Friday, October 29, 2010

100 ml pear-shaped flasks

A list of small useful things:

- An interesting discussion of chemistry unemployment issues.
- I guestposted at Just Another Electron Pusher. The pictures were picked by Leigh, so they're (as usual) great.
- Awesomeness from the Gaussling: more on rare earths.
- Puns really aren't my thing, but they are Sharon's.
- Pretty active discussion on students crying on their TAs over at Paul's.


  1. Going in a completely tangential direction, I have a 10 mL rb that I inherited with my lab bench. I have never used it, and really wonder what the hell it's good for (besides looking cute, of course).

  2. Leigh, I use those on occasion when I'm not sure whether a particular reaction will work and I'm only willing to sacrifice a little starting material (usually that means it's expensive or took a long time to make). You should see the mini stir bars that go with it, they're a pain in the a-- to keep outta the sink drain!

  3. any chance of a copy and paste of the linkedin discussion for those of us that can't be members of that group?

  4. The LinkedIN is way too long for a cut&paste. Initial post is a look at the statements of the ACS presidential candidates from the point of view of the unemployed/underemployed chemist, concluding that neither looks like much of a champion for the laid off chemists.

    The discussion touches many areas, but includes national labs having effective age discrimination by including a "x years beyond last degree" clause, costs of courses for retraining, advocacy for jobs in America going to Americans and discouraging outsourcing.

  5. 10 mL (14/20 joint) flask is quite useful for collecting fractions on small scale distillation.
    I have also used them recently for small-scale reaction where the crystallization/filtration had to be done at minus 20C and the compounds were quite soluble but formed a thick voluminous precipitate - so the volume of the mix and the flask size was an issue.

  6. Another lab that was closing up shop (professor retiring) had a give-away, and I was lucky enough to find a 2mL 14/20 neck round bottom - the bulb part is basically the same width as the neck. I also acquired an rbf that holds probably 500 microliters at most. The ground glass joint on that one is super skinny, I have no idea what size to call it. And I got a tiny 2 mL Erlenmeyer. All three are adorable, but I can't fathom a reason to ever use one, especially the Erlenmeyer. I mean, a disposable vial would just as easily do the trick.

  7. Just today I was remarking in lab about the awesomeness of *flat*-bottomed flasks with 24/40 joints. Keep your pear-shaped flasks; I want ones that you can rest on the countertop without worry.

  8. The discussion on LinkedIn started with a letter that I wrote to C & E News. That letter analyzed the positions of the two ACS presidential candidates (or rather, lack thereof) on the tens of thousands of unemployed American chemists. Baum refused to publish the letter.

    Both my letter and Baum's response can be viewed/downloaded at:'%20statements%20on%20employment.pdf

  9. Wow, people do really use those! Cool. I tend to crystallize in tubes, and my compounds are barely soluble in most things so I have to do even small scale reactions in larger flasks.

    I do also have a 2 mL beaker, but I actually use that.

  10. "Dear Mr. Heirtzler:
    Your letter will not appear in C&EN.
    Rudy M. Baum
    Chemical & Engineering News"

    Yet another piece of evidence that Sir Rudy will not deign to converse with all the lowly serfs who so naively provide his salary and tickets to Paris.... jesus, what a staggering response to a nuanced, earnest letter.

  11. Fenton,

    I appreciate you sharing your letters here. I am no longer a member of the ACS, forfeiting my "years of service". I just can't see what the point would be.

  12. C&EN Sep. 6, 2010

    Baum writes:

    When C&EN writes a story that you think is inaccurate or incomplete or na├»ve, why don’t you write us and express that opinion? I have never been shy about publishing letters that criticize C&EN. I think it would be healthy to hear what other chemists have to say about your plight. Let’s open a dialogue.

  13. Dialogue Number 1:

    The ACS' continued and total lack of recognition or response to the issue (singular) that is most important to the vast majority of dues- paying members is nothing short of shocking. Moreover, it brings up real and valid concerns about where exactly the ACS' primary allegiances lie.

    Ironically, it would be difficult to even identify a C&EN article this would be responding to, when the entire issue is conveniently invisible in those august pages.

  14. Actually, I have recently received private correspondence from staff at C&E News supporting the contents of the unpublished letter. It's pretty obvious that people working there can't be public about it. Ironic, too, that hypothetical fear of losing one's job could preclude the "dialogue" that Baum refers to.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20