Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Industrial ads in Fall ACS conference preview issue of C&EN (1990-2010)

# of Industrial ads in C&EN issue with technical program or final program
In an attempt to understand the relevance of the Fall ACS conference, I looked at the last 20 years of C&EN where the technical program or the final program appeared. I believe this issue is/was the issue that companies would use to advertise to job candidates. My tabulated results are here, where I note the number of industrial ads (non-academic, non-governmental), the number of pages those ads appeared on, and the issue date.

Looking at the charted data, there are a number of points to make:

The shift away from print: In 1990, there was no such thing as the internet. If you wanted to hire chemists, you darn well better advertise in C&EN or one of its few brethren. If you wanted to meet chemists at the Fall ACS conference, you'd probably use the relevant issue of C&EN. In 2010, that's not the case. I suspect many job advertisements have moved away from print. (And I'm guessing that ads on ACS Careers are a lot cheaper than a double-pager in C&EN.)

Merger mania: Reading issues from '96 and '98, it was vaguely amusing (okay, really funny) to read ads from companies that you know had been absorbed by Aguoron, no, Warner-Lambert, no, Pfizer. There's no doubt that one of the first places that the places savings were found was HR and its related expenses -- that would be reflected in the post-2003 (or so) numbers.

Golden ages past?: I suspect that the recent past (1997-2003?) was a local maxima of chemical employment, fueled by the 'irrational exuberance' of the late-'90s. Whether or not this chart is yet another sign of the potential and dreaded secular shift is yet to be seen.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A commenter's good idea: extend/adjust ACS dues waivers for unemployed members

An anonymous commenter notes that the ACS bylaws only allow unemployed members to waive their dues for 2 consecutive years. While I suspect that those 2 years might be able to cover most unemployment circumstances for many members, this Great Recession is marked by high numbers of the long-term unemployed (6 months +).

Why not extend ACS unemployment benefits to 3 years?

I can't imagine that this would cost a lot of money (maybe I'm wrong.) Isn't this exactly what you'd want from ACS? I think it's a good idea. What do you think?

Daily Pump Trap: 8/30/10 edition

Good morning! From August 25 until August 29, there are 61 new positions posted on the ACS Careers website. Of these, 24 (40%) are academically connected.

Well, there IS sun and sand: SABIC is one of Saudi Arabia's largest petroleum companies; they're looking for a number (4+) of positions, including a Ph.D. chemist to perform heterogeneous catalysis research. Tempting, I know.

Genentech: The Bay Area company wishes a senior scientific manager (Ph.D. w/10 years or BS/MS with 15 years) with analytical experience in GMP release testing.

DuPont: Their Delaware facility desires a Principal Investigator (Ph.D., 5-10 years) for research into organic electronic materials and OLEDs. Sounds like a good one.

Did not know that: One of my favorite things about the DPT is learning about new companies (that are probably enormous) that I didn't know about. Sasol North America is looking for a M.S./Ph.D. chemist with knowledge of inorganic/alumina chemistry to develop aluminum oxide products. "Experience in oilfield chemistry or chemical-mechanical planarization technology desired."

Friday, August 27, 2010

Why the faculty members bear some responsibility in the Texas Tech case

Chart by Chemjobber. Photo credit: Thomas Klapoetke
While I believe that the graduate student in the Texas Tech case bears the lion's share of the responsibility (and agree with Sam that he should have been removed), it's worth looking at the institutional factors.

Jyllian Kemsley linked to an 2008 article where she explored the safety standards that well-regarded academic explosives labs use, such as the Klapoetke lab (a frequent subject of Derek Lowe's Things I Won't Work With.) They are:

- a reliance on manipulating small quantities of material (no more than a few hundred milligrams), specialized equipment for dealing with small quantities
- "collective basic guidelines" and one-on-one meetings with the PI to reiterate them
- a buddy system, including peer review of upcoming procedures
- tiered access to amounts and kinds of energetic compounds, based on experience and lack of incident
- forms to force consideration of safety during experiments
- forcing out students who will not comply

By contrast, what is the sum total of evidence of training at the Weeks lab?

- Page 5 of the EHS accident report: "Laboratory staff stated they have had some training at one time or the other. The training was not complete and there are no records of such training."
- Page 11: "Said she had not been given any training."
- Page 14: "The type of training he received was given by [blocked out] had told him that he should wear a lab coat, goggles and gloves, but [blocked out] himself did not wear any of these items himself. No EH&S training was taken either.
- Page 17: "A Post doc (Raj) verbally told me how to operate the equipment. [Re safety training] Did not have any."
- Page 25: [With Mr. Brown himself re safety training] "No formal training. Just kinda you learn as you go thru the courses... But no specific training after arriving at the graduate school."

The Weeks lab was also short on safety equipment, with no blast shields and safes for the storing of energetic materials. Sure sounds like they were relying on the Finchsigmate academic safety rule: "Don't rub this on [your sensitive anatomy.]"

At the risk of repeating myself, this is why best practice literature is so important to safe chemistry for the young chemist. How will you know how to do things correctly, especially when your supervisors aren't looking out for your safety? Go to the literature, my friends.*

I find it frustrating that two clicks into "Prudent Practices in the Laboratory" (readable and searchable online here), one finds a detailed guide to handling explosive compounds. It gives very detailed instructions of PPE, engineering controls and work practices, including the tragic sentence: "In conventional explosives laboratories, no more than 0.1 g of product should be prepared in a single run... Special formal risk assessments should be established to examine operational and safety problems involved in scaling up a reaction in which an explosive substance is used or could be generated."

In so many ways, this execrable tragedy could have been avoided. Sigh.

*And if you can't find the literature, go to someone who can help you. I don't know how many times as a blogger, I've cold e-mailed people to find that they're incredibly helpful.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A bit of good news, perhaps: ACS job fair numbers

Good morning! The following numbers were reported to the ACS Council regarding the ACS Boston Career Fair:

Employers: 68
Number of positions: 484
Job seekers: 1066

Those numbers are better than the last two sets of numbers, especially the ratio of jobseekers to positions. An improvement from 5-to-1 and 10-to-1 to 2-to-1 is nice to hear. Hope that people had good luck finding positions.

UPDATE (8/31/10): The ever-helpful David Harwell (Assistant Director for Career Management and Development at ACS) (here, speaking for himself, not for ACS) e-mails to say that "We also recorded 770 interviews. Please note that this number only reflects interviews scheduled through our system. Some employers prefer to schedule interviews independently. Using our number, there were 0.7 interviews per job seeker."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Awesome Reader of the Century of the Week: Mike Tarselli

Michael Tarselli, for mentioning Chemjobber at an ACS Lunch-and-Learn on chemblogging, many thanks and congratulations! You're Chemjobber's inaugural Awesome Reader of the Century of the Week! You are undoubtedly awesome!

(Dude, seriously, thanks -- let me know how I can help with the job search.)

Daily Pump Trap: 8/25/10 edition

Good morning! From August 19 until August 24, there were 18 new positions posted to the ACS Careers website. Of these, 4 (22%) are academically connected.

Psst... want to work in an office?: Wolf Greenfield (a Boston law firm) is looking for Ph.D. chemists to become technology specialists (3 positions open), on their road to becoming patent lawyers. The salary is certainly attractive (90-100k.)

The Rocket City calls: Nektar Therapeutics has made regular pushes towards hiring process chemists over the last 3 years; once again, they are searching for a Ph.D. chemist with 5+ years experience in the pharmaceutical industry. GMP experience a plus.

Under the water tower: Novartis' Cambridge site seeks a B.S./M.S. chemist with 2+ years experience in mass spectrometry and separations for bioanalytical work. Looks like a good position -- good luck.

Northwestern: Their new drug discovery center desires an experienced analytical chemist to run their robotic medium-throughput purification technology. Sounds like a good job for a former pharma analyst somewhere...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Why best practice literature is essential to chemistry

Q: So what is the prognosis on your hands so far?
A: The right hand is pretty good. And the left hand is missing 3 fingers, but they say that's looking pretty good.

Q: How's your vision?
A: It's fine. It's certainly not as good as it was before. But it's certainly good enough to do everyday things. So I don't need to spot eagles from, uh... you know.

Q: Are you right or left handed?
A: I was left handed. I'll have to be right handed now.

-from the transcript of an interview of the Texas Tech lab explosion victim.  
Jyllian Kemsley has outdone herself again with a great analysis of an incident at Texas Tech University, where a graduate student made 100 times the recommended amount of a highly explosive material, nickel hydrazine perchlorate. When it exploded, he was severely injured.

While the sheer recklessness of the incident is pretty remarkable (as Paul Bracher points out), something that I find frustrating is the lack of training provided to the students by their research advisers. US government labs have been performing energetic materials research for many, many years -- there has got to be a wealth of literature available about how to safely handle potentially explosive materials.

When confronted with potentially hazardous operations, researchers should be constantly asking themselves: is this the best practice? What do people much more experienced and knowledgeable than I think of what I'm doing? What does the literature say about what I'm doing? Do I think this is the safest or best way of doing this? There's no reason for more fingers to be lost.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Daily Pump Trap: 2010 Fall ACS meeting edition

Good morning! There are 206 positions advertised on the ACS Careers website that are interviewing at the Career Fair. The following are the available statistics about the positions:

Geography: US (179 positions, 87%), China (14, 7%), India (6, 3%), other (7, 3%)
Education: B.S. (59), M.S. (27), Ph.D. (84)
Specialization: Analytical (43), Inorganic (17), Medicinal/Clinical (14), Nanotechnology (11), Organic (48), Pharmaceutical (58).
Level: Entry-level (51), Experienced (146), Internship (9)

Best of luck to all over the next week.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Talk to C&EN about your career switch

Susan Ainsworth is a senior editor at C&EN; she's looking for folks who have moved away from chemistry and gone into other fields. In addition, she would like to hear from people who have "an opinion (expert or otherwise) about retooling and its long term implications both to the individual chemist and to the industry at large."

Her e-mail address is S_Ainsworth-at-acsdotorg. (Obviously, remove the spamproofing.)

Friday chuckle

What's the problem with posing pictures in the lab next to sophisticated-looking equipment? Well, you might look a little silly to the knowledgeable.

(Photo from the New York Times. Original caption: Riccardo Signorelli, chief executive of FastCap Systems, which is developing capacitors using nanotube technology. Photo credit: Jodi Hilton for The New York Times.)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Why chemistry professors want to make more chemists

Faithful commentor Dr. Oaks mentions in a comment that "I also think advisers also should really consider fielding their grad students for more non-research related occupations." He acknowledges the problems with this thought by saying "If their students aren't towing the line, they don't get funding either."

I think that last is a big part of why more chemistry professors don't push their students to look outside chemistry -- it doesn't help the professor or her future group members, either in the present or the future. If your graduate students and postdocs go on and perform good science, there is some amount of reflected glory to be had; it's not a coincidence that the introduction of seminar speakers starts with a ritual recitation of the speaker's former kung-fu masters research advisers. The soft power from having lots of prominent group alumni in your contacts is pretty darn high.

If a chemistry professor was known for training people who left the field to be doctors, successful Wall Street analysts or high school teachers, would this professor win as much praise from their colleagues as one who had R1 professors and big pharma directors as their chemical progeny? I doubt it.

I should close this by noting that I like chemistry professors a lot and count my former research adviser as a friend. But they are rational actors, too -- and there is no shame in admitting that.

Daily Pump Trap: 8/19/2010 edition

Good morning! From August 17 to August 18, there were 28 new positions posted on the ACS Careers website. Of these, 3 (11%) were academically connected.

Big companies: GE, Kraft and BASF are looking. Good news, I'd think.

Making jobs that make jobs better: BASF is hiring a M.S./Ph.D. polymer chemist with 15+ years of experience to "[d]esign and develop new emulsion polymers for pressure-sensitive and flexible packaging and laminating adhesive applications." Just as long as they keep sticking!

Good things: GE is looking for a M.S./Ph.D. analytical chemist, desiring "[e]xperience with analytical and sensing methods for biological and chemical detection including optical and electrochemical sensing as well as direct spectroscopy." Sounds pretty interesting.

Once again: Gilead Sciences is hiring a B.S./M.S. medicinal chemistry associate (entry-level); this position is in Connecticut, as opposed to the home office in the Bay Area.

Hexion: This position in Louisville, KY is for an experienced B.S./M.S./Ph.D. polymer/organic chemist with "in-depth knowledge of organic and polymer chemistry" and "experience with thermosetting resins."

New stat: There were 9 positions advertised by very large corporate entities. Good news? We'll see.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What would you ask a chemblogging panel?

Carmen Drahl of C&EN's The Haystack pharma blog is moderating a panel of prominent chemistry and pharma bloggers, including Derek Lowe and Abel Pharmboy (David Kroll.) This Lunch and Learn is at the Boston ACS meeting on Tuesday. You can submit your questions here; she promises to pick the best questions and ask them.

Here are 5 questions that I would like to ask such an august group of chembloggers:

1. Who does the chemblogging world need to recruit to blog?
2. Who in the chemblogosphere deserves more attention? How do we fight epistemic closure?
3. Economics does not have any problem getting their professors to blog --  why is it so difficult to get chemistry professors to blog? Neither group lacks tenure, so that can't be the reason. (Is it grant-related?)
4. What does Derek's post on the recent metal-free coupling paper in JACS tell us about open-source science?
5. Is the chemical enterprise in long-term decline in the US - yes or no?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Daily/Weekly Pump Trap: 8/17/2010 edition

Good morning! From August 6 until August 16, there were 165 new positions posted on the ACS Careers website. Of these, 23 (14%) of these are academically connected.

Wow: I could be wrong, but this is the heaviest slug of industrial jobs I've seen in a while -- nice to see.

3M: Nice to see some larger companies looking for multiple positions; 3M has 4 positions available, including a senior scientist position for a Ph.D. polymer chemist with experience with free-radical polymerizations. "Expertise in emulsion/suspension polymerizations and processes" is also desired, as well as systematic problem solving skills.

Vertex: Once again, Vertex is hiring. Among others, they're looking for an experienced Ph.D. analytical chemist with experience in the pharmaceutical industry for QbD and CMC work.

FMC: They are looking for a Ph.D. chemist to be "the expert on metabolism chemistry and environmental fate of agroproducts in a global S&P 500 leader". You "will have a PhD in an appropriate chemical or biochemical discipline and significant experience in pesticide metabolism and/or environmental fate, with hands-on experience in a residue lab, preferably in an industry setting and ideally in agriculture." How many people in this country have this experience? 50? 100?

The most desirable position in chemistry?: The Australian Wine Research Institute is looking for Ph.D. organic chemists to perform "research... to establish the identity, formation and fate of volatile and non-volatile compounds that play key roles in sensory attributes and stability of wine, and develop the scientific framework for improvements to viticultural and winemaking practices."

Hmmm: WuXi AppTec is looking for a Ph.D. fluorine chemist to be their "Leader of Fluorine Chemistry Centre." I find it mildly interesting and distressing that WuXi is setting up internal research institutes while they seem to be going by the wayside in the US and Europe.

Broader look: Searches for "chemist" on Monster, Careerbuilder and Indeed.com show (respectively) 309 (down from 8/5), 647 (up) and 1,773 (down) positions.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Interview: a Canadian chemist looks for work

I recently had the chance of talking by e-mail with CanChem, who is looking for a position in chemistry in the Boston area. The following has been lightly edited and redacted for privacy. Here is his story, followed by a Q&A:

CanChem: I'm a rather new entrant to the world of industrial chemistry, being just [a few] years out from grad school in Canada where I received an MSc under [respected professor] in synthetic organic chemistry. I was lucky to get a job in Toronto shortly after my defense with a small start-up contract med-chem outfit (lucky as there are very few synthetic positions available in Ontario / Canada at any given time, maybe 1 every couple of months) where I was hired as a senior research associate. After [less than 3 years] in collaboration with a pair of start-up companies the contracts expired and no new ones could be obtained so the company closed up shop and laid me and the other chemists off.

During this time my wife moved down to Boston to pursue a law degree, and I've been trying to join her down there for a year now, and despite our marriage and generally jovial relations between Canada and the USA it's a protracted and relatively unfeasible process to get me residency in the States. As such I've been applying as an international applicant to companies, able to enter and work under the TN (NAFTA class) visa, without the headaches of the H1-B process, but that hasn't seemed to make a lick of difference. My previous employer was incredibly supportive when he heard that my wife was returning to Boston and provided me with his contact list for individuals and companies in Massachusetts, and it's only because of his connections that I've even had any face time with prospective employers. However, despite his help and applications to everything I've seen come up online and everywhere else I could think of, I've only had two interviews in 12 months, and I haven't seen the environment improving of late.

Chemjobber: Do you think US employers balk at the issues with immigration status or do you think they're pretty used to dealing with it?

CC: I've found it's depended on who it is; one job I was expecting an offer on got completely shut down because of internal policies regarding any visa sponsorship (TN or H1-B) for anything less than PhD, whereas another it it wasn't even a consideration. The first was a research institute affiliated with a university, the second was a mid-size company. From past lab-mates (Canadians) who've gone down in the last 5 years, I've heard that unless the company is totally new and the HR people don't understand what TN's are all about it's not been an issue to work.

CJ: How many positions have you applied for? What have you been hearing?

CC: I think I've sent in around 50 unique applications. About 45 of those have gone into the void, with two resulting in interviews, one getting a "no actual positions at this time" reply, and the other two being the "Thank you for your interest, we're receiving so many qualified applicants..." form letter.

CJ: Can you describe the employment situation for organic chemists in Canada? Am I right in thinking there's Merck Frosst (well, not anymore) and not much else? Anything in the western provinces? (pardon if that's a dumb question)

CC: I'm by no means an expert, but from my looking Canada has a small VC-funded pool of start-ups, maybe 25-40 (?) doing medchem, with about half being in Toronto, most of the rest in Montreal, and a couple in Vancouver / Calgary. There had been a good concentration of pharma research in the Montreal area (most biggies had a shop there), and while Toronto has many Big Pharma branch offices, very few do anything resembling chemistry. Gilead opened a site in Edmonton AB, and otherwise I don't know of much out west.

Organic chemists wanting to stay in Toronto have a few options; the hospitals and universities have small research institutions with maybe 100 total chemists in Toronto, there's Apotex doing process work with a staff of ~50, my former company, whose fine chemicals business employs 25 chemists, and a couple of other custom synthesis / off-the-shelf places with maybe another 75-100 chemists among them. People from my school have in the past 3 years either gone to a) the states (50 %), b) Apotex/my place/one other shop (15 %), c)  Merck Frosst (10 %... for now) or d) out of organic chem (25 %). When my company closed down my co-workers were either looking in the States (none of the PhD's had much faith in finding anything in Canada) or branching out in chemistry to stay in Toronto, or going back to school for something else. Online job boards have not held any organic chemistry positions for months now.

CJ here again. Thanks for CanChem for his frank and interesting insights into life as an organic chemist in Canada.

Friday, August 13, 2010

What do chemists do when they stop doing chemistry?

I am sure that most of you have been following the comments in the recent In the Pipeline thread "If you're not a chemist - what next?" The thread has generated over 160 comments and lots of people suggesting new fields.

I took a look at the answers and tried to quantify the 'next'? There were 35 answers where someone identified themselves (or someone they know) as a former scientist and their current new field.

In order of popularity, they are:

Computer-related work (computational science, programming, etc.): 9 (26%)
Other (conference planning, children's museum coordinator, gardening): 8 (23%)
Business (MBA, business development): 4 (11%)
Intellectual property law (patent attorney, agent): 4 (11%)
Regulatory affairs: 4 (11%)
Pharmacy-related stuff: 3 (9%)
Teaching (high school, tutoring): 3 (9%)

I have to say, I'm surprised by the relative lack of answers on MBA or IP law, but maybe they're busy? Interesting.

Friday, August 6, 2010

BREAKING: July unemployment rate at 9.5%, unchanged from June

Good morning! Fresh electrons from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: the official (U3) unemployment rate is 9.5%, unchanged from June. Similarly, the broader (U6) measure of unemployment from July is also unchanged at 16.5%.

Looks like the unemployment scenario is mostly moving sideways these days. More later, as more analysis arrives.

UPDATE at 8:42AM: Thanks, as always, to Calculated Risk for the graph.

Daily Pump Trap: 8/6/2010

Good morning! From August 4 through August 5, there have been 28 new positions posted on the ACS Careers website. Of these, 6 (21%) are academically connected and none are from Kelly Scientific Resources.

More plastics: Nalco currently has 9 positions posted on the ACS Careers website. Of these, 3 are located in the US and the rest are either in India or China. In Chicago, they are looking for a Ph.D. chemical engineer to be a staff scientist. In Houston, they are looking a Ph.D. organic chemist with experience with water-soluble polymers.

Tour of duty?: BASF is advertising its Professional Development Program for new Ph.D. chemists and chemical engineers: "Two, nine-month assignments provide exposure to various technologies and career opportunities throughout BASF, while promoting the development of technical and professional decision-making skills and fulfilling specific business needs. Assignments can be located at many of BASF sites located across North America." Sounds like an interesting opportunity.

Electrochemistry FTW: DuPont is the latest to desire a Ph.D. chemist with experience in "thin film technology, device design, and characterization with relevance to photovoltaics, energy storage, or organic electronics applications." I should really do a post on this...

What IS that?: GSK is looking for a Ph.D. bioorganic chemist biotransformation chemist, with "extensive experience (minimum 3 years), knowledge and expertise on the use of isolated enzymes for small molecule synthesis." Oh, that.

And finally, a smallish company: Envoy Therapeutics (of Jupiter, FL) desired a Ph.D. director of medicinal chemistry, with 8+ years in the pharmaceutical industry and 4+ years of managerial experience. Hope the stock options package is good for you.

And a new feature: Searches for "chemist" on Monster, Careerbuilder and Indeed.com show (respectively) 704, 306 and 4,505 positions. Separating the wheat from the chaff (or vice versa) is going to be tough, but I'll try.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Chemjobber C&EN Index: 7/19/2010

Industrial positions (non-academic, non-governmental):
Total number of ads: 0
- Postdocs: 0
- Permanent positions: 0
- Ratio of US/non-US: 0
Area: 0

Governmental positions (US, international):
Total number of ads: 0
- Postdocs: 0
- Permanent positions: 0
- Ratio of US/non-US: 0/0
Area: 0

Academic positions:
Total number of ads: 9
- Postdocs: 0
- Tenure-track faculty: 25 (?)
- Temporary faculty: 1
- Lecturer positions: 1
- Staff positions: 2
- Ratio of US/non-US positions: 28/1
- Area (square cm): 593

It's that time again: for the No Industrial Job senryu...

No industry jobs!
What is the solution now?
Another postdoc?

Ruff: It's not the "dog days" of summer yet, but it might as well be. Not many ads overall.

Small college of the week: St. John's University (Queens, NY, student population: 20,069, SA-LUTE!) is looking for a visiting assistant professor in organic and general chemistry. Want to teach at a half-decent basketball school? Here's your chance!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Daily Pump Trap: 8/4/10 edition

Good morning! From July 30 to August 3rd, there were 67 new positions posted on the ACS Careers website. Of those, 14 (21%) are academically connected and 1 is from our friends at Kelly Scientific Resources.

Strong: Maybe I'm crazy, but there's good bit of recruiting going on right now. Of course, some of this is connected to the upcoming Fall ACS meeting.

A balm: Gilead Sciences, Inc. has been recruiting strongly over the lifetime of this blog. I don't know why or whether all of this is just a "fishing expedition." Nevertheless, they posted 11 positions on July 31st, including a position for a B.S./M.S. medicinal chemist (experience desired unknown.)

Um, thanks, I think: BASF is looking for a M.S./Ph.D. research scientist with a degree in "insect physiology, invertebrate toxicology or mode of action research." Yeah, the ACS Careers database is the perfect place for that.

Ohio by way of Tennessee: The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education is looking for a M.S. chemist to perform research into inhalation exposure at Wright-Patterson AFB.

Space!: The Aerospace Corporation (sounds ominous, doesn't it?) is looking for a Ph.D. computation materials chemist to work on nanomaterials.

Hmm...: Spectrix Analytical Services is looking for B.S./M.S. analytical chemists to perform contract on-site analysis and separations of drug discovery compounds in Connecticut and New Jersey. Gee, I didn't know that your analytical team was another place where you could outsource -- seems like a bad idea to me.

Plastics!: Cognis Corporation is looking for a Ph.D. R&D manager with 10+ years experience in the manufacture of dimers, trimers and polyamides. Sounds interesting.

Monday, August 2, 2010

21 chemistry talks that you've been to (and some you haven't.)

One of the things I really miss about graduate school is the seminars. Even though I fell asleep through a good many of them, I learned a lot about chemistry and even more about effective ways of presenting accomplished science. Here are a few talks that I've been to -- and I'm guessing that you've been to them, too.

1. Here is a lot of data; I'm not sure what it all means.
2. Everything you know about subject X is wrong.
3. Everything you know about subject Y is right, but here's my spin.
4. This is work I did 20 years ago -- I think it's still interesting. Don't you?
5. I really want this job.
6. Man, I am SO NERVOUS.
7. I think this new methodology will be revolutionary.
8. I'm giving this talk to make you laugh. Why aren't you laughing?
9. Dude, I am super impressive.
10. There's some data in here somewhere -- mostly, I just have an interesting hypothesis.
11. you can't hear me
12. You can't see my slides.   [Highlight to see.]
13. I haven't practiced this talk, and it shows.
14. I memorized this talk, and it shows.
15. This slide is in the wrong place.
16. Dude -- you don't understand. I really want this job.
17. This slide is just wrong.
18. Isn't this idea awesome!!?!?!
19. You don't know it, but you just saw a future Nobel prize winner.
20. I'm out to get a professor in the audience.
21. This talk was designed to get you to fall asleep -- and look, it worked!

UPDATE: John from It's the Rheo Thing adds some excellent ones:

22. I've got all these slides that I've used over the years - let me talk about a few of them, then hunt around for a few more at which point I'll talk some more, and then I'll hunt around some more... (i.e., It wasn't worth my effort to prepare for you).
23. Did you see this new feature in the latest version of Powerpoint?
24. Did you see this other new feature in the latest version of Powerpoint? And what about this one? Or this one? (I know more about Powerpoint than any marketer alive!)
25. This is just an oral version of my newest paper published last month.