. As the previous poster who gave you props already hinted, you will always be a hero to your child(ren). Now that you're done with grad school, you also have the chance to make an impact in your community through secular and perhaps spiritual outlets, without having to use excess Fe(acac)3 or a Bruker Cryoprobe.

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  8. Mrs. Chemjobber here. Chemjobber is a fantastic father to our two tots and a wonderful and supportive partner to me. I am proud of all that he has accomplished. I couldn't have done it.

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  9. Do Charles Pedersen next time. Did his nobel prize winning work right before retirement. Did not have a PhD. important to remember there are many roads to having high impact in science. it just takes one deeply creative insight.

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