Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What's it like for a Greek chemist these days?

Any anecdotes about life in Greece for an academic or industrial chemist right about now?

Gotta say, the announcement of a bank holiday was rather surprising to me, although it probably should not have been. But I could have sworn I heard news reports over the weekend claiming that there was little likelihood of such a thing.

Any bold predictions as to how this all will play out? I foresee continued muddling through, but I could be wrong. 

I kind of love this comment

I figured H1B out during a post-doc many years ago when I worked for this douchebag [redacted]. I was the only American, which was fine, I really enjoyed the internationals. However, after a few months of 6x12h days, plus an appearance on Sunday, I had enough. My salary was 23k per year. 
The last straw was him berating me for not taking his suggestion of switching the solvent to DMF in making a dianion with NaH and nBuLi. Then he yelled at me for enlisting the help of a graduate student who had nothing to work on. I took the keys to the lab off my keychain and marched into his office and gave him the immortal words of Johnny Paycheck "Take this job and shove it."  
I took a few weeks off and went fishing and worked various manual labor jobs and got back in amazing physical shape. I really enjoyed that summer. This was followed by an adjunct stint. I eventually found my way back to a science career, but in a non-traditional path. The thing that struck me the most was the despondency and lack of options of the post-docs who remained. Apparently I was treated well compared to the internationals, or so the American grad students told me. Of course they had to take it, it was not like they could tell him to F off. 
There really is a shortage of people who are highly intelligent and well educated in a notoriously difficult discipline who are ready to be treated like excrement on a daily basis for the wages of migrant tomato pickers.
 A Real American Hero. 

Daily Pump Trap: 6/30/15 edition

A few of the positions posted on C&EN Jobs:

North Brunswick, NJ: Chromocell Corporation is looking for a Chemical Operations Head; Ph.D. with 10 years experience desired.

Decatur, IL: ADM looking for an experienced Ph.D. chemist to be the manager for their thermochemical catalysis program.

Irvine, CA: Interesting to see what an Allergan biologics process development position looks like; M.S./Ph.D. and a couple years of experience.

Burlington, MA: Flexion Therapeutics looking for a CMC director. B.S./M.S./Ph.D. with experience.

Dexter, MI: Never heard of Berry & Associates before, but it looks like they're looking for a bench chemist?

Little lost lamb: I see we're advertising for dental assistants now. You could tell them all about apatite and fluoroapatite. 

Ivory Filter Flask: 6/30/15 edition

A few of the academically-related postings on C&EN Jobs:

Stevenson, MD: Stevenson University looking for a lecturer in organic chemistry; M.S./Ph.D. desired.

Irvine, CA: UC-Irvine looking for a mass spectrometry facility manager.

Last minute faculty member: Carroll Community College (Westminster, MD) is looking for a full-time chemistry instructor. Check out this full disclosure:
Generally, the College places new faculty at the rank of instructor, where the minimum based salary range is $39,515 - $50,425.  
One-half of reasonable travel expenses are paid by the college for the first visit. The entire cost of travel for the second interview is paid by the College. The College does not pay for relocation expenses, nor does the College have tenure. However, following a one-year probationary period, year-to-year contracts are provided until three years of satisfactory service are completed, after which time 3-year contracts are provided.
 W00t! (Yeesh.) 

Monday, June 29, 2015

The 2014 ACS Starting Salary Survey is out

Credit: C&EN, 2014 ACS Starting Salary Survey
The 2014 ACS Starting Salary Survey is out; it's a look at 2014 graduates, conducted in October and November of last year. Here's Linda Wang and Sophie Rovner's article on the issue and here's a link to the report itself (ACS membership required).

Some comments on the topline data: 
  • Unemployment of 2014 B.S. chemistry graduates was 12.4%, down from 14.9% in 2013. Good news. 
  • Full-time and part-employment of B.S. chemistry graduates was basically flat, with 38% with permanent, full-time positions  (37% in 2013) and 9% with part-time positions (same as 2013). 
  • Median starting salaries were up/flat for B.S. chemistry graduates to $40,000 (up from 2013's 39,600.) Median starting salaries were down for M.S. grads at $52,000 (down from $55,000 in 2013) and for Ph.D. graduates $62,000 (down from 2013's $75,800.) 
    • All salaries fell in measurement from 2005 constant dollars. 
  • Women were 52% of B.S. chemistry graduate respondents.
  • The pay gap between male and female respondents was pretty steep around 17%. 
What is noticeable to me is the relative drop in the number of students going to graduate or professional school, which reached a peak in 2009 and 2010 at 46% of students. It's 35% now, which I figure is within 2-5% of the Natural Rate of Progression to Graduate School.*  

Also, how is academia hiring in all of these B.S./M.S. chemistry graduates? Academia was the largest employer at 34% of B.S. chemists, 47% of M.S. chemists and 51% of Ph.D.s. While this is understandable for Ph.D. chemists, what about the non-Ph.D.s - are they research assistants?

Finally, as always with the Starting Salary Survey, the Eka-silicon caveat: the response rate for the 2014 ACS Starting Salary Survey was 16.4%. This is quite low, which brings into question how representative the data is of all 2014 chemistry graduates. 

This survey was performed by Gareth Edwards of the ACS Department of Research & Market Insights; he is to be commended for his continued work on this survey. 

*I'm going to register NRPGS as a trademarked acronym, kinda like Friedman and NAIRU. 

Job posting: synthetic organic chemists, Columbus, Ohio

From the inbox, QuantaBiodesign, a manufacturer of discrete polyethylene glycol (dPEG®) derivatives in Plain City, Ohio (near Columbus):
We are looking for two candidates. One candidate will need a B.S. or M.S. degree in chemistry. The other candidate will need an M.S. or Ph.D. in chemistry. The work will involve lots of organic chemistry at scales ranging from milligrams to multi-kilograms, so the successful candidate needs to have demonstrably strong organic chemistry skills, and it would help to have strong process chemistry experience. Production schedules are usually tight, and priorities shift rather frequently, so the abilities to manage time effectively and to shift focus quickly from one project to another will be assets also.
The posting is here; information about the company can be found here, here and the product catalog for the company is here. Interested? E-mail an application to jobs@quantabiodesign.com; please no phone calls. 

What is this letter saying?

Also in C&EN, this letter:
The DuPont-Trian controversy had far more substance than you reported in your editorial (C&EN, May 25, page 5). You should reexamine two premises: first, that R&D performance is measured by R&D spending, and second, that long-term performance is independent from short-term performance. 
Other venerable companies have had great R&D reputations but have been unable to adequately monetize R&D spending. Bell Labs, 3M, Merck & Co., and Pfizer come to mind. I think you recognize that DuPont’s migration to life sciences is a business activity where the DuPont know-how has been acquired rather than developed in-house at DuPont’s labs. DuPont has been on a long-term acquisition spree precisely because its labs haven’t delivered adequate results. 
Poorly performing companies always complain that investors focus on short-term results when the companies in question have performed poorly in the short term. These same companies have been challenged because they have not only per-formed poorly short term but also performed poorly long term. A company performing well long term is invariably performing well also in the short term. You can’t succeed in the long term without also succeeding in the short term. 
I praise Ellen Kullman for substantially improving DuPont’s long-term performance. Whether that success has been adequate remains a fair question. 
Tony Pavone
Half Moon Bay, Calif. 
I've spent nearly 30 minutes puzzling over it, and I still don't know what it means. Is it a critique of corporate internal R&D? 

This week's C&EN

A few articles from this week's C&EN:

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A guest poem: "Low lies my natural product", by NeHeNTh

[Hello there, it's CJ, with a guest poem by a respected reader of the blog, NeHeNTh]

AH, broken is the NMR tube!
The miniscule sample contaminated forever!
Spilled on the benchtop! — not even half a milligram
When the grease in the proton is accounted for!
And let the notebook page be smudged —
With the tears of my frustration —
A dirge for the eighteen months of my life
That ever were so wasted!
And, compassionate advisor,
Hast thou no tear?
Weep now or nevermore!
See, on yon Kimwipe
And ethyl acetate-filled Erlenmeyer,
Low lies my natural product.

with apologies, one suspects, to Edgar Allan Poe. 

Daily Pump Trap: 6/26/15 edition

A few of this week's C&EN Jobs posting: 

Chicago, IL: AbbVie is looking for a Ph.D. with 0-5 years or M.S. with 8 years experience for an analytical chemistry position for work on API process development.

Chattanooga, TN: Chattem Chemicals is searching for a M.S. chemist for scale-up work; 0-2 years experience desired, with cGMP experience? Yeah, that's gonna happen. 

Watertown, MA: Enanta Pharmaceuticals is looking for a Ph.D. bioanalytical chemist. 

Dhahran, Saudi Arabia: I see Saudi Aramco has posted 3 petroleum industry positions. 

"Silicon Valley, CA": DigiLens is a company searching for a development chemist who has "[d]irect, hands-on experience with organic materials including polymers or liquid crystals."

Ennis, TX: GAF is looking for an experienced chemist to work on PVC research; B.S. w/10 years, M.S. w/5 years or Ph.D. w/2 years experience desired. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

"A time machine"

Credit: a Chemjobber correspondent
From the inbox, a question in a survey of graduate students in STEM from NPG. That's sort of funny, but not really. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Do you put "Ph.D." behind your signature when signing documents?

A great question from chemistry Reddit user "packpeach", who asks:
...do you include PhD in your signature at work? I get that if it's an informal email/letter/note/memo you sound like an ass if you sign PhD but if you're signing something official is it okay to sign it after your name?
I sign batch production records routinely and that sort of thing routinely, and I don't put "Ph.D." behind my signature.  No one else does, either. I don't remember what my professors did in graduate school, when they were signing theses and the like. Maybe they did? I should go and look.

Also, what's your e-mail signature look like? Mine's the typical:
[CJ Chemjobber]
Research chemist
Forest City Chemicals
Every now and again, I'll add the "CJ Chemjobber, Ph.D." when I am writing more official e-mails to customers or vendors from whom I'm trying to get quotes from or something. Readers?

"Be well, Wallingford"

Lenina Huxley, MBA: "You do not recognize that Cambridge was the only Biotech Hotspot to survive the Pharma Wars."

John Spartan, Ph.D.: "So?"

Lenina Huxley, MBA: "So, all pharma is done in Cambridge."

(apologies to one of my favorite nineties movies, "Demolition Man."

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Warning Letter of the Week: Dust on the Instrument edition

Pharmalot spotted a warning letter to an oxygen supplier named TransOx and it's pretty funny:
Records indicated the company supposedly used an oxygen analyzer to obtain test results. But the FDA inspector displayed a Sherlock Holmesian propensity for uncovering discrepancies. The inspector spotted cobwebs running from the portable oxygen analyzer to an adjacent wall, according to the letter. In other words, the analyzer had not been used for, well, a while. 
The Trans Ox general manager then acknowledged the analyzer is not used, the warning letter states.
Here's the text from the letter itself:
During our inspection of your facility, we documented multiple incidents of inaccurate batch production records containing erroneous statements, including results that were not derived from analytical testing or from your supplier’s Certificates of Analysis (CoAs).

According to your batch production records, your results were obtained from a “Post Fill Purity Test.” The records are labeled “ANALYTICAL RESULTS OBTAINED BY USING THE [redacted] OXYGEN ANALYZER.” However, on November 13, 2014, the FDA investigator observed cobwebs between the portable [redacted] Oxygen Analyzer and the adjacent wall. The general manager stated that your firm does not use the [redacted] Oxygen Analyzer, which directly contradicts your batch production records.

Further, on November 13, 2014, our investigator reviewed a number of batch records and asked you why all the analytical results reported on these batch production records were identical. Although your batch production records indicate that analytical results were obtained from the [redacted] Oxygen Analyzer, you responded to the investigator’s question by stating that the values were actually obtained from your supplier’s CoAs. However, the values reported on multiple batch production records disagree with the CoAs for those lots.

a)    For instance, the batch production record for your lot 011514 (supplier lot 515244) states your purity test result on the (b)(4) Oxygen Analyzer was 99.9%. In contrast, the CoA for supplier lot 515244, dated December 23, 2013, states 99.74% purity....

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Anyone use job searching wikis for faculty searches?

From the inbox, a link to this Karen Kelsky piece over at The Chronicle of Higher Education, where she talks about academic search wikis. I know that we've tried something like that in the past here; looks like there's been limited success for chemistry professorships over there too.

Is there already such resources out there? I know See Arr Oh has the "hired" list (incidentally, you should check out some of the number crunching he has been doing.) 

"Transferable skills"

I've set myself a Google Alert for the term "transferable skills." I see a lot of usage in terms of former members of the U.S. military - here's a recent one where the fellow was a sniper team leader, and now he's involved in a window blinds business.

Interesting how these phrases come and go. 

Ivory Filter Flask: 6/23/15 edition

A few of the academically-related positions on C&EN Jobs right now:

Eureka, IL: Eureka College is looking for two visiting assistant professors, one in organic chemistry and the other in physical chemistry.

Thuwal, Saudi Arabia: I see KAUST is looking for a couple of postdocs right now.

Oxford, MS: The University of Mississippi is looking for an "instructional assistant professor"; "This is a permanent non-tenure track academic position with an anticipated start date of August 2015." Sounds like a lecturer/lab coordinator position?

Chicago, IL: Loyola University is looking for an M.S./Ph.D. analytical chemist to perform soil sample analysis at their new "Institute of Environmental Sustainability." Looks to be a 3-year, potentially renewable contract.

Singapore: The National Institute of Education is looking for a tenure-track assistant professor in inorganic chemistry.

Hattiesburg, MS: The University of Southern Mississippi is looking for a senior laboratory coordinator. M.S. desired, $50,000 offered. (not bad?) 

Monday, June 22, 2015

A little bit of doubt would be in order here, I feel

I tend to buy into the neonicotinoid hypothesis for problems with bee populations within the United States. That's the focus of this recent long article in New York magazine as well. There was a long complaint at the end of the article focused on the stovepiped regulations of human-pesticide interactions, something that I have some sympathy for*. But then there was this passage, where the article's main protagonist, a bee farmer, goes a bit off the rails: 
He pauses. “My wife … did I tell you about the insect-bite deal?” He hadn’t. “About four years ago, about this time, she gets a bite. She doctored it, and it seemed to get a little better, but probably a couple of weeks later it just starts going bananas. I said, ‘We must have a dead mouse or something.’ She goes, ‘No, it’s my leg.’ Yellow crap was just oozing out through her skin. She goes to the doctor, and the doctor sends her to a dermatologist at Geisinger Medical Center, which is the Mayo Clinic of the East. 
The dermatologist there said, ‘My boss, the chief dermatologist, would like to visit you.’ He said, ‘First of all, well, you know you had an insect bite, probably a mosquito bite.’ He said you got an infection and something got in there. Then he said, ‘Do you play golf?’ No. ‘Do you have your lawn treated?’ No. ‘Do your grandchildren play sports?’ Yep. ‘Do you walk on the field?’ Oh, yeah. ‘That’s probably pesticide poisoning that caused that.’ ” 
Hackenberg takes a breath. “She almost lost her leg. That’s how bad it was.” He trails off. 
I am sure there are pesticides that can cause tissue damage with sufficient exposure, but something tells me that you need a lot of pesticide exposure to make that happen.

(What's the mechanism for it, anyway? That the mosquito was full of pesticide, and then it bit her leg and then it transferred to her leg and that's what caused it?)

*Regulations of anything within the United States tends to be a weird hodgepodge of city, county, state and federal laws. No one seems to know anything, and no government official tends to go out of their way to make sure that general citizens, businesses or anyone can have a full and complete understanding of what's legal and what's not. Heck of a way to run a railroad. 

Interesting set of comments about Indiana jobs in chemistry

Also from this week's C&EN, Alex Scott talks about Vertellus, a fine chemical manufacturer: 
Vertellus doesn’t have any blockbuster products coming through its R&D pipeline. Rather, “there are lots of niche new product opportunities such as new applications of existing products,” Preziotti says. The firm has between 20 and 30 research projects under way at any one time. 
About 50 engineering and research scientists work in Vertellus labs in Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, and the U.K. Additionally, the company has a global team of more than 70 quality-control experts, including analytical chemists. 
The firm considers itself well-placed geographically for recruiting new scientists. Indiana universities on which it draws include Purdue and Notre Dame. The other major hirer of chemists in Indianapolis is pharma company Eli Lilly & Co. Although Vertellus has lost some good chemical engineers to the fracking and petrochemicals boom taking place along the Gulf Coast, it has been able to attract some scientists from Lilly. 
One researcher to cross over is senior research scientist David Hay. At Lilly, Hay recalls, he would work on a narrow slice of a project and then hand it over to another department. But at Vertellus, he is involved from the beginning of a project to the end and even on to the plant stage when full-scale production begins. “It is both rewarding and thrilling to be actively involved in every step of the process,” he says.
It would be very interesting to know what the overall exodus from Lilly has been over the years, and where those scientists have ended up. Something tells me that most of them have left the state, but I dunno.

UPDATE: I am somewhat amused to note that Vertellus has no current openings for chemists. 

This week's C&EN

A few of the stories from this week's C&EN:

Friday, June 19, 2015

Failure: a poem

[clears throat]


by Chemjobber

The literature brings forth innumerable procedures to torture a chemist

A chemist has nothing good to report to their managers

Fail Fail Fail Fail Fail Fail Fail

This was written in the style of the Seven Kill Stele, a stone rumored to be set up by 17th-century Chinese rebel leader Chang Hsien-chung. 

Food/beverage scale-up references?

A frequent correspondent writes in: 
Hey CJ, 
I'm in the unusual situation of helping a friend start up their own soda company.   
I'm being brought in right at the transition from a basic home operation to scale up in larger than garage scale operation.  Given that this is a big transition for me from academic research, I was hoping that you or your readers might have suggestions for books/readings on food and beverage chemistry where it pertains to scale, etc.  Also, any readings that people would recommend for governmental oversight, etc. would be helpful.   
We want to get this right.   
My suggestion is to go to your local ag school, talk to some food science professors. Other than that, no idea. Readers?  

Daily Pump Trap: 6/18/15 edition

A few of the industrial positions posted on C&EN Jobs in the last week or so:

Warminster, PA: Gamry Instruments is an electrochemical instruments company; they're looking for a B.S. chemist to be a salesperson. Claimed salary is $60-70k.

Indianapolis, IN: Lilly looking for a senior bioanalytical chemist.

Huntington, WV: Remember Parabon? They're looking for a Ph.D. chemist to do research on their DNA nanotechnology.

Woburn, MA: I see Organix is trolling for recruiting Ph.D. chemists, both experienced and less so.

Hannibal, MO: Interesting to see what BASF looks for in a production manager for a pesticide plant.

And now for something different: I see the National Pork Board needs a Senior Vice President of Science and Technology.

A broader look: Monster, Careerbuilder, Indeed and USAjobs.gov show (respectively) "1000+", 646, 9588 and 22 positions for the search term "chemist." LinkedIn shows 759 positions for the job title "chemist", with 84 for "analytical chemist", 38 for "research chemist", 7 for "organic chemist", 4 for "medicinal chemist" and 2 for "synthetic chemist." 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

6-inch IKA stir plates

A collection of small useful things (links):
Readers, any other posts deserve attention? 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Got any advice for people facing a phone interview?

A correspondent asked if I have any advice for phone interviews. Surprisingly, I do not, although this post expresses some advice that I'm going to repeat below. So, without further ado, a few tips for those facing phone interviews:
1. Be a confident version of yourself.
2. Go over all the documents you've given them, be familiar with them.
3. Do some research on the people you've been talking to. (SciFinder searches are helpful for that.)
4. Find a private, quiet place to have the conversation.
5. Use a landline.
Typical questions for phone interviews are the classic "tell me a little about yourself", "tell me about some science you've done" or "what is your favorite animal?" (kidding)

Readers, any other tips?

UPDATE: See Arr Oh has great advice; I like his idea of a "gap analysis." I also like SJ's thoughts in the comments.

UPDATE 2: The correspondent notes that it's important to get time zones correct. Makes sense. 

Daily Pump Trap: 6/16/15 edition

Good morning! A few of the industrial positions posted on C&EN Jobs:

Middleton, WI: United Suppliers is looking for a B.S./M.S. research chemist; looks to be agricultural formulations.

Heh: I am terribly, terribly amused that both DrinkSavvy and Undercover Colors are in search of chemists.
DrinkSavvy: DrinkSavvy is a startup company that's currently collaborating with a top university in the development of a proprietary, patented material that integrates molecular sensors into straws, stirrers, and cups to detect "date-rape drugs" such as GHB, Ketamine, and Rohypnol in order to provide individuals with an indication of the presence of these illicit drugs in their beverages and, ultimately, end drug-facilitated crimes. We are currently searching for an experienced Ph.D. level Chemist / Materials Scientist with extensive experience in R&D and project management to fill the role of CTO.  
Undercover Colors: Undercover Colors is a Raleigh, NC technology startup developing nail polish that changes color when it comes in contact with date rape drugs in a spiked drink. The company, which has raised over $1 million and been featured on Good Morning America and The New York Times, is now looking to add a Senior Product Development Chemist to its team. 
The ideal candidate will have experience that spans conceptualization of novel analyte detection methods, experimental design for rigorous testing of the method, prototype design, and method validation. Additionally, the candidate should exhibit outstanding perseverance, critical thinking, and troubleshooting skills.
I'm pretty skeptical of both of these startups' claimed technology, but hey, that's what a startup is for!

Studio City, CA: PTP Group looking for a polymer chemist, seems like: "Head Research Chemist with PTP Group Americas, Inc. in Studio City to oversee a team of scientists and researchers conducting qualitative and quantitative chemical analyses and experiments relating to the
mechanical properties of PET-MTM resin."

Los Angeles, CA: Pharmaco-Kinesis Corporation is looking for a manager to develop their key technology:
Specifically, the candidate will guide the development of new platform procedures to optimally functionalize the Company’s biosensor with proteins and/or nucleic acids for use in the detection of target bio-conjugate molecules by electrical impedance measurements. The candidate will be expected to oversee operations of a wet chemistry laboratory and manage the activities of research assistants reporting to him/her.
Ph.D. in organic chemistry, electrochemical experience desired.

TIL "toxinology" is an actual word: Batelle (Frederick, MD) is looking for a M.S./Ph.D. toxinology research scientist.

Huh: Whoever "Ashley 332" is, she's wanting to hire a chemical technician. 

Postdoc: MNI, New Haven, CT

From the inbox, a postdoctoral position with MNI in New Haven, CT:
The purpose of this position is to discover and synthesize novel compounds (precursor and standard) which will be evaluated for their affinity or activity for specific receptors and ultimately might evaluated in animal or human studies. This is accomplished through conducting MNI’s own research as well as developing compounds from sponsors or collaborators. The Post Doctoral Fellow will also be responsible for preparation and quality control of various radiopharmaceuticals, for maintenance of the production and quality control laboratories. The role is critical in establishing MNI as a leader in the field and contributing to organizational growth through expansion into new areas of research.
I would like to know how much of this is research versus running the QC lab. Best wishes to those interested.

My concerns with industrial postdocs.

Postdoc: inorganic chemistry, University of Maryland, College Park

From the inbox, 3 available postdoctoral positions at the University of Maryland, College Park:: 
Three postdoctoral positions are available for molecular inorganic chemists to study the synthesis and characterization of transition metal and main-group metal cluster compounds and their properties. Candidates should possess excellent Schlenk techniques, general inorganic synthesis skills and be familiar with drybox procedures. 
Experience with multinuclear NMR spectroscopy, magnetic susceptibility, electron microscopy, and other physical / spectroscopic methods are desirable.  See references below for examples of projects.  Opportunities are available to interface with Federal and National Labs.  Competitive salary.  Please send a cover letter, CV and the names (and email addresses) of three references to Bryan Eichhorn (eichhorn@umd.edu). 
Related references:  
“K[Al4(PPh2)7PPh]: An Al(II) Phosphanide / Phosphinidene Intermediate on the Path to AlP Formation” Z. Anorg. Allg. Chem.,  2013, 639, 2558-2560.  DOI: 10.1002/zaac.201300359 
“The Surprising Acid-Base and Ion-Sequestration Chemistry of Sn94-: HSn93-, Ni@HSn93- and the Sn93- ion revisited” , J. Am. Chem. Soc.2012134, 9733-9740. DOI: 10.1021/ja3018797 
“Photoemission Studies and Electronic Properties of the Pt@Pb101-/2- and Pt@Pb121-/2- Anions” Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., 2011, 108, 14757–14762. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1105052108 
“Al4(PtBu2)6 – a derivative of Al4H6 - and other Al4 species: A challenge for bonding interpretation between Zintl ions and metalloid clusters”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2009, 131, 5698-5704.
 Best wishes to those interested. 

Ivory Filter Flask: 6/16/15 edition

Good morning! A few of the academically-related positions posted to C&EN Jobs:

Richmond, VA: Virginia Commonwealth University is looking for an assistant professor of forensic chemistry.

Berkeley, CA: UC-Berkeley is looking for a Ph.D. chemist to become the director of the NMR laboratory. Two years experience desired. Potential salary: $67,656 to $103,584.

Urbana, IL: UIUC is looking for a professor of materials research to become the director of the Materials Research Laboratory.

Fayetteville, AR: There's so much to weep about in this postdoc at the University of Arkansas:
The postdoctoral fellow will assist supervising research projects in membrane separations involving membrane surface engineering, developing novel membranes and membrane processes for water treatment and bio-separation..... This position is for one year only but can be extended to up to three years upon successful performance and mutual agreement. 
Minimum Qualifications: PhD in Chemistry/Chemical Engineering with three years of research experience in polymer science with regard to synthetic polymeric membranes and membrane-based separation processes.
3 years, 3 long years. (What is the median length of a postdoc these days, anyways?)

UPDATE: Interesting update from See Arr Oh on postdoc length from those who become faculty hires.

Last minute lecturer: Gustavus Adolphus College (St Peter, MN) is looking for a visiting assistant professor to teach just about everything (organic, gen chem, biochemistry) to start this September. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Quote of the day: "Too fast, Vasily"

From one of my favorite movies, The Hunt for Red October, when Captain Ramius is running away from the Soviet fleet through a series of undersea geological formations. The navigator complains to the executive officer:
Slavin (the navigator): Too fast, Vasily. Too fast. Those charts are laid out precisely... so many knots at such and such a course for so many seconds. And this thing handles like a pig.
I love the executive officer's response: "Watch your bearing, Mr. Slavin."

Why do plants flare?, answered: safety

Also in this week's C&EN, letters in response to the question asked a couple weeks ago about why plants flare off volatile gases: 
The answer to Allen Hoffman’s question, “Why does anyone flare anything ­anymore?” is that flares are part of safety systems (C&EN, April 27, page 2). Hoffman was referring to an article about oil refiners (C&EN, Jan. 26, page 27). 
When the quantity and/or rate of flammable and/or toxic materials is such that it can’t be handled by normal processing, it’s sent to a remote location flare to be safely burned. 
Any sudden process stream surge or diversion can potentially overwhelm or pressurize a scrubber or absorber and reduce its efficiency because the additional material is too great to contain as a result of high pressure, reactivity, concentration, and so on. What’s more, capturing such a stream into a larger, lower-pressure vessel risks explosion and is thus less desirable than immediately flaring it. Capture is more typically used if a thermal oxidizer or other destruction device is present to safely store the surge until it can be ­consumed. 
Consider the example of polymerizing butadiene into rubber. If the reaction runs away or doesn’t start, the only way to safely stop it is to flare off the butadiene. You cannot just stuff it back into bulk storage. 
Refinery streams are flammable generally and often contain H2S. Operators can’t simply let them go, potentially creating a boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion or a vapor cloud explosion. Even routine maintenance comes into play for using flares. Long pipelines of hazardous material eventually have to be cleared. Without flaring, where do you send the purge gas stream, since it will be toxic or could ignite? 
James A. Bozin
Clover, S.C. 
As I understand from more than 30 years as a process chemist with a major oil company, continuous flares are “pilot lights” in a properly designed pressure relief system for a refinery or petrochemical unit. 
The normal load of combustible by-products is used for heat and power. However, the pressure relief valves on a unit are piped to the flare stack. When a release occurs, the hydrocarbons are burned off in a controlled fashion, with reliable ignition provided by the flare. If pressure relief valves are released without these precautions, hydrocarbons might accumulate where they could form explosive mixtures with air. Upstream of the flare, these hydrocarbons would be too rich to burn. 
Maybe the reliable ignition provided by the flare can one day be superseded by a rapid, computer-controlled igniter, as it is in my home gas furnace. But until then, flares are an important part of plant safety systems. 
Joseph P. Bartek
Wheaton, Ill.
There's a "Chesterton's Fence" analogy in here somewhere. 

This week's C&EN

A few articles from this week's C&EN:

Friday, June 12, 2015

Busy today, but...

I think I'm gonna do a old-fashioned links post before the day ends (I hope), but I did want to point out this funny little bit from ACS Denver. A speaker talking about COextraction of THC [1] in the session on chemical health and safety in the cannabis industry had this little exchange with the audience (registration required, rush transcript by CJ, it starts at 13:20 (thanks, Mitch!)): 
Speaker: Um, so, I believe in no chemicals. CO2 allows us to avoid chemicals.  
Audience, almost as one: CO2 is a chemical.  
Speaker: I would say "no harmful chemicals" 
[Audience murmuring, like a hive of angry bees] 
Audience member: This is the American Chemical Society.  
Speaker: OK, everything is a chemical - you got me good there. 
Got a suggestion of an article that you enjoyed recently? Put it in the comments! Want me to cover a topic? Got a complaint? Today's a good day for that.

[1] Cahoj, A. "Safety and health standard of cannabis extractions with an emphasis on C02 (CHAS5)" Lecture ID: 2131522

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

If you are a NMR type, do not click on this link

Source of photo
"A worker on the fluid line walked around behind the 500 carrying a welding pack with nozzle and gas tanks. He held the unit on the side of his body away from the magnet and walked as far as possible (about 3 feet) away. The field grabbed the bottles, pulled them out of his hand, and under the magnet, striking the shim plate. The force on the bottles twisted his arm behind him, and then pulled the bottles out of his hand. No one was injured."
My condolences to all involved. Guessing a replacement Bruker quote will be higher than it would have been two years ago.

(Obligatory economics joke: perhaps Bruker was paying the welder?)

Lab smells, revised

revised for accuracy and experience

The 5 6 steps of a lab smell detector: 
1. What is that smell? Hey, do you smell that?
2. What the (**&(*& is that $#$#$!! smell?
3. Did something crawl in your hood and die?
4. Is this thing toxic? Do you have a SDS?
5. You $#$#$#!!! moron! Did you try bleach?
6. Dude, you stink. Go away. 
The 5 6 stages of a lab smell generator:
1. What smell? I don't smell anything.
2. Okay, it's not that bad.
3. Seriously, how much of a wimp are you? I've smelled things much worse.
4. Look, the odor threshold is far, far, far lower than the toxicity. It just smells bad, that's all.
5. Yes, I've heard about the #$$%! smell. Yes, I closed the doors to my hood.
6. What smell? I don't smell nothin'.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Job posting: Valspar, Minneapolis, MN

From the inbox, two chemistry-related positions at Valspar in Minneapolis, a materials science position and an analytical chemist position. 

Daily Pump Trap: 6/9/15

A few of the positions posted recently on C&EN Jobs:

Berkeley, CA: The Molecular Foundry of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories is looking for a director for its synthesis (organic and polymer) core facility. Pretty cool position, if you ask me. 

La Jolla, CA: Looks like Calibr (love the lack of a E) is looking for principal investigators with 5-15 years of experience in the industry. Why an insistence on a Ph.D.?

North Brunswick, NJ: I was not aware of a company called Chromocell, but they have two positions, one for a chemical operations head and another for a senior research scientist.

Another from the Garden State: Colgate-Palmolive (Piscataway, NJ) is looking for a senior scientist for colloid-related product development (?).

Dublin, CA: Valent Corporation is looking for a M.S./Ph.D. formulation chemist.

Conshohocken, PA: Quaker Chemical Corporation desires a TSCA specialist. 

PhD studentship at the University of Southampton

From the inbox, a PhD studentship at the University of Southampton:
It is co-funded by EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training, University of Southampton and Merck. It is due to start in September 2015 and is open to applicants from EU countries.
Description: This PhD project will use first principles quantum mechanical calculations to provide a detailed atomic-level understanding of OPV materials and models of bulk heterojunctions on a far larger scale than possible before by using the ONETEP program for linear-scaling first principles quantum mechanical calculations. The studies will utilise several of the capabilities of ONETEP, such as structure optimizations and molecular dynamics simulations of assemblies of oligomer chains with fullerenes, to elucidate the dependence of polymers' IP, EA and Eg on chain length and proximity of fullerene; as well as relationships between molecular structure and packing. The simulations will also involve excited state calculations on polymer chains and polymer-fullerene assemblies, to build a realistic model of light harvesting and charge generation. As state-of-the-art and emerging simulation technologies will be used for this work it is expected that the project will also involve some method development within the ONETEP code.
Interested? Link here. 

Ivory Filter Flask: 6/9/15 edition

A few of the academically-related positions at C&EN Jobs:

Berlin, Germany: Freie Universität Berlin is looking for what seems to be an assistant professorship in fluoroorganic chemistry.

Princeton, New Jersey: Interesting to me that Princeton is looking for an experienced lecturer in chemical biology, among other subjects.

Flagstaff, AZ: Northern Arizona University desires a lecturer in general chemistry and biochemistry; 47-50k offered. Probably a decent salary for the area? Relo offered - w00t!

Cambridge, MA: Harvard University is looking for a "preceptor in chemisty" - is that a fancy way of saying "undergraduate laboratory coordinator"? No educational requirement, which is interesting. Renewable for up to 8 years!

Bethlehem, PA: Lehigh University wishes to hire a M.S./Ph.D. chemist to be a director of instrumentation. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Quote of the day: Robert Rogers on fibbing

From Major Robert Rogers' 20 standing orders:
4. Tell the truth about what you see and what you do. There is an army depending on us for correct information. You can lie all you please when you tell other folks about the Rangers, but don't never lie to a Ranger or officer.
Quite so.

CAS buzzword bingo blackout

Also in this week's C&EN, an interview with the new head of CAS, Manuel Guzman with the editor-in-chief of C&EN, Bibiana Campos Seijo:
C&EN: You’ve now been president of CAS for more than 18 months. How has CAS changed in that time? 
...So if we want to continue to serve researchers around the globe as effectively as possible while providing the society with steady growth in financial contribution, we have to be able to provide other value-added services to expedite scientific discoveries. The transformation moves CAS away from a pure publisher, whether in print or digital format, to become a full-service information solutions provider, which includes content as well as workflow solutions or tools that managers can use to make informed decisions.... 
C&EN: What are the main hurdles or challenges that CAS faces to achieve your growth objectives? 
Guzman: The only inhibitor is our own ability to execute. We are challenging the organization to think differently, more strategically, about how to build, deliver, and sell solutions. We are challenging folks to think outside the box in terms of product models and the types of resources, investment, and talent that it takes to achieve those product visions. And this is part of the transformation as well. 
From a market perspective, we are fortunate that many of the areas where we see opportunities are highly fragmented in terms of the competition. So there are not necessarily dominant players today, and we are able to leverage the strong reputation of CAS and our brands in the chemical information space to venture into these other markets.
Lots of buzzwords in there. I figure this has something to do with rolling out new products or making SciFinder better? "Tools for managers" is not what I think of, when I think about CAS. "Information tools for chemists?" Sure.

That "NCI Global" program sounds intriguing to those in the chemical manufacturing industry, though. 

Interesting comment on new research and the need for jobs

Also in this week's C&EN, a cover story on carbon nanotubes by Matt Davenport, including this interesting line: 
Phaedon Avouris also worries about young scientists entering materials research. Avouris, who was Collins’s postdoctoral adviser, performed some of the first experiments characterizing nanotubes at IBM. “It’s very hard to tell young people to ignore the hype,” he says. “We have too many people that follow fashion and patterns rather than their own passions.” 
Today, when scientists focus on studying a new material, there is a rush to characterize it, publish papers about its properties in prominent journals, and then move on to a different material, Avouris says. “We’re left with a lot of unfinished work and unproven claims,” he tells C&EN. Researchers develop a fundamental understanding of materials but not how to use them. “Few people are willing to work on the hard problems that will bring applications.” 
Avouris adds that many students are drawn to this brand of “novel materials” research with the perceived promise of a high-profile paper, which would look great on a résumé. “You can’t blame them,” he says. “They need to get jobs.”
Don't we all?  

This week's C&EN

A few stories from this week's issue:

Friday, June 5, 2015

NMR love, by Chemjobber

(clears throat)

NMR love

by Chemjobber

Instrument, I come to you 20 times a day

like a crazy monkey lover:

in and out, in and out, in and out.

The hissing of the compressed air announces


or defeat.

And you, you hardly ever break down

(except when you do)

(I forgive you.)

Oh how I love to polish the outside of your magnet.

Instrument, please come home with me tonight.

I’ll scrub off all the stains,

the compounds from the broken tubes.

I’m tired of being your part-time lover.

Let me carry you off

into the night on my pickup truck.

That postdoc from the other lab,

I know he smells

and doesn't shim you right.

This poem is an adaptation of Jim Daniels' "Factory Love." To him, I owe an apology. 

To hear him read some pretty good poems, click here for his recent appearance on A Prairie Home Companion. (Honestly, I'm not really a big Garrison Keillor fan, nor a fan of modern poetry, but I did like his poems.) 

Job posting: Postdoctoral Fellow (Medicinal Chemistry), Crinetics, San Diego, CA

We have an exciting postdoctoral fellowship position available in our company. This individual will join our medicinal chemistry team to discover small molecule therapeutics using medicinal chemistry approaches. This is an excellent opportunity for an organic chemist to learn medicinal chemistry and the strategies of compound-to-drug optimization in a fast-paced industrial environment. 
PhD in Organic Chemistry with strong synthetic chemistry training, self-motivated with proven track record of accomplishments in organic chemistry and excellent oral and written communication skills. Authorization to work in the United States is required. 
Crinetics Pharmaceuticals Inc. (www.crinetics.com) is an early-stage company located in the heart of the San Diego biotechnology community that discovers and develops novel therapeutics targeting peptide hormone receptors for the treatment of endocrine-related diseases and cancers. Crinetics is an employee-owned company founded and operated by a team of scientists with a proven track record of drug discovery and development for endocrine diseases and women’s health. Benefits include health insurance and stock options. Crinetics is a pet-friendly workplace. 
To apply, please email CV to hr@crinetics.com.
Link here. Sounds like it could turn into something more (why not "probationary senior scientist"?). If it's a postdoc, will they be allowed to publish? [ed: Never mind that, CJ, just tell the folks at home, so they can decide.]

As I recall, there's some decent Asian food further on down Mira Mesa Boulevard, so there's that. 

ChemDraw's throwing a party

Boston-area readers, you may be interested to know that ChemDraw is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a symposium on June 25. Lots of big names on the list, including the chemblogosphere's own Derek Lowe, Professor David Evans and the ChemDraw Wizard, Pierre Morieux. 

Huh, no kidding

From a Bloomberg Businessweek story about Gilead and the cost of Sovaldi and Harvoni, an interesting little story about the CEO of Gilead, John C. Martin: 
The son of husband-and-wife chemists, Martin received his doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of Chicago and then, before the age of 30, invented a drug that proved helpful in ameliorating certain HIV symptoms. He has received the prestigious Isbell Award from the American Chemical Society and in 2008 was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering. In an interview in his Spartan corner office at Gilead’s headquarters south of San Francisco, the media-averse Martin slouches, swallows his words, and rubs his head until his brown hair resembles a well-trafficked bird’s nest. 
He gets up from the conference table to retrieve a visual aid: Several chapters in Nucleotide Analogues as Antiviral Agents, a 1989 collection he edited, describe research that has since contributed to FDA-approved drugs. Picking up a green marker and moving to a whiteboard, Martin, 64, seems to relax. He sketches the intricate molecular structure of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. Useful for treating HIV, he explains, this “reverse transcriptase inhibitor” put Gilead on the map in 2001. Using the drug’s trade name, he adds: “That’s Viread!”
Of all the Big Pharma chemist CEOs, somehow I'm not surprised that Martin can still draw structures. Think John Lechleiter can do the same? 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Unhappiest Place on Earth

The New York Times has quite a remarkable story about H1b visa holders literally replacing IT workers at Disney: 
...Disney “made the difficult decision to eliminate certain positions, including yours” as a result of “the transition of your work to a managed service provider,” said a contract presented to employees on the day the layoffs were announced. It offered a “stay bonus” of 10 percent of severance pay if they remained for 90 days. But the bonus was contingent on “the continued satisfactory performance of your job duties.” For many, that involved training a replacement. Young immigrants from India took the seats at their computer stations. 
“The first 30 days was all capturing what I did,” said the American in his 40s, who worked 10 years in his Disney job. “The next 30 days they worked side by side with me, and the last 30 days they took over my job completely.” To receive his severance bonus, he said, “I had to make sure they were doing my job correctly.” 
In late November, this former employee received his annual performance review, which he provided to The New York Times. His supervisor, who was not aware the man was scheduled for layoff, wrote that because of his superior skills and “outstanding” work, he had saved the company thousands of dollars. The supervisor added that he was looking forward to another highly productive year of having the employee on the team. 
The employee got a raise. His severance pay had to be recalculated to include it. 
The former Disney employee who is 57 worked in project management and software development. His résumé lists a top-level skill certification and command of seven operating systems, 15 program languages and more than two dozen other applications and media. 
“I was forced into early retirement,” he said. The timing was “horrible,” he said, because his wife recently had a medical emergency with expensive bills. Shut out of Disney, he is looking for a new job elsewhere. 
Former employees said many immigrants who arrived were younger technicians with limited data skills who did not speak English fluently and had to be instructed in the basics of the work....
I gotta say, I have been skeptical of stories like this. Not anymore, I guess.

American Chemistry Council: "This economy is vulnerable."

Via ICIS, the cheery folks at the American Chemistry Council (the trade group representing the chemical industry) are making predictions for the US economy in 2016 and 2017: 
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (ICIS) -- The US economy will maintain growth below 3%, leaving it vulnerable to shocks, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) said on Tuesday. 
The ACC discussed the US economy in its mid-year outlook, released during the group's annual meeting. The US economy should grow by 2.5% this year and 2.9% in 2016, the ACC said. GDP growth should reach 2.8% in 2017 and 2.7% in 2018. 
Such a growth rate will leave the US economy susceptible to shocks, the ACC said. "This economy is vulnerable."
Read the whole thing here. Interesting statistics in that article:
"The average age of a US vehicle on the road remains high, reaching levels not seen since the 1930s, said Kevin Swift, chief economist of the ACC. 
Automobiles are an important end market for the chemical industry since each light vehicle contains an average of nearly $3,500 worth of chemicals.... 
...As a result, housing demand will remain below the US long-term trend of 1.5m units until 2018, the ACC said. 
Housing is another key end market for the chemical industry, since each home has an average of $15,000 worth of chemistry."
Boy, I don't think we're going to see strong GDP growth any time soon...  

UC Berkeley safety report: student injured during explosion at UC Berkeley

No words needed.
Credit: UC-Berkeley EH&S.
Via a tweet by longtime chemblogosphere denizen Curt Fischer, a EH&S report from UC-Berkeley: 

Lesson Learned - Chemical Explosion Causes Eye Injury
What happened? 
A graduate student researcher was working at a laboratory bench synthesizing approximately one gram of diazonium perchlorate crystals. The student was transferring synthesized perchlorate using a metal spatula when the material exploded, sending porcelain fragments into his face. The fragments shattered the lenses of his eyeglasses and lacerated his left cornea. 
A researcher in an adjacent room assisted the student to the eyewash and called campus police. The student was taken to the hospital where he underwent surgery on his eye, and treatment for several facial lacerations. He was released from the hospital that same evening. 
What went right? 
The student was wearing a flame-resistant (FR) coat and nitrile gloves, as called for in the relevant SOP. 
The student had previously read and signed the relevant SOP, and had completed EHS 101: Laboratory Safety Fundamentals training. 
Emergency protocol was followed once the incident took place (eye wash, contacting emergency personnel). 
What should have been done differently? 
The student was not wearing ANSI-approved safety glasses as is called for in the SOP and in UC policy. 
The student was alone in the room while working with highly hazardous materials. 
The work was being performed on an open benchtop, without the use of a fume hood sash or blast shield. 
The transfer was performed using a metal spatula, while the SOP calls for use of a non-metal one.
Click here to read the entire report; it's worth your time. I have to say, I'm pretty shocked that an incident like this could have happened for a number of reasons:
  • Post-Sangji, I was under the impression that the UC system came down pretty hard on PPE issues. I guess not hard enough. 
  • Perhaps I'm naive, but I think the Preston Brown case is plenty instructive to energetic materials work and super-duper relevant to this case. Why weren't those lessons learned (don't make too much, wear the right PPE, use the right tools) in this case? 
I'd like to know when this case happened - I see that the report was issued "May 2015." That suggests that it's relatively recent, but who knows? 

Finally, as I am wont to do, I have to ask - where was the PI in this mess? How is it that the graduate student managed to do this? 

Academic chemical safety - we're not there yet. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Know any chemists working in industry in their 90s?

C&EN's Beth Halford would like to talk to a industry chemist (broadly defined) still working in their 90s.

Anyone have an idea? If so, contact B_Halford@acs/dot/org (note spam-proofing) 

Warning Letter of the Week: bacterial growth edition

From the good folks at Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, a love note to some folks in the Czech Republic:
...b.      In April 2014, your firm received a customer complaint concerning Bacillus spp. contamination of [redacted], API lot [redacted]. Your tests of the returned customer samples confirmed microbial contamination, including both high levels of bioburden and Bacillus spp. contamination.  During your investigation, your firm did not extend the investigation to any other batches potentially affected. In addition, deficient sampling procedures compromised your firm’s ability to detect the contamination your customer found. Your firm sampled [redacted] per batch and had no statistical justification that this sample was representative of the entire batch.

While your response focuses on detecting future contaminations prior to release, it fails to adequately identify the potential root causes of the contamination. Your response states that you have updated your Final Product Adjustment SOP and Product Homogenization SOP to add a step: [redacted], API. However, you have no data to support this will adequately remediate the contamination issues....
Oh, dear.

How many polymer chemists are there, anyway?

Also from this week's C&EN, the revised undergraduate guidelines from the ACS'  Committee on Professional Training:
...Other changes in the 2015 guidelines seek to improve student preparation for postbaccalaureate careers. However, the committee does not prescribe a one-size-fits-all curriculum for approved programs. Consider polymers, which are important to society and a major source of jobs for professional chemists. CPT debated the essential role of polymers in the curriculum for a certified degree. Most compelling to CPT is the fact that the properties of large molecules and aggregated systems are different from those of small molecules and that students need to understand these differences...
This reminds me of a recent piece by chemblogosphere stalwart John Spevacek, who wrote recently about the numbers of professional polymer chemists:
I finally hit some real paydirt when I looked at the federal government's tabulations. The Bureau of Labor Statistic (BLS) has collected all the relevant data and provides an accurate picture (open up the spreadsheet for chemists if you to see all the details). In 2012, there were just under 88,000 chemists. Of that number, 2100 worked in "Resin, synthetic rubber, and artificial synthetic fibers and filaments manufacturing", 1900 worked in "Paint, coating, and adhesive manufacturing", and 600 in "Plastics and rubber products manufacturing". That's 4600 in manufacturing. There are some broader categories that undoubtedly include polymer chemists, such as the nearly 18,000 that work in "Scientific research and development services", and the 4600 that work in "Educational services; state, local, and private". Even if everyone of these last two groups were all polymer chemists, that would still only total to 27,200 chemists, not even 31% of the total workforce. I think a more realistic number would be just 10% of those last two groups, which would be 2260 more for a grand total of 6860 chemists. This is not quite 8% of the workforce. 
It seems reasonable to me that undergraduates should get some exposure to polymer chemistry, but it is not clear to me that it's a "major source of jobs." The polymer industry is huge, to be sure, but the number of working polymer chemists is unclear. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

This week's C&EN

From this week's C&EN:

Monday, June 1, 2015

Are there chemistry jobs for ex-offenders?

A longtime friend of the blog asked a really interesting question: what aspect of chemistry employment or what field of chemistry would be most friendly to the ex-offender community?

I'm a bit stumped about this; the one thing I do remember is Linda Wang's 2007 article about UC Berkeley chemistry graduate students teaching prisoners in San Quentin.

I would imagine that jobs that require work around sensitive chemicals (scheduled drugs, for example) are out of the question. I presume that environmental/agricultural QC-type positions might be doable?

Readers, if you have suggestions, I would be interested in hearing them. Also, do you know someone who has spent some time in prison that has gotten a job as a chemist? 

IKA just does not stop

Via the Chemistry Reddit, I see that IKA is continuing its highly professional marketing techniques. 

Job posting: associate scientist, La Jolla, CA

From the inbox:
We are currently seeking a Associate Scientist to join our experienced drug discovery team in San Diego. This is a hands-on position within our DMPK group with responsibility to perform various in vitro and in vivo ADME studies to support small molecule drug discovery projects. The ideal candidate will have 4+ years of experience in aspects of LC-MS/MS based ADME assays. A strong team player who enjoys scientific discovery and has the ability to communicate and collaborate in an interdisciplinary and fast-paced environment is essential. 
* Perform a variety of in vitro ADME experiments such as liver microsomal incubation, solubility, plasma/blood stability, metabolic stability, CYP inhibition, etc.
* Interact and communicate professionally with supervisors, peers, and team members.
* Maintain proper documentation, such as laboratory notebooks and electronic report files.
 Interested? Contact JJ Yarlott at jjyarlott@biophaseinc.com; e-mail a CV in Word format.