Monday, October 31, 2016

Have you experienced sexual misconduct?

Also in this week's C&EN, a request for stories and sources (scroll down):
C&EN is working on a feature article exploring best practices for handling sexual misconduct in academic environments. If you’ve experienced or encountered sexual misconduct as a graduate student, postdoc, or junior faculty member and are willing to share your story for this article, please contact We’d also appreciate hearing from administrators who’ve handled misconduct complaints. 
You may choose to remain anonymous for the story.

"A risk-averse person"

I read with interest the cover story on academic tenure (C&EN, Sept. 19, page 28). I believe it accurately captured the essence of the debate about the value of tenure in our current academic climate. In my 25 years as a faculty member at a major land-grant university, I have seen changes over the years. I have also had the privilege of serving under the leadership of some excellent administrators, but have suffered under the burden and the weight of others. 
Twenty-five years ago when I was hired as an assistant professor, the main mantra was “publish or perish.” The tenure and promotion process was unambiguous (at best) and lacked transparency. Today, our assistant professors have mentoring committees and multiple-year checkups and other systems to elucidate the process; all this is good. 
When I started here, the deans and chancellors knew me and knew what I did. Today, however, many administrators use a variety of metrics to “quantify” research, teaching, and service impact. I have no problem making these metrics, but I wonder sometimes if faculty effectiveness is quantifiable. 
My h-index is 19, I publish in journals with an impact factor of 1.63, and I generate XX external dollars; does this mean I am doing research that really matters and really makes a difference? In response to this, I share an idea with our new faculty, one that says, “Administrators can count, but they cannot read.” An administrator can tell you that you have seven refereed journal articles per year, but they cannot evaluate the relative impact or importance of those papers. An administrator can count your grant dollars, and the resulting overhead that comes with them, but seldom do they ever ask, “Why are you doing this research?” or ask, “What is the relevance” of this research to the state and nation? 
I am very happy to be in a tenured faculty position. I work in the area of agrochemicals, and the instability of companies, as demonstrated by massive mergers and buyouts, reinforces my attitude of being a risk-averse person. To quote a colleague of mine who commented after many company people were “let go” after mergers, “These low-paying government jobs are not all bad.” Yes, I could make substantially more money working for a company, but I really enjoy what I do and I have the academic freedom to pursue those areas of inquiry that matter to me and to my stakeholders and to my state. I can also write this letter. 
Thomas C. Mueller
Seems to me that Professor Mueller has it pretty good. Question is: will current students and professors have it equally good? I suspect the answer is 'no'?

(Can the tradeoff in pay versus security be quantified? If a professor takes a position for $10,000 less than an industrial position and gets tenure, how much is the potential pay gap at the end of a 30 year career, assuming the industrial person doesn't get laid off?

Back of the envelope calculation: In 2015, the median salary for academic ACS members was $78,000, while the median industrial salary (heh) was $115,000. Over a 30 year period, this gap would be a pretty substantial amount of money. I don't have the time at the moment to do the calculation, but my guess is that it would amount to a $500,000 gap over a career - that's a lot of money.) 

This week's C&EN

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

Thursday, October 27, 2016

We're #36! We're #36!

From the inbox, a list of the top 50 best paying college majors from Glassdoor. At least we beat out the biologists (coming in at #50 with a $41,250 median base salary.)

(In reality, I have my doubts about the accuracy of this list, but as one might expect, the engineers are the top earners.)

Daily Pump Trap: 10/27/16 edition

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

Cleveland, OH: Interesting and not altogether unexpected that the Cleveland Clinic is setting up a drug discovery core. This director position would be a good fit for the right pharma vet who wishes to take in more games at Jacobs Field.

Louisville, KY: Hexion is looking for a product development chemist for resins. The educational requirements are interesting:
PhD in Organic, Polymer Chemistry or related field (Paper Processing) or MS with 5 years of experience or Bachelors of Science with 10+ years experience with an exceptional track record.
I think the place where these requirements go wrong is attempting to specify the number of years of experience needed. Is 8 years of an exceptional track record and a B.S. in chemistry not enough? 

Oak Ridge, TN: Oak Ridge National Laboratories is searching for a postdoctoral position in molten salt synthesis.
Interesting: I found this B.S./M.S.-oriented "Science and Technology Fellowship" program with the Institute for Defense Analyses position unusual and worth some attention. 

McIntosh, AL: BASF is looking for a technology chemist (B.S. in chemistry, experience needed). I really like this slew of buzzwords: 
Participate in cross-functional teams to develop innovation chain improvements and solve plant problems. Use the Stage-Gate Innovation Chain process to facilitate this cross-functional participation.
"The Stage-Gate Innovation Chain process." Where's Pai Mei when you need him?

Wine chemist wanted: Where else? Napa Valley, California, of course. B.S., 2 years experience desired.

Washington, MO: R.D. Laboratories, Inc is searching for 2 analytical chemists.

Woburn, MA: Organix, doing its thing.

A broader look: Monster, Careerbuilder, Indeed and show (respectively) "1000+", 345, 9868 and 22 positions for the search term "chemist." LinkedIn shows 2,332 positions for the search term "chemist" and 14,273 for the search term "chemistry." Job titles from LinkedIn - first with quotes, and the second without: Analytical chemist: 247/306. Research chemist: 34/45. Synthetic chemist: 16/415. Medicinal chemist: 16/53. Organic chemist: 26/64. Process chemist: 16/40. Process development chemist: 4/5. Formulation chemist: 35/41. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

ACS Presidential Candidate Thomas Gilbert on #chemjobs issues

I recently sent an e-mail to Professor Thomas Gilbert, who is currently running for the ACS President-Elect position to see if he was interested in answering four questions for ACS presidential candidates about chemist employment and unemployment. Here are his unedited answers:
1. Which ACS program do you think best helps the job-seeking ACS member? How would you improve it? 
Career Navigator (CN) is the ACS one-stop shopping center for helping members advance their careers and land new jobs. Its resources include career counseling; basic guidance on resume writing and interview preparation, and linking job seekers with prospective employers. These are effective tools as long as job seekers have the knowledge, skills, and experience to the fill the jobs that are available. For those who don’t, CN offers a variety of face-to-face and online training courses. These are quality courses, but they have price tags to match: often between $1000 and $2000, which is more than many members can afford, particularly those who have been out of work or who took huge pay cuts to find permanent jobs. On my Presidential to-do list is making these courses and other professional education services available to unemployed and under-employed members at reduced or no cost. 
2. Is it ACS policy to get more students to study in STEM fields, specifically chemistry? If so, how do we reconcile the fact that wages for chemists are stagnant? Does this argue against the idea of a STEM shortage and the need for more STEM students? 
It is true that ACS has major programs designed to improve the quality of K-12 STEM and chemistry education in the US, and to encourage students from under-represented groups to pursue careers in chemistry. The goals of these programs are to create a population that has an understanding of, and appreciation for, how science and scientific inquiry benefits all of us, and to create more diversity among chemistry professionals. I don’t see them significantly increasing the size of the chemistry work force. If others argue that ACS should be restricting enrollments in undergrad and grad chemistry programs, my counter argument is that we should focus on improving the quality of those programs so that they produce graduates who have the knowledge, skills and experience that are in demand in today’s chemical enterprise, recognizing that future job growth will not be within the traditional boundaries of chemistry but in cross-disciplinary areas built on an understanding of how processes work at the molecular level. ACS-certified education programs need to reflect that reality. 
3. In the past decade, what was the one action of any ACS President that has had the greatest influence -good or bad - on members' employment and careers? Other than working groups and reports, what tangible steps would you take to increase the number of chemistry jobs in the US, and is this something you think is really achievable? 
An action that I believe will have an impact on the ability of young MS and PhD chemists to find employment is the work of the 2012 Presidential Commission on Graduate Education in the Chemical Sciences. Their report made it clear that too many graduate programs are preparing students for jobs that no longer exist, guaranteeing that their students will dwell in the land of the perpetual post-doc for years before they acquire the skills – and not just laboratory skills – that they need to land a decent job. On too many campuses, graduate programs in chemistry are archaic, inefficient and inherently unfair to the students in them. The time has come to address this problem by putting into action the recommendations of the 2012 presidential commission. 
4. One of the chief roles of the ACS to advocate for chemists in the US Congress. Which of the following options would you prioritize, and why? (increased grant funding, more training in entrepreneurship for students, shifting funding from academia to more SBIRs or retraining postdocs?) 
Linked to my answer to the previous question, I believe that ACS should work with NSF, NIH, and other funding agencies to redesign how young chemists are trained. We need national models of cooperative undergraduate and graduate education in the chemical sciences that encourage partnerships between faculty and their colleagues in industry. Programs supported by these partnerships would provide undergrads with experiences they do not get in most college teaching labs, and would engage graduate students in interdisciplinary collaborations focused on solving real-world problems that actually impact peoples’ lives. I believe prospective employers would find considerable value in the knowledge, skills and experience that graduates of these programs would have.
Thanks to Professor Gilbert for his responses.

Process Wednesday: "seasoning"?

In an article titled "Industrial Suzuki chemistry" in the "Special Publication" section of the September 2016 issue of Speciality Chemicals (always a good read), the authors (John C. Parks and Eric L. Williams of Albemarle) mention an interesting technique I have not heard of yet:
Suzuki reactions are prone to catalyst poisoning. This means that it is wise to clean reaction equipment diligently and maintain a dedicated reactor for the Suzuki step. For very high value chemicals, Albemarle will run a reactor seasoning batch before starting the campaign. 
A seasoning batch is typically the desired Suzuki reaction run at one-tenth the normal concentration. If the seasoning batch runs to ~90% completion, we generally consider the reactor seasoned. 
I've never heard of this, has anyone else? I'm not quite sure what they mean by "seasoned." This usually makes me think of "seasoning" a cast-iron pan, i.e. polymerizing a protective oil coating on the surface. In this case, I suspect that it is a test to see whether or not there are catalyst poisons (sulfur compounds, etc) on the reactor wall? It'd be interesting to know if there was a difference between different reactor materials (glass, stainless steel, Hastelloy.) 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Dickinson State professor was making and grinding acetone peroxide?

A couple of days ago, there was a brief conversation on Twitter (started by Daniel Horowitz) about a reported explosion at Dickinson State University on October 4. Here's a brief report by Kalsey Stults in the West Fargo Pioneer:
DICKINSON, N.D.—Students at Dickinson State University were back to an unceremonious Wednesday, Oct. 5, 24 hours after Murphy Hall was evacuated and a faculty member was injured in a classroom explosion Tuesday afternoon. 
Chemistry professor Ken Pierce was preparing a classroom demonstration around 3:30 p.m. when an incident occurred resulting in a small explosion. [snip] 
Jack Schulz, DSU's director of security and emergency management, said the classroom showed visible signs of an explosion with parts of the counter being damaged, and blood and debris around the room. Schulz said the second floor of the building was evacuated within minutes and someone aided in helping Pierce with his injuries and giving first aid until paramedics arrived on scene. 
"There was a young lady that had some type of medical training either in the room or in the area, and she provided a little bit of first aid on him (Pierce)," Schulz said.
The professor's hands were bandaged before he was taken by ambulance. 
Schulz said the head of the chemistry department notified him immediately that there was no dangerous airborne chemicals to be concerned about in the lab and there was no fire from the explosion. Schulz said knowing that there was no immediate danger, it was about making sure students didn't panic, and said the evacuation was calm and orderly.
Yesterday, Ms. Stults (published here in the Grand Forks Herald) mentions this set of details about the incident (emphasis CJ's):
On Oct. 4 at 3:25 p.m. Pierce was conducting a chemistry demonstration in room 206 of Murphy Hall when the demonstration went awry. 
He was demonstrating flash powder—a compound made from hydrogen peroxide and acetone—for five students. After the two compounds were mixed and sat for a couple of hours to dry they then become a powder. 
During the first experiment Pierce noticed a small amount of powder in the mixture, and when he ignited the powder it flashed but the clump of powder combusted—which he thought was unusual but continued. 
He then conducted two more experiments without incident, but before the fourth experiment Pierce noted small clumps of powder in the mixture. 
Pierce then poured in mortar and pestle to grind them up, but when he started to grind the mixture, it exploded. 
Pierce suffered non-life threatening injuries and was transported to CHI St. Alexius Hospital in Dickinson before being transferred to Bismarck for surgery... 
...Pierce was wearing personal protective equipment including goggles and students had been tested on safety protocol at the beginning of the semester.
So I am open to the possibility that the details of this experiment were incorrectly reported by university officials. However, if the details are accurate (and I have no reason to doubt that they were), here's what we know:
  • Professor Pierce was preparing something that sounds awfully like acetone peroxide. Couple of things:  
    • Acetone peroxide is famously touchy stuff. 
    • I was under the impression that acetone peroxide preparations included some acid? Apparently not needed. 
  • Professor Pierce was wearing some amount of PPE. 
  • The acetone peroxide mixture exploded when ground in a mortar and pestle. (Not a surprise there.) 
A few questions remain: 
  • Was there an appropriate risk assessment done in regards to Professor Pierce's PPE? 
  • How close or far away were the students from the bench when this happened? 
  • What was the scale of the acetone peroxide experiment? 
  • Were there any records of the amounts used for the experiment? 
In general, I think that pops and bangs are an integral part of chemistry demonstrations. That said, the intentional (or unintentional?) preparation of a primary explosive seems unusual at best. 

2017 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 415 positions

The 2017 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated mostly by Andrew Spaeth, with minor help from me) has 415 positions.

Have you had a Skype/phone interview with a position on the Faculty Jobs List? Please add the date of the interview to the open thread. The open thread is here.

Ivory Filter Flask: 10/25/16 edition

A few of the academic positions posted at C&EN Jobs:

Norman, OK: The University of Oklahoma is looking for an assistant professor of organic geochemistry.

Honolulu, HI: The University of Hawaii at Manoa is looking for 3 assistant or associate professor positions:
The successful candidates will be expected to develop robust research programs at the intersection of Biochemistry with Organic, Inorganic, and Physical Chemistry. Candidates with research interests in traditional areas of Organic Chemistry will also be considered. Research that takes advantage of the unique natural environment and strategic needs of the State of Hawaii will receive special consideration. The successful candidate will also demonstrate an ability to contribute to the teaching mission of the department at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
Sounds interesting.

Clarksville, TN: Austin Peay State University is looking for an assistant professor of physical chemistry.

Duluth, MN: The University of Minnesota Duluth is searching for an assistant or associate professor of chemistry to work on experimental materials chemistry.

Fredonia, NY: SUNY Fredonia is looking for an assistant professor of bioinorganic chemistry (?).

Northampton, MA: Smith College is looking for a two year visiting assistant professor. "Specializations may include but are not limited to: General, Organic, Inorganic and Physical Chemistry, as well as Biochemistry and Environmental Chemistry." Casting a broad net, I see. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Take the penalty

Also in this week's C&EN, a good response in a letter to the editor to a recent article in C&EN about data integrity at overseas API manufacturers: 
The story “Foreign Drug Suppliers Caught in Data Dragnet” has a subtitle that reads, “Critics say FDA’s focus on data integrity is blocking drugs from otherwise good manufacturers” (C&EN, Sept. 19, page 26). 
Apparently, some “proficient drug manufacturers” in India and China are complaining that they have received warning letters from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration or have been banned from the U.S. because they “have failed inspections for undocumented deletions of test results or for not controlling who has access to data history.” 
These active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) companies suggest that it is okay to discard data because of incorrect sampling, incorrect standard preparation, incorrect sample weighing, etc. They want FDA to give them “mulligans” because they believe that “it’s common sense to discard meaningless data.” 
Nonsense! If a manufacturer’s analytical group is making multiple “innocent” errors such as those described on the “mulligan” list and then the group discards the data, it is not only violating current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) regulations, it is avoiding corrective actions for incidents that may be part of a systemic problem. Are the multiple errors because a company’s analysts are not properly trained and/or not following the appropriate standard operating procedures? Do such companies even have SOPs? 
Let’s, for the sake of argument, say that an analytical group for a cGMP manufacturer had only one innocent error and it discarded the data. If, under a “mulligan” approach, a manufacturer is allowed to discard data, how would FDA know whether there was just a single incident or thousands of events? 
The cGMP regulations were established and are enforced to prevent injury and death to the ultimate consumer, the patient. Although there are numerous examples where analytical error and/or outright fraud has led to serious consequences, I’ll cite just one for brevity: 
Between 2007 and 2008, Scientific Protein Laboratories, a manufacturer with facilities in China, substituted oversulfated chondroitin sulfate for heparin, possibly because the cost of chondroitin was one-hundredth the cost of heparin. The “error” went undetected by Scientific Protein Laboratories’ quality-control lab; the company then sold the drug substance to Baxter International. Baxter’s manufacturing analytical group failed to detect the contamination both in the raw material and in the final drug product. This resulted in hundreds of deaths and injuries. 
I’ve worked in the pharmaceutical industry for several decades. I don’t believe that cGMP suppliers in China, India, or elsewhere should be given “mulligans” for what they perceive are trivial problems. API suppliers need to have a system to report all analytical problems and, when appropriate, implement and report corrective actions. 
David Allen Marsh
Bonita Springs, Fla.
I couldn't agree more. It's not the fault of FDA inspectors that some companies can't keep their analysts from deleting inconvenient data.  

This week's C&EN

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

Friday, October 21, 2016

0.1 micron syringe filters

A collection of small, useful things (links):
Again, an open invitation to all interested in writing a blog, a hobby that will bring you 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.

Why not a chemistry Cannonball Run?

A successful jerry-rigging
Credit: Benjamin Preston, The Drive
I promise that this isn't turning in to a car blog, but I cannot resist this piece by Benjamin Preston at The Drive, about a Cannonball Run (i.e. a cross-country automobile race.) The stipulation of this particular race is that the vehicle had to have been purchased for less than $3000 and be a vehicle from the 1970s. You should read the whole thing, but I especially enjoyed this part about fixing an alternator that had been problematic the entire trip:
...Perhaps as subliminal compensation for my failure to address the alternator issue back in New York, when it would have made a difference, I had, at the last minute, thrown the Omega's original alternator into the back of the trunk. Covered in oil and grime, it had come with the car's 6-cylinder engine when it had rolled off the assembly line in Flint back in 1974. I had little confidence in this soiled, elderly part, which was why I'd sprung for the remanufactured-in-Mexico Autozone alternator to begin with. 
This stop required more pause for thought, but the headscratching cost us time. After installing the oily original-equipment alternator, Hart and I discussed the heat problems associated with an under-sized alternator. What if, he reasoned, we could find a way to cool the alternator, thereby keeping it from burning out like the others? 
"Can you run without the bonnet?" he asked, suggesting that maybe we could remove the hood and strap it to the roof to allow cool air to flow across the alternator. I wasn't into this one, but then he wondered aloud if we could devise some sort of ducting to cool the overheating part. 
Next to the dead-end parts store we'd stopped at was a Tractor Supply Co., a veritable trove of useable odds and ends. From there, we picked up a length of flexible RV sewage hose, cutting it in half to form two shorter hoses. Zip-tying one end of each into the slots on the car's lower bumper, we routed the hoses between the hood and radiator support, then zip-tied the other ends to the alternator. Hart fixed a bottomless McDonald's cup into one of the hoses to form a sort of intake. The idea was that cold air from outside would, at speed, be forced into the hoses and up onto the alternator to keep it cool. Almost an hour later, we wrapped up our junior high school engineering project and got back on I-40. 
Although the headlights dimmed whenever the fan kicked on, the charge light left us alone for the rest of the trip...
Successful improvisation is really one of those things that has a psychological payoff like no other. It's good for team building (when it works, that is) and it can almost be fun to solve a problem under pressure.

Also, wouldn't it be cool if there was some sort of chemistry-related endurance race? Maybe it could be something where you had to improvise and perform a 4 step synthesis, but each reaction had to be run in a different time zone? I dunno, I'm probably crazy, but I'd enjoy running a recrystallization in the middle of the night while trying to figure out the fastest route to the next fuel stop...

Thursday, October 20, 2016

STEM, computer workers and their degrees

Credit: Census Bureau
Someone asked a really good question about chemists and computer occupations over at the Chemistry Reddit:
It seems to me that a disproportionate number of chemists end up taking up programming to some extent, and sometimes transfer to that field entirely. Does anybody else feel the same way? And why do you think this would be?
I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the Census Bureau's data about this, where they correlate the various STEM degrees and the occupational fields of their degree holders through the American Community Survey. As you can see, the green/teal line is the number of B.S. physical science degree holders who go into occupations classified as "computer workers." As you can see, it's large, but not especially large compared to those who get engineering degrees or computer science degrees.

To get further into the weeds, I calculated the percentages of computer workers for degree holders for the "STEM" fields:

Computers, mathematics and statistics degrees: 43% computer workers
Engineering degrees: 15% computer workers
Physical science degrees: 7% computer workers
Biological, environmental and agricultural sciences degrees: 3% computer workers
Psychology degrees: 3% computer workers
Social sciences degrees: 4% computer workers

Looking at the data, it seems to me to be equivocal. If you compare to "TEM" workers, no, chemists do not end up disproportionately as programmers. However, the data does suggest that, of the "S" fields, the physical sciences disproportionately end up as computer workers. 

Daily Pump Trap: 10/20/16 edition

A (very) few of the positions posted at C&EN Jobs: 

Aliso Viejo, CA: Calhoun Vision is looking for an experienced M.S./Ph.D. chemist to be a director of chemical sciences and engineering. They'll be "responsible for the development and implementation for all formulation and automation processes for the fabrication of the silicone polymer lens technology." Also, a principal analytical chemist position from the same company. 

RTP: AgBiome is looking for a M.S./Ph.D. chemist to work on formulation for "novel biological pest and disease control products."

Colorado Springs, CO: The Institute for Defense Analyses is looking for a research analyst to work with the Missile Defense Agency. M.S./Ph.D. desired.

Boca Raton, FL: Duane Morris is an IP law firm; they've posted a patent agent/technical advisor position and an intellectual property associate position. 

Ventura, CA: JH Biotech, Inc. is looking for a M.S./Ph.D. organic chemist for a research scientist position; local candidates preferred. 70-80k offered. 

A broader look: Monster, Careerbuilder, Indeed and show (respective) "1000+", 345, 10,121 and 19 positions for the search term "chemist." LinkedIn shows 2,273 positions for the search term "chemist". I did a little experiment today where I searched the following job titles both without quotes on the job title, and with. The 'without' quotes is the first number. Analytical chemist: 184/216. Research chemist: 49/39. Formulation chemist: 41/35. Synthetic chemist: 405/15. Medicinal chemist: 51/15. Organic chemist: 63/28. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

What's more expensive, Boston or San Francisco?

A cherished friend of the blog writes in with the following question; it has been [redacted] for privacy: 
I am trying to gauge the growth of the biotech/pharma sector in the Bay Area over the last few years: as you know, Boston is still the top destination, so my main concern is whether I will find other jobs if [things don't work out].  
[Also], I was wondering what a “good” salary is for the Bay Area. Currently [my spouse] is finishing grad school so we are pretty much a single income family, but [they] are getting [their advanced degree in tech] so we’re hoping that [they] will be making a decent amount of money soon. Any sources which can help me compare, for instance, what the equivalent of say a 120K salary in Boston would be for SF would be immensely helpful.
This is a good question, and one that I don't really have a strong sense of. It seems to me that San Francisco will continue to play "1A" to Boston's "1" for the foreseeable future. Absent some sort of bizarre catastrophe that strikes Silicon Valley, Stanford and UC-Berkeley (a series of huge earthquakes and fires?), it's hard for me to imagine that the science and financial ecosystem of the Bay Area will lose its relative position in the biopharma world, either nationally or internationally.

A brief look at median incomes and household income percentiles may be instructive, regarding pay scales. There are plenty of websites that compare cost of living, and I don't really know if any of them are better than others. I invite reader suggestions on that one.

However, I think one of the main drivers of high cost of living is the relative number of people with high incomes (I note here that I have read exactly none of the relevant social science around this.) So, a comparison of San Francisco County and Suffolk County, Massachusetts (using the Census Bureau's 2014 American Community Survey):

Suffolk County, MA: median income of $54,169, 26.9% earn more than $100,000
San Francisco County, CA: median income of $78,378, 40.9% earn more than $100,000

Nearby counties:

Middlesex County, MA: median income of $83,488, 42% earn more than $100,000
Norfolk County, MA: median income of $86,469, 43.6% earn more than $100,000
San Mateo County, CA: median income of $91,421, 46.2% earn more than $100,000 
Marin County, CA: median income of $91,529, 58.2% earn more than $100,000

This suggests to me that one would have to earn significantly more than $120,000 ($174,000?) in order to keep the same lifestyle.* That is, of course, likely a ridiculous wild guess. Readers, please tell me how wrong I am.

UPDATE: Thanks to Joe Q., I've decided to add some of the adjoining counties. 

*Or, likely, that's how much you would have to earn to stay in the immediate metro area of the city, and not have a longer commute? 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

2017 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 401 positions

The 2017 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated mostly by Andrew Spaeth, with minor help from me) has 401 positions. The open thread is here. 

Daily Pump Trap: 10/18/16 edition

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

Plymouth, MN: Cargill, looking for a "Global Bioanalytical Lead". M.S./Ph.D. with experience, looks like. "This position requires strong analytical chemistry skills, especially related to biotechnology field, as well as strong leadership skills. The incumbent will be accountable for overall direction of bioanalytical within the global BioRD, provide leadership in assessing needs of BioRD and making sure those needs are met and coordinated across all BioRD locations."

Kenilworth, NJ: Merck, looking for a M.S./Ph.D. with experience in high-throughput laboratory equipment and biologics testing. 

Los Angeles, CA: Matrix Sensors, Inc. is looking for a B.S. chemist to be a laboratory technician; looks to be something about gas sensors? 2-5 years experience is what they're looking for - I'd be surprised if they can get that.

Virginia Beach, VA: These positions always are eye-catching, especially in their vagueness:
Point One USA, LLC seeks a PhD level Chemist to support advanced Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) courses of instruction specifically designed to train EOD operators assigned to special operations units and to conduct test and evaluation for federal government agencies. Candidates must have verifiable experience working with and synthesizing energetic materials. Candidates must have the ability to teach non-chemist personnel to familiarize and educate them on the hazards associated with chemical warfare agents, terrorist homemade explosives and precursor materials. Willingness to travel both domestically and abroad on a frequent basis is a must. Ability to work in austere, dynamic and diverse environments with multiple professional disciplines is essential. Some lifting, collateral duties and work with hazardous materials is necessary. Candidates with military, biology or radiological training/experience is preferred. 
- Must have a PhD
- Must relocate to Virginia Beach, VA
- Must be willing to travel
- Must be able to teach non-chemist
"....Evaluations for federal government agencies." I like it. 

Ivory Filter Flask: 10/18/16 edition

A few academic positions posted recently at C&EN Jobs:

Los Angeles, CA: UCLA is looking for an assistant professor of computational chemistry. "Expertise in the computational design of catalysts for organic, organometallic, and inorganic reactions is preferred."

Houston, TX: The University of Houston, looking for an assistant professor of bioorganic chemistry.

Montreal, Quebec: The University of Montreal is looking for two assistant professors, one in polymer chemistry and one in inorganic chemistry.

Athens, GA: The University of Georgia is searching for an assistant professor of analytical chemistry.

Lacey, WA: St. Martin's University, looking for two assistant professors:
The Department of Natural Sciences at Saint Martin’s University seeks to fill two full-time, tenure-track, entry-level faculty positions in the Chemistry program. One position is for an expert in the field of Analytical or Biochemistry and the other is for an expert in Environmental, Green, or Geochemistry. The finalist for the latter position will regularly teach Physical Geology, a required part of the curriculum for engineering majors.
I think they're advertising for two positions, but the way that it is worded, it almost seems like 3. It's most likely two.

Baltimore, MD: A postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Professor Andrew Horti in synthetic medicinal chemistry. "Spacious" labs - that's not a detail you see every day.

Colorado Springs, CO: Not every day that you see these types of positions, but I see that Colorado College is looking for a B.S./M.S. medicinal chemist for a research project.

Faculty search: Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University

The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University invites applications for at least 5 new faculty positions as part of its planned expansion. Targeted areas for the current search include*: 
Chemistry: Chemical Biology; Materials Chemistry (including Polymer Chemistry, Metal-Organic Frameworks)
Life Sciences: Cell Biology; Theoretical Biology; Behavioral Learning Theory
Mathematics: Discrete Mathematics; Computational Sciences; Big Data Analysis
Physics: Quantum Information; Ultracold Physics; Condensed Matter; Cosmology/Gravitational Waves 
We are seeking applicants with excellent scholarship and creativity. Successful candidates are expected to establish an active program of research, supervise student research and teach in the graduate program. Generous research resources are provided which may be supplemented with external grants. Appointments will be Tenure-Track or Tenured. Starting date is flexible.
*Applications from strong candidates in other fields may be considered.
Full job description here. Best wishes to those interested.  

Monday, October 17, 2016

Nice to see the divide has always been there

Also in this week's C&EN, a fun little letter: 
C&EN’s recent article on the shortage of vanilla beans (Sept. 12, page 38) brought to mind a story from the early days of cellophane at DuPont. 
The cellophane marketing organization was being introduced to a new series of films coated with polyvinylidene chloride from Dow Chemical rather than nitrocellulose from DuPont. The marketing organization was, by design, made up of nontechnically trained personnel. 
After the presentation of the virtues of the new films, two high-ranking marketing managers were heard involved in a discussion on “where would they get all of the vanilla beans?” 
Elwood P. Blanchard Jr.
Mendenhall, Pa.
I'm amused to see that the sniping between technical types and marketing types has always been with us.  

This week's C&EN

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

Saturday, October 15, 2016

View From Your Hood: Toronto edition

Credit: Christine Le
Christine Le, via Twitter: "Though I hate climbing all the stairs from the NMR lab, I get to see this amazing view each time #viewfromthehood #toronto"

(got a View from Your Hood submission? Send it in (with a caption, please) at; will run every other Friday.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Always a good time to play "hey, this picture looks funny."

Credit: F.X. Coudert
Let's play the game of nanoparticles… Ag vs ZnO, two different syntheses, two different papers in @ELSchemistry journals.

Why can't we have an NMR in a plane?

Credit: Wikimedia
Via the chemistry Reddit, is that really a mass spec in a NASA plane? (Looks like it is possible, and here's a similar picture?)

I get the sense that no one's mounted a NMR in a plane or a boat or a car. Too bad.

UPDATE: Thanks to bad wolf, I see that underground NMR for oil wells is real. Also, check out this company that actually sells NMRs to analyze groundwater. Of all the places where I expected to find NMR, underground was not one of them.

UPDATE 2: In the comments, examples of NMR in cars and proposals for NMR in space! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

2017 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 388 positions

The 2017 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated mostly by Andrew Spaeth, with minor help from me) has 388 positions. The open thread is here. 

Conversations with Cramer: How should you talk to undergraduates about graduate school?

A frequent reader was prompted by Professor Cramer's recent advice on applying to graduate school to ask the following question to him: 
In my professional capacity, I frequently work with undergraduate students who are considering graduate school in chemistry. For some of them, that choice reflects a love of chemistry and a genuine intellectual desire to do research and/or pursue a career in science. Many of these undergraduates have read widely and forged relationships with faculty. They make their decision to postpone their career for half a decade or more with eyes wide open. 
Others, however, bright and successful though they may be, are not so well-informed. They may easily gain admission to programs, but their reasons for wanting to go to graduate school do not arise from a genuine interest in chemistry. Rather, they demonstrate an unwillingness to make an immediate career decision and cite a need to procrastinate in their job search. I have even heard reasons like “because my [boyfriend/girlfriend/significant other] is going to graduate school and I want to go with them.” (This makes me want to cringe, but who am I to tell someone how to live their life?) In short, they seem to be choosing graduate school because they feel like they have nothing better to do. 
I never want to discourage anyone from following their heart and I refuse to think (despite or because of my own experiences in graduate school and career) that I know better than anyone who is making this very personal decision. When they ask for my advice, I hesitate to say anything other than “are you sure you have thought this through?” and then I send them in the direction of CJ’s blog.  
I would appreciate hearing someone else’s take on how to handle this with tact and concern. How do you stress to students that graduate school undertaken for misguided reasons may result in anguish and that the rewards are not guaranteed?
Professor Cramer responds:
To be honest, I think we have to salute this questioner for having achieved what seems, to me, to be pretty much the optimal combination of compassion and self-restraint. By contrast, many people confronted with situations like this, while admirably motivated by concern, nevertheless engage in a bit of hubris in assuming that they know better what an individual should do with their life than does the individual. Relying on my own experience as a faculty advisor, and also as a Director of Graduate Studies, I have seen students excel who I never thought would make it, and I’ve seen seeming superstars crash and burn as disconnects between expectations and reality set in. And usually that process takes two to three years — as that’s about 10-15% of the life span of a person that age, one can be forgiven for doing poorly with predictions made based on antecedent circumstances. 
I see at least a couple of factors here. First, people have to be allowed to make mistakes — we learn from them — they build resilience. That said, it is CERTAINLY appropriate to have a conversation that focuses on questions like, “Why do you want to go to graduate school?”, “What do you want to do afterwards that makes graduate school the right choice for you?”, and “Do you feel like you’ve done enough research on what to expect that you understand what graduate school is going to be like?” Sharing information and experience surely cannot hurt, and may moreover be useful in guiding an individual’s choice of programs, assuming grad school continues to be thought to be the preferred option. 
Second, one should not discount the enormous potential influence of both a program and of an advisor. Trying to align desired outcomes with the right programs and people can be decisive in fostering success. Impressing upon ANY student (whether you think they’re burning to be a Ph.D. or not) that they should address those questions during program visits and talks with prospective advisors is noble work. We programs and advisors are supposed to do our best NOT to have a lot of crashing and burning going on! (Mind you, it is simply unrealistic to think that every admitted student will be successful, but that’s a topic for another time.) 
I’ll say again that I like very much how the questioner put it: one should structure one’s response around “tact and concern” while recognizing the fundamental agency of the individual. 
Readers, what do you think? What's the best advice to someone who is waffling a bit about graduate school? How do you inform while respecting their agency?  

Monday, October 10, 2016

Senior ACS members talk tenure

A couple of interesting letters to the editor in this week's C&EN about tenure, one telling their story of finding it unfair:
...After two years, I was reviewed by three tenured faculty members who had been doing the same mundane research for more than 20 years, whereas I was trying to do novel research in an area that was related to, but somewhat differed from, my Ph.D. thesis work. Although I had the second-highest publication rate in the entire department, I was told that I was publishing in the “wrong journals,” which meant that instead of the Journal of the Chemical Society and the Journal of Organometallic Chemistry, I should have been publishing in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. I therefore decided that, rather than playing the “games” that the system clearly required, I did not want to be a part of the tenure system and decided to look for a job in the industrial sector. 
Since this was a time when the economy was quite bad and I was not yet a U.S. citizen, it took me two years to find a suitable industrial position. During this period, a faculty member who was considered by students to be one of the worst teachers in the entire department but had the contacts to bring money into the department was awarded tenure. I stayed in the industrial sector for 30 years. 
Leaving the academic sector was the best decision that I have ever made, and I never looked back. I liked the idea that although I could get fired, so could my boss, and that actually happened on a few occasions. Of course, the industrial sector changed radically during my time in it, and eventually I was “retired” by the last company that I worked for. Not being ready to retire, I found a full-time teaching position at a two-year technical/community college where teaching is the only criteria that is used to keep your position. There is no tenure as everyone is given a nine-month contract, and as I am now in my 12th year, this is approaching the longest time that I have worked for any company during my industrial career. 
Stuart C. Cohen
Myrtle Beach, S.C.
I found this one pretty amusing, for some bizarre reason. You should click through to read the "jury duty" aspect of his time serving on a tenure committee:
The interesting articles on tenure were noteworthy for their comments by “victims” but contained nothing from individuals who served on tenure committees.... 
...One final note: All of the people I knew who were denied tenure went on to other appropriate professional positions. In one case, an individual was put in charge of a laboratory and began calling his old colleagues and asking if they knew any recent chemistry graduates he could hire. 
G. David Mendenhall
Pomona, N.Y.
Please allow me to express my mild skepticism about Professor Mendenhall's comments that all the people he knew were able to find appropriate positions. But then again, perhaps there weren't very many, and so it's probably more believable than not. 

A useful paragraph from this week's C&EN

I have long desired a complete profile of the structure of academic and governmental chemical R&D in China. We have a general sense of the Harvard of China (Peking University) and some prominent institutions (Hangzhou University and the Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, say.) Outside of that, I confess my near-complete ignorance of the structure of the Chinese academic R&D apparatus.

So I welcome Mitch Jacoby's profile about the Beijing-based Institute of Chemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ICCAS), and I thought this was an especially helpful comment:
As might be expected from a large bureaucratic country, much of China’s scientific research is organized according to a hierarchical laboratory system. For example, the academy supports many so-called CAS Key Laboratories. CAS awards that prestigious designation—and the ample level of funding that goes with it—to teams of investigators with an impressive research track record in a select area. 
ICCAS is home to eight such labs including the CAS Key Laboratory of Organic Solids, the CAS Key Laboratory of Green Printing, the CAS Key Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry for Living Biosystems, and the CAS Key Laboratory of Engineering Plastics. 
A step up from those labs—in terms of prestige and financial support—are the so-called State Key Laboratories. ICCAS is home to three such labs, including the State Key Laboratory of Polymer Physics & Chemistry, the State Key Laboratory of Molecular Dynamics, and the State Key Laboratory for Structural Chemistry of Unstable & Stable Species.

This week's C&EN

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

Sunday, October 9, 2016

ACS Presidential Candidate Peter Dorhout on #chemjobs issues

I recently sent an e-mail to Professor Peter Dorhout, who is currently running for the ACS President-Elect position to see if he was interested in answering four questions for ACS presidential candidates about chemist employment and unemployment. Here are his unedited answers: 
1. Which ACS program do you think best helps the job-seeking ACS member? How would you improve it? 
The Career Navigator.  There are a number of improvements we can make that would complement what already exists in the CN.  First and foremost, ACS needs to promote this more.  At nearly every ACS talk I give, I ask the audience if anyone knows about it - very few members know anything about it. So, here’s the link:   
I am also a big proponent of getting an external opinion about programs.  I use professional consultants to help me improve my operations at K-State, why wouldn’t I also do the same for the CN?  The external consultant perspective doesn’t mean we’re doing something wrong, it provides a fresh view on things.  It’s how the world sees us that helps us improve the most.  
2. Is it ACS policy to get more students to study in STEM fields, specifically chemistry? If so, how do we reconcile the fact that wages for chemists are stagnant? Does this argue against the idea of a STEM shortage and the need for more STEM students? 
Your readers can review the ACS policy on STEM education for themselves:  ACS advocates for education "policies that respond to the challenges and opportunities posed by an aging workforce.”  Encouraging the best and brightest to pursue science careers is different from saying we need more scientists, specifically chemists.   
ACS also advocates for a diverse science workforce - broadening participation in science is key to maintaining creativity and innovation.  ACS and the nation need to continuously assess the workforce needs of the broad industry sector.  ACS also needs to continuously review what and how we need to teach in the chemistry curriculum - as the profession changes, so should the way we prepare students, including undergraduate, graduate, and postdocs. 
3. In the past decade, what was the one action of any ACS President that has had the greatest influence -good or bad - on members' employment and careers? Other than working groups and reports, what tangible steps would you take to increase the number of chemistry jobs in the US, and is this something you think is really achievable? 
This is a bit self-aggrandizing, but I was very impressed with what Joe Francisco was able to accomplish as President.  I was serving as the International Activities Chair when he crafted the International Center ( with me and Judy Benham, who followed me as Chair.  This virtual center cost ACS very little but it was designed to serve to help ACS members find ways to garner skills to be competitive in the global chemistry employment marketplace.  Like the Career Navigator, this is an underutilized resource for ACS.   
Related to employment, Joe also created the Entrepreneurship Center, which was designed to be a hub for information/education on how to become an entrepreneur.  It lost some traction with the Board a few years ago and was not renewed for funding.  I would like to try to revitalize that program, working with SCHB and BMGT along with SOCED to promote this project (again).  I doubt either of these activities/projects will create new jobs in the US, but I do think they will help our chemists be more competitive. 
4. One of the chief roles of the ACS to advocate for chemists in the US Congress. Which of the following options would you prioritize, and why? (increased grant funding, more training in entrepreneurship for students, shifting funding from academia to more SBIRs or retraining postdocs?) 
In my job, I spend several days each quarter in DC advocating for various research projects and support for Kansas State.  We have been very successful at moving the needle in several areas, particularly in agriculture and physics.  I understand much of the “lay of the land” when it comes to how Congress operates (if “understand” is synonymous with figure it out each time), but we will have new leadership in 2017 and the opportunity to craft new directions.   
Industry currently accounts for >65% of all funding for R&D (total R&D funding in 2015 was $453bn).  Those investments in R&D need to be recognized as valuable contributions to not only manufacturing jobs, but basic, applied, and development jobs.  Credit for those investments made in the US enterprise would encourage companies to continue to invest in innovation and creative thinking that will help our companies prosper here.
 Thanks to Professor Dorhout for his responses.

Friday, October 7, 2016

What compounds soften rubber tires?

I'm a big fan of Tyler Rogoway, the defense journalist who blogs at the car-oriented website "The Drive." Thanks to a random clicking, I noticed this odd little story by Steve Cole Smith about NASCAR driver Tony Stewart being sued because of a dispute related to a racetrack that he owns: 
NASCAR Sprint Cup driver and team owner Tony Stewart appears to be headed back to court as part of a lawsuit filed against his Eldora Speedway, the dirt track in Ohio, and this one has nothing to do with the death of Kevin Ward, the New York sprint car driver who was killed when he charged Stewart’s still-moving sprint car during a race. 
This time, certifiably legendary dirt late model driver Scott Bloomquist, along with Jimmy Owens, Gregg Satterlee, Brandon Sheppard, and Ricky Thornton Jr., have sued Eldora, Stewart and sanctioning body UMP for damages that total $16.5 million. 
In dirt track racing, the softer the tires, the faster, and teams have been known to treat tires with chemicals that are readily available to make them softer. The makers of the chemicals label them as either difficult or impossible to detect, because using aftermarket additives on your tires is against the rules of most all sanctioning bodies, including UMP. The sanctioning body is controlled by World Racing Group, owner the World of Outlaws sprint car and late model series, and WRG was named in the suit as well.
So here's what I want to know - what kind of compounds will soften tire rubber? I'd think just about anything would, but how could it possibly be difficult to detect? (Also, aren't there straight property tests to detect if tire rubber was softened?) Random shows that some amateur racers use toluene (not a surprise), but how is that not detectable? 

I am so not a race fan, or someone who knows anything about cars - anyone out there know anything about this? 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Job postings: Takeda, San Diego, CA

From the inbox, two positions at Takeda San Diego: 

Staff scientist, medicinal chemistry: Pretty standard looking position, willing to hire a B.S. (12 years experience), M.S. (10 years experience) or Ph.D. (0-3 years experience.)  

Computational medicinal chemist, DSRE: "PhD in organic synthetic chemistry is desired although will also consider computational chemistry, biochemistry or related discipline with demonstrable understanding of medicinal and/or organic chemistry."

Best wishes to those interested.  

Postdoctoral openings: separations postdoc, Merck, Kenilworth, N.J.

From the inbox, a Merck postdoctoral position in Christopher Welch's laboratory:
Position Overview:
As a postdoctoral fellow in the Separations & High Throughput Analysis group within Process Research & Development you will work interactively with a highly collaborative team of scientists from the Analytical Separations, Mass Spectrometry, NMR, Process Research, Discovery and Informatics areas to conceive, design, and perform experiments aimed at the comparative evaluation of different technologies for improved rapid quantitation of unknown compounds at very small scale.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:
  • Extensive, hands-on utilization of HPLC-MS, SFC-MS instrumentation as well as alternate detectors such as CAD and CD.
  • Modification and design of laboratory equipment
  • Use of automation and robotics platforms
  • Data interpretation, manuscript preparation, publication and presentation of results
Full posting here. Papers published by Merck postdocs here. (CJ's note: thumbs up.) Best wishes to those interested. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

BREAKING: Sauvage, Stoddart and Feringa are 2016 Nobel Prize Laureates in Chemistry

Here's the Nobel Prize citation on the website.

I look forward to our future with molecular machines - it will be interesting to know where they first show up in commercialized products, and what they look like (and how much they look like the machines of Sauvage, Stoddart and Feringa.)

Daily Pump Trap: 10/4/16 edition

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

Billerica, MA: Entegris is looking for a Ph.D. chemist to be a senior research scientist. Looks to be membrane-related research? Offering 80-90k - a touch low?

I feel like this is a first:
Develop new methods for activating C-F or C-H bonds on inert polymeric membranes.
Would love to know if I'm wrong.

Bristol, PA: Two B.S. production chemist positions with UCT, which appears to be a manufacturer of various silanes and silicones.

West Sacramento, CA: Bayer CropScience is looking for a M.S./Ph.D. chemist with a natural products background for work on analytical/compound elucidation work. Sounds fascinating.

San Antonio, TX: Southwest Research Institute, running it's periodical "we need a M.S./Ph.D. medicinal chemist to be a project manager" ad.

Berkeley, CA: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is looking for a synthetic postdoc aimed at porous materials. Looks like a good position for the right Ph.D. I wonder how much it pays and how long the postdoc actually is (just 1 year?)

Des Moines, IA: I would really like to know about this Kemin Industries postdoctoral position researching plant-based extracts and products. Specifically, how is this a postdoc? Is there training? Is there publication of results? Or is this a Very Junior Senior Scientist position? Finally, this seems to be fascinating legalese:
The exempt-level position is considered to be 40 hours per week, but requires tremendous flexibility and may require operations monitoring on off-shifts including weekend and holiday work to meet deadlines.
I sure wonder if this position pays more than $47,476...

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

2017 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 368 positions

The 2017 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated mostly by Andrew Spaeth, with minor help from me) has 368 positions. The open thread is here. 

Cramer's Corner: admissions/the application process for professorships

Friend of the blog Chris Cramer (professor at the University of Minnesota, computational/theoretical chemist, former director of graduate studies for the University of Minnesota's department of chemistry) has a number of great contributions to the chemblogotweetosphere. 

First, a series of tweets from Chris about how to think about applying to graduate school.

Second, a longer comment from him about the process in hiring a new professor. It's longer, so I'm putting it below the jump:

Ivory Filter Flask: 10/4/16 edition

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

Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin - Madison is conducting an open search for two tenure-track positions. "Starting at 90,000.00"

New Concord, OH: Muskingum University (that's a new one on me) is looking for both an assistant professor of physical chemistry (tenure-track, "w/expertise in instrumentation and/or computational chemistry.") and an non-tenure track position for a biochemist.

LaCrosse, WI: The University of Wisconsin - La Crosse is looking for an assistant professor of organic chemistry. Offered salary: $54,000.00 - 56,000.00. Wikipedia tells us "According to 2009–2013 ACS estimates, the median household income was $40,457 and the median family income was $57,744."

Huntsville, AL: The University of Alabama in Huntsville is looking for a professor to be the chair of the department of chemistry.

Surely, "Dean of Organic Chemistry Instruction" cannot be far behind: I feel like this Delaware position is a new one: "Assistant Professor for Organic Chemistry Instruction." Naturally, it is non-tenure track.

Job postings: medicinal chemist positions, San Francisco, CA

Job posting: formulations chemist, Vancouver, WA

From the inbox, a B.S. chemist position at Alpha-Tec Systems, Inc. (Vancouver, WA): 
Position Summary: Under general direction, the Formulation Chemist is responsible for formulating bulk solutions which includes weighing and measuring of chemicals [some hazardous], equipment set-up, mixing, filtering and some filling. This position supports the production departments and is responsible for the accurate completion of related formulary documentation.  The Formulation Chemist is also responsible producing some of the reagents used in the quality control and R&D departments within the organization and assists in design and development of new formulas and producing small batch formulations for new products under development.  
Education and/or Experience: Minimum requirements include a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry, Chemistry or Biology with a high GPA.  Desired: Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and one year experience as a formulation / production chemist preferably in a cGMP laboratory or FDA regulated environment.   Excellent communication and technical writing skills in English are required. 
Full description here. Best wishes to those interested.  

Monday, October 3, 2016

Fun Nobel nominations database

Credit: C&EN
I have been remiss in not telling you all about this neat little database of the Nobel nominations from 1901 and 1950 from Chemical and Engineering News. Here are the methods and all the people from C&EN who worked on it.

From it, I learned that Lise Meitner (a hero of mine) was nominated 19 times, but never won. I also learned that the United States had 78 people nominated (would not have expected that - did not know what the state of American chemistry was, pre-1950.) Pretty neat!

It's Nobel week, so I guess that if anyone wants to predict who is going to win the Biology Chemistry Nobel this year, put it in the comments. I have zero predictions, other than this: it will not be CRISPR. Between the patent fight and the Shuailiang Lin story, that's too much controversy for the Nobel Committee. (This post guarantees, of course, that Doudna, Charpentier and Zhang will be sharing the stage in Stockholm.)

This week's C&EN

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