Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Periodic Bagel, Episode 2: Alex Goldberg and Chemjobber, guest: Stuart Cantrill


Second episode of The Periodic Bagel, with guest Stuart Cantrill of Nature Chemistry, who speaks to us about peer review, open access and his gin collection.

Rate and review us on iTunes!

Feel free to ask questions, add comments and suggestions for guests and topics in the comments. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Warning Letter of the Week: lost in the move edition

A missive from the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research to the president of Bingbing Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd (emphasis mine):
1.    Your firm failed to maintain written production, control, or distribution records specifically associated with a batch of a drug product for at least one year after the expiration date of the batch (21 CFR 211.180(a)). 
You manufactured drugs at your Wuhan facility at Building [redacted], No. 5, Kangda Street, Longyang Avenue, Hanyang District, Wuhan, and then transferred drug production to your Hubei facility and closed the Wuhan facility. Your firm failed to maintain manufacturing records, raw material and finished product testing records, retain samples, stability samples, and other CGMP records for your over-the-counter (OTC) [redacted] drug products manufactured at your Wuhan facility. During the inspection at the Hubei facility, you stated that you lost CGMP manufacturing documentation and drug product samples during the transfer of your manufacturing facility from Wuhan to Hubei in May 2018.
Yep, happens all the time in moves. You put your batch records in the box, the box gets loaded onto a truck, stuff gets moved around, it gets lost! 

Job postings: Flow/Organic Chemist, and Analytical Chemist, CONTINUUS Pharmaceuticals, Woburn, MA

From the inbox, an analytical chemist and a flow chemist for CONTINUUS Pharmaceuticals in Woburn, MA:
Analytical chemist (BS/MS): CONTINUUS is looking to hire a full-time analytical chemist to work on the analysis of samples (mainly HPLC) from continuous manufacturing processes for small-molecule pharmaceuticals. This represents a unique opportunity to become involved in the development of next generation drug manufacturing technologies as a key member of a fast-growing company. The individual must thrive in a fast-paced environment, be adaptable and motivated by the opportunity to learn new technologies.  
Flow chemist (PhD): CONTINUUS Pharmaceuticals is seeking a highly qualified flow chemist who will be responsible for developing creative solutions for small molecule drug candidates manufactured via continuous processing. This scientist will provide process analytical technology and continuous manufacturing expertise, devising synthetic routes and developing new technologies to enable continuous processing. 
Full ads here and here. Best wishes to those interested. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 463 research/teaching positions and 29 teaching faculty positions

The 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 463 research/teaching positions and 29 teaching assistant professor positions.

Want to add a position? Here's a Google Form to enter positions. In 2019-2020, we will be adding teaching professor positions, targeting positions that demonstrate an intention to renew permanently, 3 year terms and a promotion ladder and/or are titled "assistant teaching professor" or "associate teaching professor." As of 9/20/19, we are adding community college positions if they explicitly offer tenure.

See an error? Please contact us at chemjobber@gmail.com

On November 13, 2018, the 2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 458 positions.

Here's a link to the first open threadhere's a link to the secondHere is a link to the third open thread, which will close on Tuesday at 12 PM Eastern. This will be the fourth open thread, which will close on the Tuesday after it reaches 200 or more comments.

Can't see additional comments? Look for the "load more" button underneath the comment box.

Postdoctoral position: chemical biology of natural products, Burkhart Lab, UCSD, La Jolla, CA

From the inbox, a postdoctoral position at UCSD:
Postdoctoral Position in Chemical Biology of Natural Products The Burkart lab is seeking a natural product scientist to support chemical and structural biology studies of biosynthetic enzymes. Applicants should have a Ph.D. (or anticipated) in chemistry, biochemistry, or microbiology and have experience with molecular biology of metabolic pathways in Streptomyces or related microorganisms. This is a paid, full time, postdoctoral position based in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the main campus of University of California, San Diego in La Jolla, CA. For immediate consideration please send a cover letter and resume to Prof. Michael Burkart at mburkart@ucsd.edu. 
Best wishes to those interested. 

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 83 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 83 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson). 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 28 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 28 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady. It targets:
  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States
Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Student burned in high school chemistry class in alcohol fire

It happened again:
GREENSBORO, N.C. — A Western Guilford High School student is in the hospital after an explosion in her chemistry class Wednesday. Aimee Green, 16, is a junior at the high school. She is listed in good condition at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, according to a spokesperson. 
“Please pray for our beautiful daughter Aimee Green. She was in chemistry today, and the teacher was doing an experiment. It went badly and exploded. The explosion went right onto Aimee, and caught her hair, face, chest and arm on fire,” Aimee’s mom, Alicia Coverston Green, wrote on Facebook. 
The experiment involved ethanol, alcohol and salt, Green said. 
Green said her daughter was admitted to the burn ICU on Friday for fluid resuscitation, pain control and wound care. 
Another student was injured but not as badly, officials with the school district said.
Other reports indicate that it could not be confirmed that the student was wearing PPE.

A reminder that the American Chemical Society's Committee on Chemical Safety "recommends that the “Rainbow” demonstration on open benches involving the use of flammable solvents such as methanol be discontinued immediately due to extreme risk of flash fires and flame jetting."

Friday, November 8, 2019

View From My Hood?: Frankfurt, Germany edition

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

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

There are more than 20 times as many chemical manufacturers in China as the US

Via a very interesting article in The New York Times Magazine on DEA efforts to stem the fentanyl trade, this remarkable description of the Chinese chemical industry: 
According to the State Department, China has between 160,000 and 400,000 chemical companies operating legally, illegally or somewhere in between — an expansive estimate that reflects both the vastness of the industry and the scarcity of the information available. Some of these facilities manufacture tons of chemicals every week, or more than a million pills per day. In 2016, the industry made up 3 percent of China’s national economy, with over $100 billion in profits annually. Most of these companies are members of the vast pharmaceutical underclass, pumping out huge quantities of inexpensive generic drugs and pharmaceutical ingredients. It’s a low-cost, low-profit business, but the barriers to entry are minimal, and the market is immense: The basic pharmaceutical ingredients that China produces are needed by more advanced drug companies everywhere in the world — including the United States — for synthesis into more complex and profitable medicines. 
The agency responsible for overseeing production of drugs and detecting malfeasance in China is understaffed and overwhelmed: As of 2017, there were around 2,000 inspectors at the agency, and they conducted a total of only 751 inspections that year, a minuscule figure compared with the enormousness of the industry. In the United States, law enforcement and prosecutors have the tools to react quickly to the rise of new copycat drugs that could be used for illicit purposes. Under the Controlled Substance Analogue Enforcement Act, passed in 1986, any new compound that is “substantially similar” to an already banned, or scheduled, drug can be treated as if it were chemically identical. But chemicals banned in the United States often remain legal in China, where the process for controlling chemicals is slow and cumbersome, especially for substances like fentanyl that exist in the purgatory between legitimate pharmaceuticals and illicit drugs.
By comparison, an EPA web page last updated in 2016 indicates there are 13,500 chemical manufacturing facilities, with 9000 companies that own them. That's quite a difference. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 447 research/teaching positions and 28 teaching faculty positions

The 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 447 research/teaching positions and 28 teaching assistant professor positions.

Want to add a position? Here's a Google Form to enter positions. In 2019-2020, we will be adding teaching professor positions, targeting positions that demonstrate an intention to renew permanently, 3 year terms and a promotion ladder and/or are titled "assistant teaching professor" or "associate teaching professor." As of 9/20/19, we are adding community college positions if they explicitly offer tenure.

See an error? Please contact us at chemjobber@gmail.com

On November 6, 2018, the 2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 450 positions.

Here's a link to the first open threadhere's a link to the second. Here is a link to the third open thread, which will close a week from today. 

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 79 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 79 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson). 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 28 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 28 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady. It targets:
  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States
Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.

Monday, November 4, 2019

What is this layoff season going to look like?

Because I don't fully understand the rhythms of the American corporate machine just quite yet, it has taken me a number of years to fully understand why we have layoffs in November and December, around the time of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Nowadays, I better understand that it is about third quarter results, and the reactions of corporate officers to either a good year (no layoffs, ideally) or a bad year (start cutting jobs now.) It's November now, and here we go with Amgen (via FiercePharma): 
As Amgen rides the wave of hype and hope for its early-stage KRAS effort as well as other cancer assets in its pipeline, this is pushing out its work on neuroscience. 
To that end, the biopharma company is looking to slim down its efforts in that area, which could see nearly 200 jobs at risk, as it moves away from its neuro work in Cambridge, and focuses more on its R&D on the West Coast. 
Also, from last month in the Philadelphia Inquirer
Merck, the international pharmaceutical giant, announced mass layoffs that will hit its sales personnel based in suburban Philadelphia. 
About 500 people affiliated with Merck’s offices in Lansdale and Upper Gwynedd will lose their jobs in permanent reductions in force, the company said in a required letter it filed Wednesday with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry... Earlier this month, Johnson & Johnson said it planned to eliminate 297 employees at its Wayne facility, in a similar letter sent to the Department of Labor.
Overall, according to Challenger, Gray and Christmas's layoff report, layoffs in the pharmaceutical industry are up 4.6% this year from 2018. We'll have to see how this goes. At the same time, Friday's jobs report numbers were pretty decent (via The New York Times): 
The American jobs engine has been beaten and battered, but it just keeps chugging along. 
Employers added 128,000 jobs in October, the Labor Department said Friday, and revisions to prior months’ data tacked on another 95,000. The figures for October would have been stronger had it not been for the strike at General Motors, which shaved close to 50,000 workers from the employment rolls, and for the layoff of some 20,000 temporary census workers. 
The unemployment rate ticked up to 3.6 percent, still near a half-century low.
If we're going to have a classic recession, we'll see decreases in jobs in November and December. While my intuitions are entirely leaning towards the thought that there will be a recession of some kind next year (i.e. visible declines in the topline jobs numbers and/or negative quarters of GDP), we haven't seen those signs yet in the broader economy. It will be very interesting to see if we see evidence of declines in hiring in the chemistry/pharma market.

Job posting: Ambercycle, R&D chemist, Los Angeles, CA

From the inbox, this position: 
BACKGROUND 
We are a fast-moving, high-growth chemical technology startup that is developing a process to turn old clothing into new textiles. Our highly dynamic, collaborative team is composed of the world’s brightest and most unique scientists and engineers. 
THE JOB 
We are looking for a highly motivated scientist who will develop and scale our technology for making brand new yarns from old clothing. 
You will be working with senior leadership to understand and prioritize process improvements, design experiments to make those improvements, and execute these plans in the laboratory. You will develop analytical methods for R&D as well as scale-up, and develop new products within our R&D team. You will use your chemistry know-how to work with engineers and scale-up processes.
You are detail oriented and highly enthusiastic about science and scaling a first-in-kind sustainable process. Ideally, you have a strong experimental background and commanding knowledge of physical, organic, and polymer chemistry. 
Specific techniques required: GPC/SEC, DSC, GC/MS, working knowledge of elemental analysis. Adequate safety know-how is an absolute must. You must be comfortable in a fast-paced, open environment with minimal direction.
Contact information here. Best wishes to those information.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Periodic Bagel: Alex Goldberg and Chemjobber, guest: Lisa Jarvis



Launching today is the inaugural podcast of The Periodic Bagel, with guest Lisa Jarvis of Chemical and Engineering News. Lisa speaks to us about her recent KRas cover story in C&EN as well as her strong feelings about candy corn.

Alex has done an amazing amount of work in a very fast period of time, and I am really grateful that it has turned out as well as it has. Please take a listen.

You can't subscribe to us on iTunes yet, but here's our RSS feed.

Please feel free to add comments and suggestions for guests and topics in the comments. 

51 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Over at Common Organic Chemistry, there are 23 new positions for October 26, 16 positions for October 20 and 13 positions for October 14.

The Analytical Chemistry Jobs List: 29 positions

The Analytical Chemistry Jobs List has 29 positions; this is curated by the ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry. Want to help out? Fill out this form. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

A teaser trailer for a new podcast



Enjoy a little snippet of a new podcast with Alex Goldberg and myself. 

Job posting: BS process chemist, Quanta BioDesign, Plain City, OH

From the inbox, a process chemist position in Plain City, OH:
Junior Process Chemist, Quanta BioDesign 
Quanta BioDesign is a research and manufacturing company committed to the development of a full range of discrete polyethylene glycol (dPEG®) PEGylation reagents for applications in diagnostics, therapeutics, peptide synthesis, oligonucleotide synthesis, and nanotechnology. 
To meet our growing business demands we are currently seeking to fill the position of a junior Process Chemist. The Process Chemist position entails being an essential part of our process and scale-up activities, supplying key intermediates, optimizing existing processes and exploring a growing range of new processes for making our unique dPEG® products. 
The process Chemist interacts with chemists both in and outside their group, and will be a vital link in the development of the dPEG® technology. As a result, excellent planning and problem-solving skills are a critical aspect of this position. Also, since this is a manufacturing position the Chemist must be capable of lifting up to 50lbs on a regular basis. 
Qualifications

  • This is an entry level position that requires a theoretical and practical knowledge of general chemistry, organic chemistry and bio-conjugation principles.
  • Candidates recently completing a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry with 1-2 years of experience are encouraged to apply.
Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 434 research/teaching positions and 25 teaching faculty positions

The 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 434 research/teaching positions and 25 teaching assistant professor positions.

Want to add a position? Here's a Google Form to enter positions. In 2019-2020, we will be adding teaching professor positions, targeting positions that demonstrate an intention to renew permanently, 3 year terms and a promotion ladder and/or are titled "assistant teaching professor" or "associate teaching professor." As of 9/20/19, we are adding community college positions if they explicitly offer tenure.

See an error? Please contact us at chemjobber@gmail.com

On October 30, 2018, the 2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 436 positions.

Here's a link to the first open threadhere's a link to the second, which is the current open thread. This post will be the third open thread; the second open thread will close at noon Eastern on Tuesday, October 29, 2019.

UPDATE: This thread was closed on November 12, 2019 - the new thread is here: http://chemjobber.blogspot.com/2019/11/the-2020-chemistry-faculty-jobs-list_12.html

Postdoctoral fellowship: environmental radiochemistry, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

JOB DESCRIPTION 
The Anagnostopoulos Research Group at the Department of Chemistry at the University of Central Florida seeks to hire a postdoctoral researcher in the field of radiochemistry and environmental radiochemistry. 
This is a multi-faceted project that focuses on the oxidative dissolution of sparingly soluble radioactive phases, as well as synthesis, characterization and stability studies of mineral phases for the incorporation of anionic contaminants. 
REQUIREMENTS 
Applicants should have a Ph.D. in chemistry or closely related field. Prior demonstrated experience with spectroscopic analysis of solids and solutions (e.g. XPS, FIB, SIMS etc.) and processes such as solubility, complexation and modelling and speciation will be viewed favorably.
Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested.  

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 76 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 76 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson). 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 28 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 28 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady. It targets:
  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States
Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.

Monday, October 28, 2019

UW Madison grad student died of suicide; father blames abusive boss

This is a post about an electrical engineering grad student at UW-Madison who died by suicide in 2016; if you don't want to read this, I won't mind. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Taking a chance on Boston?

A great question, via Twitter:

Is there a city in the United States (or, for that matter, the world) where you would recommend someone move to without a job to get a job in chemistry?*

My short answer: no, there isn't. My longer answer: If you HAD to move some place without a job in order to look for work in science/chemistry, I would choose either Boston or San Francisco, but still seems really risky. You might be able to move into the pool of temporary workers, but it seems that temp pay probably doesn't cover the high rents.

Readers, what say you?

UPDATE, 11 AM 10232019: Anon10:21AM helpfully reminds me that there's such a thing as "the oil and gas industry"; I agree entirely.

*There was a while back where driving to Williston, North Dakota seemed like a great place to get a job and earn some money, but I don't think there were very many chemists there...

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 417 research/teaching positions and 20 teaching faculty positions

The 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 417 research/teaching positions and 20 teaching assistant professor positions.

Want to add a position? Here's a Google Form to enter positions. In 2019-2020, we will be adding teaching professor positions, targeting positions that demonstrate an intention to renew permanently, 3 year terms and a promotion ladder and/or are titled "assistant teaching professor" or "associate teaching professor." As of 9/20/19, we are adding community college positions if they explicitly offer tenure.

See an error? Please contact us at chemjobber@gmail.com

On October 23, 2018, the 2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 420 positions.

Here's a link to the first open threadhere's a link to the second, which is the current open thread.

Job posting: assistant/associate teaching professor, Northeastern University, Boston, MA

From the inbox:
Northeastern University is seeking a full-time non-tenure track Assistant/Associate Teaching Professor in Biochemistry. Experience in teaching physical and/or analytical methods in biochemistry is preferred. Applicants should submit a CV, cover letter, teaching statement, statement describing their experiences working with diverse populations, and the contact information for three references. Applicants will be consulted before their references are contacted. All of the application information is submitted using this link:  https://careers.hrm.northeastern.edu/en-us/job/501904/assistantassociate-teaching-professor
Best wishes to those interested. 

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 67 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 67 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson). 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 28 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 28 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady. It targets:
  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States
Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Warning Letter of the Week: gritty cracking edition

A missive from the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research to the Chairman & Managing Director of Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Limited in Mumbai, India: 
Your firm failed to thoroughly investigate any unexplained discrepancy or failure of a batch or any of its components to meet any of its specifications, whether the batch has already been distributed (21 CFR 211.192). Your firm failed to ensure your investigations identify appropriate root causes and you failed to implement sustainable corrective action and preventive action (CAPA). 
a. You failed to thoroughly investigate multiple complaints of grittiness for your topical [redacted] cream USP, [redacted]%. Since November 2017, you rejected 20 batches and received at least 38 complaints about product grittiness. Product grittiness has been an ongoing formulation issue since 2010 and was a deficiency cited in the previous inspection of your facility. You proposed specific remediation for this formulation issue in your response at that time. In your response to the most recent inspection, you stated that the product grittiness issue was remediated during product reformulation in November 2018. Your response is inadequate. You did not provide sufficient data to demonstrate the robustness of the new formulation... 
d. You failed to adequately investigate more than 70 consumer complaints associated with punctures, cracks, and holes in [redacted] for various drug products including, but not limited to, [redacted] ointment USP, [redacted]%, [redacted] cream USP, and [redacted] ointment USP, [redacted]%. Your investigations failed to adequately address the scope and cause of these serious container/closure system defects and evaluate other drug products that have similar manufacturing quality signals such as complaints, or that use the same supplier. 
In your response, you stated that the root cause for the complaints was improper “handling by folding and refolding of the [redacted]” by consumers. In addition, you stated that because the complaint rate is insignificant, there is no risk to marketed batches. However, you closed more than 50 of the complaints, without CAPA to prevent recurrence of similar quality defects.
I like the "blame the root cause on the customer" approach - that's a new one.  

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 406 research/teaching positions and 16 teaching faculty positions

The 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 406 research/teaching positions and 16 teaching assistant professor positions.

Want to add a position? Here's a Google Form to enter positions. In 2019-2020, we will be adding teaching professor positions, targeting positions that demonstrate an intention to renew permanently, 3 year terms and a promotion ladder and/or are titled "assistant teaching professor" or "associate teaching professor." As of 9/20/19, we are adding community college positions if they explicitly offer tenure.

See an error? Please contact us at chemjobber@gmail.com

On October 16, 2018, the 2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 401 positions.

Here's a link to the first open thread; here's a link to the second, which is the current open thread.

Postdoctoral positions: synthetic organic chemistry, Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery, UNC Chapel Hill

From the inbox, five postdoctoral positions at UNC-Chapel Hill:
The Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery at UNC-CH invites highly skilled and motivated synthetic organic chemists who are interested in expanding or deepening their skills, including medicinal chemistry and chemical biology, to apply for this position. The postdoctoral associate will become a member of multidisciplinary teams in an environment where his/her knowledge of organic synthesis will play a key role in advancing chemical biology and drug discovery projects. Specifically, this position will focus on the creation of high-quality in vivo chemical probes versus less explored Alzheimer Disease targets that can advance understanding of the pharmacologic intervention points most likely to lead to new drugs for this disease.
Full listing here. Best wishes to those interested. 

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 62 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 62 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson). 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 28 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 28 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady. It targets:
  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States
Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Polystyrene breaks down to carbon and CO2 in sunlight?

Via the New York Times, this fascinating new study from a team from Woods Hole: 
“We’re not calling the concerns or the actions wrong,” Christopher M. Reddy, a marine chemist at Woods Hole and another author on the study, said in an interview. “We just have a new thread to add and we think it’s significant.” 
The study was published Thursday in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters, a publication of the American Chemical Society, a scientific group based in Washington. 
The new study demonstrated that sunlight does even more, breaking down polystyrene into basic chemical units of organic carbon, which dissolves in seawater, and trace amounts of carbon dioxide, at levels far too low to play a role in climate change. By the end of this process the plastic has effectively disappeared from the environment. 
In the paper, the researchers described the study as “the first direct evidence” of how of sunlight can break down polystyrene in the environment into its basic chemical building blocks.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but I do find it remarkable that it took so long to figure this out... (for those interested, the published article is here.

Friday, October 11, 2019

A tiny bit of good news

Via the New York Times, a success for a single patient:
The drug, described in The New England Journal of Medicine, is believed to be the first “custom” treatment for a genetic disease. It is called milasen, named after the only patient who will ever take it: Mila (mee-lah) Makovec, who lives with her mother, Julia Vitarello, in Longmont, Colo. 
Mila, 8, has a rapidly progressing neurological disorder that is fatal. Her symptoms started at age 3. Within a few years, she had gone from an agile, talkative child to one who was blind and unable to stand or hold up her head. She needed a feeding tube and experienced up to 30 seizures a day, each lasting one or two minutes. 
Ms. Vitarello learned in December 2016 that Mila had Batten’s disease. But the girl’s case was puzzling, doctors said. Batten’s disease is recessive — a patient must inherit two mutated versions of a gene, MFSD8, to develop the disease. Mila had just one mutated gene, and the other copy seemed normal. That should have been sufficient to prevent the disease.... 
In March 2017, Dr. Timothy Yu and his colleagues at Boston Children’s Hospital discovered that the problem with the intact gene lay in an extraneous bit of DNA that had scrambled the manufacturing of an important protein. 
That gave Dr. Yu an idea: Why not make a custom piece of RNA to block the effects of the extraneous DNA?... Dr. Yu’s team oversaw development of the drug, tested it in rodents, and consulted with the Food and Drug Administration. In January 2018, the agency granted permission to give the drug to Mila. She got her first dose on Jan. 31, 2018. 
The drug was delivered through a spinal tap, so it could reach her brain. Within a month, Ms. Vitarello noticed a difference. Mila was having fewer seizures, and they were not lasting as long. With continued treatments, the number of seizures has diminished so much that the girl has between none and six a day, and they last less than a minute...
Here's hoping that this treatment lasts in the long term for Mila. What a wonderful success for her family and for Dr. Yu's team, and here's to many more cures to come for future Milas. I cannot imagine that anyone will ever make a profit from an approach like this (and here, I may lack imagination), but if lives are improved, that's good enough for me. 

Job posting: Chemical Inventory Program Manager, University of Wisconsin-Madison

From the inbox, a position at the University of Wisconsin-Madison:
The Chemical Inventory Program Manager plays a key role in efforts to promote a comprehensive chemical safety program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The University of Wisconsin-Madison is one of the largest public education institutions in the country in terms of research expenditures and includes 42,000 students and 18,000 staff within the main campus and within its various statewide facilities. This position contributes to the UW-Madison Chemical Safety Office's goal of ensuring that all work involving hazardous chemicals is performed safely and in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local regulations and standards (including OSHA, ANSI, EPA, DNR, IFC, NFPA, and the Wisconsin Administrative Codes). 
This position will be responsible for implementing and maintaining a campus-wide chemical inventory management system. Duties include working with key campus stakeholders on the essential features of the chemical inventory system, working with a selected vendor on identifying system requirements, and developing an implementation plan - including the identification of necessary resources needed for the implementation. 
The position requires the ability to manage a complex program while working collaboratively with stakeholders having diverse interests. Excellent verbal, writing and interpersonal skills are essential. This position reports directly to the Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO) in the Department of Environment, Health and Safety (EH&S) within the Division of Facilities Planning and Management (FP&M). 
DEGREE AND AREA OF SPECIALIZATION: Bachelor's degree required, with major studies in science, engineering, project management, or related field. 
MINIMUM YEARS AND TYPE OF RELEVANT WORK EXPERIENCE: At least three years of experience in project management or developing a critical safety and compliance program.
Full ad here. Interested? Questions regarding this position may be directed to Dr. Jeffrey Zebrowski (jeff.zebrowski@wisc.edu). 

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

There was a beryllium sphere floating in fluorocarbon at the middle of the MX missile?

Via Tyler Rogoway, this fascinating bit of information about the inertial navigation system of the Peacekeeper missile, called the Advanced Inertial Reference Sphere:
At the heart of Peacekeeper’s guidance and navigation system is the Advanced Inertial Reference Sphere (AIRS) with its highly advanced Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU).  A “beryllium ball” weighing 450 pounds, the AIRS assemblage was designed for exquisite accuracy and, in keeping with that, great resistance to stress and temperature changes. 
Unlike Minuteman III’s gimbal-mounted, metal-touching-metal gyroscopes and accelerometers, those of Peacekeeper’s AIRS are snugly suspended in a highly viscous fluorocarbon liquid, which gives them free play but shields them against environmental fluctuations and keeps them from being bumped around.  AIRS’s beryllium housing is also virtually impervious to the drastic changes of temperature that a ballistic missile undergoes in flight.
I wonder what kind of fluorocarbon was used? (are they viscous?) 

This week's C&EN

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

The 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 381 research/teaching positions, 11 teaching faculty and second open thread

The 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 381 research/teaching positions and 11 teaching assistant professor positions.

Want to add a position? Here's a Google Form to enter positions. In 2019-2020, we will be adding teaching professor positions, targeting positions that demonstrate an intention to renew permanently, 3 year terms and a promotion ladder and/or are titled "assistant teaching professor" or "associate teaching professor." As of 9/20/19, we are adding community college positions if they explicitly offer tenure.

See an error? Please contact us at chemjobber@gmail.com

On October 9, 2018, the 2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 377 positions.

This will be the second open thread; the first open thread will close at noon Eastern on Tuesday, October 8. Here is the link to the third open thread. 

Job posting: Instrument Scientist, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

From the inbox, this position:
Job Description: The Materials Analysis Research Laboratory (MARL) in the Department of Biotechnology at Iowa State University is seeking qualified candidates for an Instrument Scientist (Assistant Scientist I or II). This position is responsible for operation and support of x-ray diffraction and scattering equipment within MARL which includes a powder diffractometer and a small angle scattering system. The lab also houses a scanning electron microscope with x-ray analyzer, an x-ray photoelectron spectrometer, thermal analyzers (TGA and SDT) and an x-ray fluorescence spectrometer.   
Work is split between training clients (mostly graduate students) to use the equipment on their own and performing the characterization, including both chemical and physical analyses, for them. Therefore the successful candidate is expected to have a broad knowledge of the possible techniques and able to choose the appropriate technique for the issue at hand.
Preferred Qualifications:
  • M.S. degree in engineering or physical sciences with five years of experience using and maintaining x-ray instrumentation for materials characterization. Ph.D. preferred. 
  • Experience with other characterization tools. 
  • Experience with training clients to use laboratory equipment.
  • Demonstrated experience managing multiple projects.
  • Demonstrated oral and written communication skills for developing a plan of action and reporting results.
Required Minimum Quals:
  • Bachelor's degree and 1 year of related experience.
Best wishes to those interested. 

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 51 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 51 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson). 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 28 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 28 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady. It targets:
  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States
Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.

Monday, October 7, 2019

A message to applicants from the chair at Iowa State UPDATED

An update from Professor Jenks (4:24 PM Eastern, 07 October 2019):
The Chemistry Department at Iowa State University has an opening for an analytical or experimental physical chemist at the assistant professor level.  Applications were originally intended to close Sunday night, but software glitches caused problems from at least Friday onward.  Those have been addressed and applications will again be accepted through Thursday night Oct 10.  The software will close the window at 12:01 Friday morning. We apologize for the inconvenience and are glad to be able to re-open the position for those who were trying to apply.  (Contrary to an earlier comment, I do not have access to the names of anyone who had a partial application submitted; such people should also log into the application system again.) https://isu.wd1.myworkdayjobs.com/en-US/IowaStateJobs/job/Ames-IA/Assistant-Professor_R659
Via the comments on the open thread, a comment from William Jenks: 
I am the chemistry chair at ISU. This happened because no one here knew the new software closes at 12:01 AM on a date instead of 11:59 PM. Yes, every single one of us agrees this is stupid. Additionally, there was some kind of partial software problem for Friday and Saturday, too. Anyone with a partial application should hear from us very soon. If you tried to start an application and failed, please send me an email ASAP at wsjenks@iastate.edu. I will try to get you into the pool, but I will have to go through our HR people because only a finite number of people will see this post. But yes, we'd like to get you into the pool if at all possible. Very sorry.
Best wishes to those involved. 

C&EN: Thickening agents other than vitamin E acetate causing vaping injuries?

Great article from Chemical and Engineering News (by Britt Erickson) on the chemistry angle around the mysterious vaping illnesses, with this unusual tidbit about agents other than vitamin E acetate that may be responsible for the problem: 
Thickening agents are common in illicit THC cartridges, but they are rarely added to legal products where testing for potency is required, says Jeffrey Raber, cofounder and CEO of the Werc Shop, a California-based cannabis contract manufacturing and testing firm. 
“THC concentrates are known to be thick and viscous when they are high potency,” Raber says. So when street dealers dilute illicit products with various agents to maximize profits, those products are typically less viscous. Consumers can visually detect the viscosity of the product by turning the cartridge upside down. If a bubble goes from the top to the bottom quickly, it usually means that the product has been cut with something, Raber says. Dealers mask that visual test by adding a thickening agent, so the bubble doesn’t move from the top to bottom as fast, and consumers think they are getting a high-potency product. 
The illicit cannabis market “is out of control and concerning,” even in states like California where recreational cannabis is legal, Raber says. In California, the cannabis black market is estimated to be 3 to 4 times the size of the legal cannabis industry, he notes. 
One source of the black market problem is that California requires testing of final finished cannabis products, Wise says. If a product fails the test, more often than not, it doesn’t get thrown away. Instead, it enters California’s black market and is then distributed to states where cannabis is illegal, she says.
(Out-of-spec product being reworked for sale? Say it isn't so!)

In a similar news, I found the Mayo Clinic study (covered here by the New York Times) to be interesting, since they did not visually detect signs of lipoic pneumonia, as would be expected if it was vitamin E acetate causing the problem. Rather, the physicians explained it this way:
“All 17 of our cases show a pattern of injury in the lung that looks like a toxic chemical exposure, a toxic chemical fume exposure, or a chemical burn injury,” said Dr. Brandon T. Larsen, a surgical pathologist at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz. “To be honest, they look like the kind of change you would expect to see in an unfortunate worker in an industrial accident where a big barrel of toxic chemicals spills, and that person is exposed to toxic fumes and there is a chemical burn in the airways.” 
The injuries also look like those seen in people exposed to poisons like mustard gas, a chemical weapon used in World War I, he said.
I find Dr. Larsen's speculation a little confusing, i.e. do pathologists have visual markers for the various types of chemical injuries to the lungs? (They must have, right? I mean, do acidic burns look different than basic (say, ammonia burns), etc., etc?) There can't be just one visual presentation of lung tissue damage from chemicals, can there?

I confess to be very confused as to what exactly is causing the vaping illnesses, and I would really like chemists to get involved to determine what exactly the bad actor (or actors) is/are.

Advertisement: Scott Bagley for Division of Organic Chemistry Member at Large

From the inbox, an ad from a friend of the blog, Scott Bagley: 
Voting for the ACS Division of Organic Chemistry Executive committee is now open.  Division members will receive an email from elections@vote-now.com with links to the ballots and candidate biographies.  We have a terrific slate of candidates from across the organic chemistry community so please visit or join the Division of Organic Chemistry at https://www.organicdivision.org/  You must be a DOC member to view the candidates and cast your ballot.  
I am running for one of 4 Member-at-Large posts and would appreciate your consideration. Thank you.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Is there a bias against analytical chemists?

Via Twitter, this fascinating statement:
I am an analytical chemist specializing in mass spectrometry. I am growing tired of colleagues in other chemistry disciplines looking down on analytical scientists, for some reason that I cannot yet explain. Let’s move on to the 21st century! 
This statement was backed up by another, more senior, scientist:
The top tier chemistry departments eliminated analytical chemistry decades ago. It is also why some of the same top tier universities were very late to the "proteomics party" if they showed up at all. What will they miss next?? SCP?
In discussions about these two statements, I thought this comment from a very senior chemistry professor was relevant: 
It is true that the elite private institutions that dominate the top 10 programs do not have dedicated analytical pathways. The top analytical programs are at the public institutions, especially in the Midwest.
As someone who has worked with industrial analytical chemists for over a decade (man, I'm old), I'm more than a little bewildered that there is a seeming bias against analytical chemists. How the heck do you not love people who help you see your compounds and understand your science better? I also was surprised, but the second largest group of chemists to be produced out of doctoral programs in the United States are analytical chemists. But with Professor Burstyn's comments, there does appear to be a seeming inequality in treatment amongst subfields at different universities. 

So, readers, some questions: Is this true? If so, when did it start? And finally, how can it end? 

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Grim projections about manufacturing from BLS

The explanatory article from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that accompanies the biennial employment projections has some grim things to say about the manufacturing economy and employment: 
Most rapidly declining employment 
The manufacturing sector is projected to lose the most jobs and have the most rapid employment decline of any sector over the projections decade. The large manufacturing sector contains 10 of the 20 industries projected to have the most rapid employment declines. Some factors contributing to the loss of jobs in the manufacturing sector are international competition and the adoption of new productivity-enhancing technologies, such as robotics. The tobacco manufacturing industry is projected to have the most rapid declines in industry employment, falling 4.6 percent annually. 
The decline in employment in the manufacturing sector is expected to decrease employment over the projections decade in a number of occupations concentrated in manufacturing. Production occupations are projected to experience the strongest employment decline of any occupational group, because of a combination of automation and offshoring. Of the 30 occupations with the fastest employment declines, 13 are in the production occupational group and include various machine and tool setters, assemblers, and operators. Although their employment is projected to decline rapidly, they are relatively small occupations and are projected to lose only about 56,200 jobs in total.
Why do I mention this? The manufacturing sector employs a large percentage of the nation's chemists. (42%, to be exact). This bears watching - and it is worth noting that BLS aren't soothsayers.

This week's C&EN

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

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 354 research/teaching positions, 8 teaching faculty

The 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 354 research/teaching positions and 8 teaching assistant professor positions.

Want to add a position? Here's a Google Form to enter positions. In 2019-2020, we will be adding teaching professor positions, targeting positions that demonstrate an intention to renew permanently, 3 year terms and a promotion ladder and/or are titled "assistant teaching professor" or "associate teaching professor." As of 9/20/19, we are adding community college positions if they explicitly offer tenure.

See an error? Please contact us at chemjobber@gmail.com

On October 2, 2018, the 2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 349 positions.

Here's the link to the latest open thread.

Job posting: visiting lecturer, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD

Visiting Lecturer for Analytical and Freshman Chemistry Laboratories 
The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Maryland Baltimore County invites applications for a one-year visiting, non-tenure track faculty position in analytical and freshman chemistry beginning January 2020. Primary teaching responsibilities will include instruction and oversight of advanced instrumental analysis and sophomore-level quantitative analysis laboratories as well as freshman chemistry laboratories.  Successful candidates will have a strong background in chemical instrumentation and methodologies with a desire to teach at the undergraduate level. 
Applicants possessing a Ph.D. in chemistry or related field are preferred; qualified candidates with an M.S. degree and relevant experience will be considered.  
Applications should include cover letter, curriculum vitae, statement of teaching philosophy, and three letters of recommendation and be sent electronically to http://apply.interfolio.com/69038.   
For best consideration, submit application materials by November 15th, 2019. Consideration of applications will continue until the position is filled.  UMBC is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer; and applications from women, minorities, veterans and individuals with disabilities are especially encouraged.  
Best wishes to those interested. 

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 40 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 40 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson). 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 14 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 14 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady. It targets:
  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States
Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.

Friday, September 27, 2019

11 rejected Division of Organic Chemistry slogans

The Division of Organic Chemistry is running a slogan contest, with some pretty impressive rewards for the winner. Here are a few that probably won't win:
  1. The National Organic Symposium Isn't Going to Run Itself
  2. If It Ain't Synthesis, It Ain't S---
  3. We'll Bring Back Organic Syntheses in Print
  4. Our Logo is Lamer than Your Division's Logo
  5. Organic Chemistry Rulez!
  6. The best use of $15 you could imagine
  7. Real Chemists Make C-C Bonds
  8. The Biggest Division in the World's Largest Scientific Society, And Maybe That Matters
  9. A Severance Package Is In Your Future
  10. Yes, We're Still Doing Total Synthesis, Derek
  11. Torturing Pre-Meds Since 1910
Entry deadline October 7. Have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Ask CJ: your boss' friends and acquaintances

From the inbox, this good question: 
CJ, 
Say for example that one is looking at job openings at another company in the same sector. You find someone who would be great for an informational interview. You notice though, that this person is connected to your current boss, whom you have not told about looking for other opportunities. Do you still reach out for an informational interview? Why? 
Unsure reader
Well, UR, it really depends. Helpful answer, I know. If you think your boss and Potential Contact are still friends/acquaintances and you are determined to keep things under wraps, don't reach out. If you think that they are just vaguely acquainted and Potential Contact wouldn't be bothered to reach out to your boss, it might be worth the risk.

Here's the thing, though: if they are the type of person who will accept an informational interview (i.e. they have the generosity of spirit to talk to a potential job seeker), then I believe they are the type of person who might reach out to an old friend and say "just so you know..." So maybe I don't think that reaching out to this particular person is without risk.

Readers, what do you think?  

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The 2020 Faculty Jobs List: 333 research/teaching positions, 8 teaching faculty

The 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 333 research/teaching positions and 8 teaching assistant professor positions.

Want to add a position? Here's a Google Form to enter positions. In 2019-2020, we will be adding teaching professor positions, targeting positions that demonstrate an intention to renew permanently, 3 year terms and a promotion ladder and/or are titled "assistant teaching professor" or "associate teaching professor." As of 9/20/19, we are adding community college positions if they explicitly offer tenure.

See an error? Please contact us at chemjobber@gmail.com

On September 25, 2018, the 2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 301 positions.

Here's the link to the latest open thread.

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 38 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 38 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson). 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 31 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 31 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady. It targets:
  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States
Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Zantac recalled because of NDMA contamination

Via the New York Times, more NDMA in the news...: 
The heartburn drug Zantac has been on the market for decades, and was considered safe enough to be sold over the counter and regularly given to infants. 
But on Sept. 13, the Food and Drug Administration said that it had detected low levels of a cancer-causing chemical in samples of the drug, which is also known as ranitidine. The agency advised patients who were taking over-the-counter versions of Zantac to consider switching to other medications. 
On Sept. 18, the drug maker Novartis said that its generic-drug division, Sandoz, had stopped distributing a prescription form of ranitidine worldwide as it investigates the issue. Another major generic manufacturer, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, also said it was halting distribution...
So how did it get in there? Via Derek Lowe's post, this Pharmaceutical Technology piece might explain some of it:
Under acidic conditions, sodium nitrite forms nitrous acid, which could react with the residue of dimethylamine in dimethylformamide—the solvent that is used in the tetrazole-forming reaction—to generate NDMA, says Andre. 
There's definitely room for dimethylamine in the synthesis of ranitidine, but where's the nitrous acid come from? Guessing there are lots of folks from Sandoz working on that question right now....

Last week's C&EN

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

Friday, September 20, 2019

Dibromochloropropane sterilizes men?

Well, this is an interesting story: 
Now, some survivors and their families are suing three big chemical makers in France to recover hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid damages awarded to them by courts in Nicaragua, where many of the poisonings of banana workers occurred. If successful, the case could set a legal precedent and lead to more lawsuits in France for harm done in other countries by the pesticide Nemagon.
Further down in the article:
The chemical dibromochloropropane, or DBCP, an active ingredient in Nemagon, was banned in most of the United States in 1977 after it was found to have caused sterility among thousands of male workers who were exposed to it at Dow, Shell and Occidental plants across America. Food growers based in the United States continued to use Nemagon through the early 1980s at banana and pineapple plantations in countries with lower environmental standards, according to lawsuits filed in Nicaragua and elsewhere. 
It's hard to imagine than such an innocuous looking molecule has such side effects, but it apparently does. 

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Daily Pump Trap: 9/18/19 edition

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

Kalamazoo, MI: Kalsec looking for a senior scientist to work on antioxidants.

Newark, DE: FMC is looking for a MS/PhD analytical chemist (MS: 7-10 yrs exp., PhD: 3-5 yrs) to be a crop and livestock residue chemist.

Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory chemistry postdocs for its Linus Pauling Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship program.

West Point, PA: (via Twitter) The Merck 2020 Computational and Structural Chemistry internships across all sites in computational chemistry, cheminformatics, structure (xray, cryo) and protein design/expression.

Remote positions represent: (via Twitter) USPTO is hiring patent examiners. 

13 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Over at Common Organic Chemistry, there are 13 new positions for September 14.

The Analytical Chemistry Jobs List: 26 positions

The Analytical Chemistry Jobs List has 26 positions; this is curated by the ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry. Want to help out? Fill out this form. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The funniest obit you will read today

Via Twitter, a very funny obituary:
Joe Heller made his last undignified and largely irreverent gesture on September 8, 2019, signing off on a life, in his words, "generally well-lived and with few regrets." When the doctors confronted his daughters with the news last week that "your father is a very sick man," in unison they replied, "you have no idea." 
I noticed this interesting line:
Joe was a self-taught chemist and worked at Cheeseborough-Ponds* where he developed one of their first cosmetics' lines.
I imagine that the number of employed 'self-taught chemists' has fallen quite a bit over the years in the United States. It would be interesting to know the number of production operators and technicians that have moved into research, formulation and testing laboratories in the American chemical manufacturing industry, and what the overall trend has been. Having worked with a couple of these folks, I value their experience, but I suspect their numbers are few and far between these days.

Rest in peace, Mr. Heller. (If you haven't had a chance, read the obituary - it's genuinely funny and warm-hearted in a way that I aspire my own obituary (and life) to achieve.)

*context here

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The 2020 Faculty Jobs List: 290 research/teaching positions, 7 teaching faculty

The 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 290 research/teaching positions and 7 teaching assistant professor positions.

Want to add a position? Here's a Google Form to enter positions. In 2019-2020, we will be adding teaching professor positions, targeting positions that demonstrate an intention to renew permanently, 3 year terms and a promotion ladder and/or are titled "assistant teaching professor" or "associate teaching professor."

See an error? Please contact us at chemjobber@gmail.com

On September 18, 2018, the 2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 278 positions.

Here's the link to the latest open thread.

Postdoctoral position: chiral organofluorine chemistry, Le Lab, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM

From the inbox, a postdoc at the University of New Mexico: 
The Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology at the University of New Mexico is looking for a candidate to be hired as a Postdoctoral Research Associate working in the laboratory of Dr. Christine Le. The successful candidate will develop catalytic methods to synthesize chiral organofluorine compounds. Experience with mentoring graduate students and undergraduate students is preferred. It will also be their responsibility to maintain some of the lab instruments and ensure compliance with environmental, health and safety requirements.
Full ad here (apply there as well.) 

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 31 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 31 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson). 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 31 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 31 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady. It targets:
  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States
Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 5% growth in chemists for 2018-28 period

Credit: Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released its biennial projections of job growth for the next 8 years, which include their projections for the growth of chemists. A few comments:
  • Most importantly, they have revised the overall occupational growth for the 2018-2028 decade down to 5% from 7% for the 2016-2026 period. I find that quite concerning. 
  • The expected increase in the number of chemists is 5% for the 2018-28 time period, which is slightly lower than the 6% number for 2016-2026. 
  • Also, the absolute number of chemists has been adjusted down from 88300 for the 2016 period to 87700 for 2018. 
I don't actually think this is cause for too much alarm for chemists in particular, in the sense that I imagine that these downward trends are more reflective of their overall projections for the trajectory of all employment growth in the US workforce than any particular problems within employers of chemists. At the same time, we would all hope for higher numbers than lower ones. 

I think that we have seen a warmer employment market for younger and mid-career chemists over these past two or three years, and I think it is interesting to not see that really reflected in these numbers. It would be interesting to know if the seemingly more active employment market for chemists is illusory, or I am missing trends in retirements. 

The number of chemistry professors (also known as "postsecondary teachers, chemistry" for the Bureau of Labor Statistics) will see a 6% growth over the 2018-28 period. Interestingly, they project growth of just 2000 new professors (4-year schools) during that time frame. If (a big if!) the ~500 or so that we see from the Chemistry Faculty Jobs List is an accurate number as well, then perhaps we are seeing the retirement numbers play a significant role in the overall growth in jobs? (i.e. every year, we're adding 400 or so new professors, but we're also seeing 200 or so retire?) Or, it's entirely possible that neither of these numbers are particularly accurate? Hard to say. 

Overall, not too much bad news, just kinda moving sideways...

Friday, September 13, 2019

Advice on age discrimination

From the New York Times, some advice:
So what is an older person who still has bills to pay supposed to do? Even seemingly tiny changes can help. Ms. McCann’s advice: Keep up with trends in résumé-writing (for example, opening with a career objective is passé, she says); emphasize your technological skills to the point of overkill; develop a social-media presence. 
Leave graduation dates and other giveaways off your résumé so you’re not making it easy for employers to reject you. Some online hiring platforms won’t allow you to move through the system without including those dates — which AARP has asked the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to address — so avoid them whenever possible. And everyone can take a lesson from New York: Bite back when someone makes prejudicial assumptions or treats you unfairly at work!
I'm not to the point where I have to worry about age discrimination, but I know it's coming sooner rather than later....

This week's C&EN

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

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Daily Pump Trap: 9/12/19 edition

Some of the positions posted at C&EN Jobs:

Wilmington, NC: Celanese looking for a process chemist (B.S., 8+ years experience), sulfur, polymer chemistry experience. 

Baltimore, MD: Avidea Technologies looking for a director of chemistry (PhD, 10+ years).

Darien, IL: The Hallstar Company is looking for a MS chemist (5 yrs exp+) for a position working on applied suncare research.

Ledgewood, NJ:  Vertellus seeking a colloid chemist (Ph.D., 5-10 years), Experience working in lubricant, glass sizing or personal care industries.

Grand Forks, ND: USDA postdoc, looks to be applications of mass spectrometry towards biomedical/nutritional assays.

Los Alamos, NM: LANL searching for a postdoc for novel explosive synthesis.