Friday, April 19, 2019

Badge holders

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!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs List: 339 positions

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs list (curated by Joel Walker and myself) has 339 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.)

27 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Over at Common Organic Chemistry, there's 15 new positions for April 17 and 12 new positions for April 15. 

The Analytical Chemistry Jobs List: 19 positions

The Analytical Chemistry Jobs List has 19 positions; this is curated by the ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry. Want to help out? Fill out this form. 

The Process Chemistry Jobs List: 297 positions

The Process Chemistry Jobs List has 297 positions.

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

Want to chat process jobs? Try the open thread. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Houston area DA charges Arkema plant logistics executive with assault

I bet this is pretty unusual:
A Texas grand jury on April 10 indicted chemicals manufacturer Arkema North America and one of its executives on assault charges, alleging they underplayed the dangers of a fire that injured two emergency workers called to the site during a fire. 
The U.S. arm of the French chemicals firm and its vice president of logistics, Michael Keough, were charged with “reckless assault” of two sheriff’s deputies by misrepresenting hazards of chemicals released during a fire after Hurricane Harvey, prosecutors said. 
“The reckless assault was the misrepresentation by a highly placed corporate official” of the dangers of organic peroxides that burned after the plant flooded, said Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg. A conviction carries a penalty of two years to 10 years, she said. 
Here's the press release from the Harris County DA. It's an interesting theory: i.e. by not giving the sheriff's deputies all the information they needed about the Arkema peroxides, when the deputies were exposed to the chemicals, it was Arkema who was at fault. I guess I'd like to know - what is the threshold for declaring felony assault as a result of a chemical release? A plume? A spill? How big?

While you can really extrapolate all sorts of interesting legal theories and precedents from this incident, I speculate that it is best understood as an indication of 1) the political ambitions of the DA, 2) the overall irritation of the Houston-area population at the disproportionately high number of chemical plants in the area.

(I am really curious to know - does the relevant VP of logistics live in Texas? because if not, he might want to move to France for a while... (I'm sure France has an extradition treaty with the US.) 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The 2019 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 578 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, April 15, 2019

Well, this is a scary article

As an experienced cyber first responder, Julian Gutmanis had been called plenty of times before to help companies deal with the fallout from cyberattacks. But when the Australian security consultant was summoned to a petrochemical plant in Saudi Arabia in the summer of 2017, what he found made his blood run cold. 
The hackers had deployed malicious software, or malware, that let them take over the plant’s safety instrumented systems. These physical controllers and their associated software are the last line of defense against life-threatening disasters. They are supposed to kick in if they detect dangerous conditions, returning processes to safe levels or shutting them down altogether by triggering things like shutoff valves and pressure-release mechanisms. 
The malware made it possible to take over these systems remotely. Had the intruders disabled or tampered with them, and then used other software to make equipment at the plant malfunction, the consequences could have been catastrophic. Fortunately, a flaw in the code gave the hackers away before they could do any harm. It triggered a response from a safety system in June 2017, which brought the plant to a halt. Then in August, several more systems were tripped, causing another shutdown...
I presume that we all knew these days were coming, once we heard about Stuxnet. It's still surprising to me that people figure out ways to connect their physical plant to the internet when there doesn't seem to be necessary, although sufficiently determined people can figure out how to jump air gaps. (At some point, does cybersecurity become a EH&S issue at large enough plants?)

Here's hoping that some kind of global treaty convinces people to take a step back from these situations... 

Job posting: Division Director, Division of Chemistry, National Science Foundation, Alexandria, VA

From the inbox, a position at the National Science Foundation:
The Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) announces a nationwide search to fill the position of Division Director, Division of Chemistry (CHE). Appointment to this Senior Executive Service position may be on a career basis, or on a one- to three-year limited-term basis, with a salary range of $165,842 to $175,400. Alternatively, the incumbent may be assigned under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) provisions. Information about the Division’s activities may be found at https://www.nsf.gov/div/index.jsp?div=CHE
The successful candidate will possess an established record of significant achievement in research administration as well as leadership responsibility in academe, industry or government. In addition to having a strong record of research and education accomplishments within his or her technical communities, the Division Director must be experienced and competent in technical, financial, and administrative management. He/she must work well with people, be an effective communicator, and act as a mentor to continuously develop the diversity of talents and skills of his or her colleagues at all levels. 
Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

Friday, April 12, 2019

View From Your Hood: fancy duck edition

Credit: friend of the blog
From a friend of the blog, a picture from Miami.

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

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs List: 339 positions

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs list (curated by Joel Walker and myself) has 339 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.)

25 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Over at Common Organic Chemistry, there's 25 new positions for April 8.

The Analytical Chemistry Jobs List: 19 positions

The Analytical Chemistry Jobs List has 19 positions; this is curated by the ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry. Want to help out? Fill out this form. 

The Process Chemistry Jobs List: 297 positions

The Process Chemistry Jobs List has 297 positions.

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

Want to chat process jobs? Try the open thread. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

"Mechanistic studies support the formation of CH3+ as a key intermediate."

Credit: Oddity Central
Click here for Dan Singleton, critiquing a recent Science paper within an inch of its life for proposing
a methyl cation as a part of its mechanistic pathway.

I have to admit, I'm pretty sure I read the C&EN summary of the paper, and I did not notice the methyl cation. If you like physical organic chemistry, you'll enjoy Professor Singleton's thread.


This week's C&EN

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

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The 2019 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 578 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, April 8, 2019

Duke graduate student speaks out, 10 years later

I haven't really followed the problems that Duke University science has had, but this Medium post by a former Duke graduate student about the situation surrounding Duke Biochemistry professor Homme Hellinga is pretty remarkable: 
...At this point, in the early summer of 2008, a subset of Duke Biochemistry graduate students considered taking matters into its own hands. If our department’s faculty didn’t collectively have the guts to demand an investigation of Hellinga, then we would. We considered drafting a petition, addressed to the leadership of Duke and its medical school, which invoked the university’s rules for requesting research misconduct investigations. Execution of the plan briefly stalled due to fears of retribution.... 
...The petition was signed by eighteen of the approximately sixty graduate students in the program. While ~1/3 may not seem impressive, those who know the dangers of confronting tenured faculty and deans will realize that this was an extraordinary response. The signers risked their studies and their livelihoods...
Here's a rather old article that contains some of the context around the post.

Since I have no way of judging the accuracy of the post, I think it's best to leave the whole situation aside, and address the rather extraordinary and hypothetical event where graduate students would sign a petition for address of grievances surrounding the treatment of a specific set of graduate students. I'm not sure that I was ever in such a dire situation in grad school, and now, I think my response would have not to have fought City Hall, but to have left.

It's a remarkable document - read the whole thing.  

Friday, April 5, 2019

Lawsuit: Professor forces graduate student to work at their private company

GRAND RAPIDS — A Michigan State University engineering professor exploited his students and forced them to work long hours for little to no pay at his personal company, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court.   MSU officials have known about the issue since at least 2011, but did not take action to monitor the students working for Professor Parviz Soroushian, a lawsuit filed March 22 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan alleges. 
Because of the pending litigation, MSU officials declined to comment on the issues raised in the suit, MSU deputy spokesperson Heather Young said. 
Soroushian told the State Journal on Friday he denies all the allegations made against him in the lawsuit. He has been on paid administrative leave since July 2018, when Michigan State began an investigation into his conduct with students at his lab, Lansing-based Metna Co. Soroushian is is a 35-year veteran in MSU's College of Engineering and holds degrees in both civil and structural engineering. In addition to serving as a tenured professor, he is an academic adviser. 
So when Salina Ramli began her doctoral program in January 2016, she believed she had no choice but to work at Metna when he told her to, according to the lawsuit. 
Ramli, who was at MSU on a Malaysian government-funded scholarship, worked at Metna every day she didn't have class, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at times staying as late as 7 p.m. for meetings.  
But her second semester, Soroushian said she wasn't allowed to take off the days she had class, according to the lawsuit. Her scholarship only covered tuition and a modest stipend, so she had to earn money elsewhere.  
Ramli, the mother of two children, said in the lawsuit she started working at a bakery from 3 a.m. to 8 a.m. so she could keep up with bills...
Public Service Announcement to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows: if your professor asks you to work at their private company, you should probably get terms spelled out, and you should probably ask if the department knows about it.

(Reality: departments are set up so that it is a very unusual graduate student or postdoc who will speak up for themselves and ask that question...)

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Postdoctoral position: Leitch Lab, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC

Via Twitter, this postdoctoral position:
The Leitch Lab at the University of Victoria is seeking an experienced synthetic organic chemist for a collaborative project in chemical reaction rate prediction. This project spans the fields of organic chemistry, computational chemistry, computer science, and machine learning theory, with joint PIs in the Departments of Chemistry and Computer Science at UVic. This appointment will be within the Department of Chemistry. 
The ideal candidate will have a PhD in synthetic chemistry, with a demonstrated track record of research excellence and expertise in the following areas:
  • Targeted multi-step organic synthesis of structurally varied small molecules
  • Quantitative chemical analysis, including hands-on experience with HPLC, MS, and NMR spectroscopy
  • Reaction kinetics and mechanistic elucidation
In addition, familiarity with multivariate experimental design, microscale high-throughput experimentation, computational chemistry, and/or computer programming is desirable, though not required.
Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

Warning Letter of the Week: live moth edition

A missive from the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research to the owner of B. Jain Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd.:
1.    Your firm failed to maintain the buildings used in the manufacture, processing, packing, or holding of a drug product in a clean and sanitary condition and to keep them free of infestation by rodents, birds, insects, and other vermin (21 CFR 211.56(a)). 
In the raw material storage room our investigator observed numerous flying insects. FDA observed your staff dispensing [redacted] raw material for use in production, batch #[redacted], in this room and a live moth was observed floating in this raw material. You use [redacted] to manufacture your homeopathic drug products. When the investigator pointed out the presence of this moth in your [redacted] raw material, you continued to manufacture homeopathic drug products using the raw material contaminated with the insect.

In addition, various raw materials, some packaged in burlap sacks, were observed scattered across your quarantine room, and the ceiling in this room was stained with what appeared to be mold. Leaking containers of one raw material were observed in close proximity to other raw materials in your warehouse and what appeared to be unidentified [redacted] were observed adhering to the air vents in the production areas which are used to manufacture multiple homeopathic drug products.
It's really hard to keep the vermin out of the product, it really is.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The 2019 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 577 positions

Job posting: Division Director, Division of Chemistry, National Science Foundation, Alexandria, VA

From the inbox, a position at the National Science Foundation:
The Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) announces a nationwide search to fill the position of Division Director, Division of Chemistry (CHE). Appointment to this Senior Executive Service position may be on a career basis, or on a one- to three-year limited-term basis, with a salary range of $165,842 to $175,400. Alternatively, the incumbent may be assigned under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) provisions. Information about the Division’s activities may be found at https://www.nsf.gov/div/index.jsp?div=CHE
The successful candidate will possess an established record of significant achievement in research administration as well as leadership responsibility in academe, industry or government. In addition to having a strong record of research and education accomplishments within his or her technical communities, the Division Director must be experienced and competent in technical, financial, and administrative management. He/she must work well with people, be an effective communicator, and act as a mentor to continuously develop the diversity of talents and skills of his or her colleagues at all levels. 
Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

Job postings: laboratory assistant positions, BioCellection, Menlo Park, CA

From the inbox, a laboratory assistant posting:
Job Summary 
We are seeking an experienced Laboratory Assistant to help us efficiently run our laboratory. This is a full-time position in Menlo Park, CA. We accept local applicants with the status for US employment. 
Typical Activities in the Job
  • Carry-out chemical reactions and processes (ie. reflux, pressure reactors, filtration, distillation, extractions, titration)
  • Sample preparation for analytics including GCMS/LCMS/IR and run methods following an SOP
  • Prepare reaction feedstocks
BS/MS in chemistry preferred. Full ad here.

There's also a contract laboratory assistant position available. 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.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Shortage of Chemists Scored by Committee

Draft and ROTC Eating Into Personnel Vital to Industry
March 7, 1942

A survey of 118 colleges, universities, and technical, schools conducted by the Defense Committee of the American Chemical Society shows an "appalling shortage" of trained individuals in chemistry and chemical engineering. Lack of technically trained men for industry is jeopardizing future production, according to the Committee, of which Professor Roger Adams, head of the department of chemistry at the University of Illinois, is chairman.

"By far the greatest proportionate demand is for those to be graduated at the doctorate level, most of whom have accepted positions pending receipt of their degrees," the Committee finds. "The colleges report almost without exception that chemical or chemical engineering alumni are all employed and that current demands cannot be supplied."

Shortage Emphasized Here

In response to the Committee's questionnaire, Harvard University declares that the shortage of trained chemists, especially at the doctor's level, is the most serious in its experience. The University of California states that "the Army and Navy have removed from the supply of men a large percentage of the more able students."

Massachusetts Institute of Technology reports that 42 per cent of the Seniors in its chemical engineering department will become reserve officers. The department of chemistry at M.I.T. is receiving more requests for chemists of all three grades as compared with the last three years, according to the report, and the graduates of June, 1942, with the Ph.D. or M.S. degree are placed at present to the extent of 82 per cent of the total.

(actual article, believe it or not)