Tuesday, October 26, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 398 research/teaching positions and 26 teaching positions

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 398 research/teaching positions and 26 teaching positions. 

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

On October 27, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 146 research/teaching position and 12 teaching positions. On October 29, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 434 research/teaching positions and 25 teaching positions.

To see trending, go to Andrew Spaeth's visualization of previous years' list.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Go to the first open thread. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread.

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 46 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 46 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson).

Want to talk? Go to this year's open thread. 

Chemistry Bumper Cars

Check out the latest moves here! 

To submit information, click here or e-mail chembumpercars@gmail.com

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 33 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 33 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady and @nmr_chemist. 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 25, 2021

Finally: historical data about US PhD chemists from the Survey of Doctorate Recipients

Via a tweet from Derek Lowe, this very interesting paper by Dr. Stephanie Cheng (a PhD economist), summarizing and extrapolating data from both the Survey of Doctorate Recipients and the Survey of Earned Doctorates. The Survey of Doctorate Recipients is the NSF's routine survey tool to look into the lifetime of doctoral graduates. 

Her paper discusses three results: 

It's taking longer to get out of grad school: "Over the past fifty years, mean time spent in graduate school has steadily increased by 2.2 years, from 5.8 years (s.d. = 2.1) among 1960-1980 STEM Ph.Ds. to 8.0 years (s.d. = 4.1) among 2000-2013 cohorts... Figure 5 demonstrates that fewer individuals are completing Ph.Ds. in fewer than four years and more individuals are completing Ph.Ds. in more than eight years over time."

Fewer people are getting tenure-track positions: "As doctoral training has lengthened and more STEM Ph.Ds. have pursued postdoctoral training, the probability of obtaining an academic tenure-track position has nearly halved over the past fifty years. Only 25.2% of 2000-2013 STEM Ph.D. graduating cohorts are ever observed in a tenure-track position, compared to 42.8% of 1960-1980 cohorts." 

Postdocs cost PhDs lifetime earnings: "To quantify the impact of postdoctoral experience on salary at each career stage, Figure 19 gives salary regression coefficients on years of postdoctoral experience for each of the first thirty years post-Ph.D. graduation, as calculated in Equation 1. The first few years show a large negative relationship due to the salary gap between postdoctoral appointments and permanent positions. This gap closes as postdoctoral researchers move into permanent positions, but the additional training does not improve their salaries enough to overcome this early loss. As given in Equation 2, the average of these yearly coefficients can be interpreted as the postdoctoral deduction in mean lifetime earnings. Rather than provide an education premium, each additional year of postdoctoral experience reduces average lifetime earnings by $3,730."

All three of these results are not new to this discussion, almost to the point that you have to ask yourself "is this news?" And my response is a confident "yes." First, it's documented quite clearly by her analysis of SDR cohorts, and it appears that not many people have decided to do this. Second, she chose chemistry specifically as one of the PhD fields to be analyzed, and so Appendix B has some really nice data to summarize her findings. Of these, I'll choose a few of note: 

  • Between the 1960s and 2013, the mean years in graduate school for chemists had moved from slightly less than than 5 to slightly less than 7. 
  • The number of PhD chemists who took 4 years or less dropped from 40% in the 1960s to less than 10%. Meanwhile, the number who took 6 years rose from 10% to 30%. 
  • The percentage of PhD chemists since the 1980s who did a postdoc within 2 years of graduating has never been lower than 40%. 
  • The percentage of chemistry postdocs who did a 1-2 year postdoc fell around the time of the Great Recession from 30% to 20%, while those who did a 3-4 year postdoc rose from 10% to 30%. 
  • The percentage of PhD chemist cohorts that had a tenure-track position at anytime went from 36% in the 1960s to 10% in 2013. 
  • Since 1972, the modal outcome for a PhD in chemistry 10 years after graduate was a position in industry, from a high of ~60% to a low of ~42%. 
I will end on a tiny bit of a triumphalist note. I have been banging on for a number of years about how we have a paucity of data about both the past and present of the chemistry jobs market. Dr. Cheng has done us a huge favor by providing some of it. Instead of arguments about what is and is not "traditional", Figure B.9 provides us data and tells us what was traditional from 1970 until 2010, and what I strongly suspect is still traditional today: most PhD chemists end up in industry (~40%), some have a tenure-track academic position (~20%), some work in other academic functions not on the tenure-track (~19%) and some work in non-profit or governmental settings (~19%). 

I think this paper confirms my biases is likely to be right, and the only way to figure it out is to find data to either back it up, or contradict it. Dr. Cheng has gotten us started, and we'll have to do the rest ourselves. Let's get to it. 

Friday, October 22, 2021

Have a good weekend!


Hope you had a good week. It's a quiet, relaxing weekend for me, hope it will be for you as well. See you on Monday! 

 

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

A more potent meth?

An unusually chemistry-heavy article in The Atlantic about methamphetamine: 
Among the drawbacks of the P2P method is that it produces two kinds of methamphetamine. One is known as d-methamphetamine, which is the stuff that makes you high. The other is l-methamphetamine, which makes the heart race but does little to the brain; it is waste product. Most cooks would likely want to get rid of the l-meth if they knew what it was. But separating the two is tricky, beyond the skills of most clandestine chemists. And without doing so, the resulting drug is inferior to ephedrine-based meth. It makes your heart hammer without offering as potent a high.

Bozenko’s sample contained mostly d-methamphetamine. Someone had removed most of the l-meth. “I’ve taken down labs in several continents,” Bozenko told me years later. No one in the criminal world, as far as he and his colleagues knew, had ever figured out how to separate d-meth from l-meth before.
Would be interesting to know how exactly clandestine chemists are performing this resolution, but it looks like it's via the tartrate salt, which is pretty reasonable. This conclusion about this newer meth was interesting and a bit skepticism-inducing: 
Why is P2P meth producing such pronounced symptoms of mental illness in so many people? No one I spoke with knew for sure. One theory is that much of the meth contains residue of toxic chemicals used in its production, or other contaminants. Even traces of certain chemicals, in a relatively pure drug, might be devastating. The sheer number of users is up, too, and the abundance and low price of P2P meth may enable more continual use among them. That, combined with the drug’s potency today, might accelerate the mental deterioration that ephedrine-based meth can also produce, though usually over a period of months or years, not weeks. Meth and opioids (or other drugs) might also interact in particularly toxic ways. I don’t know of any study comparing the behavior of users—or rats for that matter—on meth made with ephedrine versus meth made with P2P. This now seems a crucial national question.
I'm pretty skeptical that there's a major chemical difference between ephedrine-based meth and P2P-based meth, but maybe I'm wrong. It seems to be that "more meth, cheaper" is probably the horses-not-zebras answer, even as there are other, tempting explanations (contaminants, etc). 

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 366 research/teaching positions and 24 teaching positions

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 366 research/teaching positions and 24 teaching positions. 

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

On October 20, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 136 research/teaching position and 12 teaching positions. On October 22, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 417 research/teaching positions and 20 teaching positions.

To see trending, go to Andrew Spaeth's visualization of previous years' list.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Go to the first open thread. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread.

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 46 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 46 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson).

Want to talk? Go to this year's open thread. 

Chemistry Bumper Cars

Check out the latest moves here! 

To submit information, click here or e-mail chembumpercars@gmail.com

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 32 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 32 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady and @nmr_chemist. 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 18, 2021

Supply chain issues hitting very basic chemicals too

Via the Associated Press: 

In an economy upended by the coronavirus, shortages and price spikes have hit everything from lumber to computer chips. Not even toilet paper escaped.

Now, they’re cutting into one of the humblest yet most vital links in the global manufacturing supply chain: The plastic pellets that go into a vast universe of products ranging from cereal bags to medical devices, automotive interiors to bicycle helmets.

Like other manufacturers, petrochemical companies have been shaken by the pandemic and by how consumers and businesses responded to it. Yet petrochemicals, which are made from oil, have also run into problems all their own, one after another: A freak winter freeze in Texas. A lightning strike in Louisiana. Hurricanes along the Gulf Coast.

All have conspired to disrupt production and raise prices.

“There isn’t one thing wrong,” said Jeremy Pafford, head of North America, market development, at Independent Commodity Intelligence Services (ICIS), which analyzes energy and chemical markets. “It’s kind of whack-a-mole — something goes wrong, it gets sorted out, then something else happens. And it’s been that way since the pandemic began.”

The price of polyvinyl chloride or PVC, used for pipes, medical devices, credit cards, vinyl records and more, has rocketed 70%. The price of epoxy resins, used for coatings, adhesives and paints, has soared 170%. Ethylene — arguably the world’s most important chemical, used in everything from food packaging to antifreeze to polyester — has surged 43%, according to ICIS figures.

It's hard to know when all the various pandemic-related supply chain issues will be over. 

The negative effects are obvious, i.e. if you can't get product, you can't sell it and your revenue projections go down, so you dial back hiring. 

It seems that there hasn't been a major impact on hiring yet, especially for the companies that do the bulk of hiring out of graduate school. That said, it bears watching, and I think it poses the largest obvious threat to the 2022 chemical employment market. Developing...

Disappearing tattoo ink?

This is a cool science entrepreneurship story (via The New York Times): 
...Ephemeral’s fading ink was invented by two chemical engineers who specialize in protein, Brennal Pierre, 41, and Vandan Shah, 33. They met at New York University, where Mr. Pierre was an adjunct professor, and Mr. Shah was a Ph.D. candidate.

Their work began in 2014 when one of Mr. Pierre’s students, who was also Mr. Shah’s research assistant, was going through a very painful and expensive laser removal process for a tattoo, and he wanted to know if it would be possible to remove it with an enzyme.

Once the question was asked, Mr. Pierre and Mr. Shah were hooked. “It was so intriguing to us,” Mr. Pierre said. They spent the next seven years developing an ink that would be broken down by the body’s natural mechanism.

...When you get a tattoo made of permanent ink, most of the ink remains where it is deposited. By contrast, Ephemeral’s ink is made of a material that the body naturally breaks down over time. The ink works in a similar way to biodegradable medical devices like stents used in implants or sutures used in stitches. These products, like the ink, are broken down naturally by available oxygen and water in the body.
Looks like to me that the inks are pretty typical inks, but the encapsulation is where the secret sauce is? 

I used to be pretty skeptical of science entrepreneurship stories, but the last ~5 years have changed my opinion broadly as to its potential applicability. I still think the problems are pretty tough to surmount (i.e. I think you (the scientist) basically needs a full-time spouse to provide health insurance, etc). Makes you wonder if the inevitable climb in interest rates will clamp down on rates of entrepreneurship...

Friday, October 15, 2021

Have a good weekend

This has been a relatively quiet week, but it's had its moments. Hope that you have a good weekend, and we'll see you on Monday. 

Postdoc: Synthetic chemistry, US Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, Dulles, VA

From the inbox: 

Office/Lab and Location: A postdoctoral research opportunity is currently available with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) located in Dulles, Virginia.

The DEA Special Testing and Research Laboratory provides investigative support and executes multiple special programs for customers including the DEA Intelligence Division, DEA Special Agents, United States Drug Policymakers and other Nations. These special programs include drug signature and profiling of illicit drugs including heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and fentanyl in order to provide strategic and tactical intelligence.

Research Project: Under the guidance of a mentor, the participant will be actively involved with the synthesis of new and existing drugs and precursors currently encountered or potentially to be encountered in the illicit drug market. The participant will design novel synthetic pathways to unknown/known compounds, formulate and carry out synthetic procedures leading to purified compounds. The participant will possess a broad and thorough knowledge of organic synthetic chemistry and corresponding knowledge/experience with applicable laboratory techniques. The participant will also keep abreast of the latest developments in synthetic procedures so that new advances can be applied without delay to the solution of problems encountered.

Learning Objectives: The participant will learn to perform novel syntheses, hone synthetic skills, design novel syntheses, enhance purification skills, identify emerging compounds of abuse.

Full ad here; US citizens only. Best wishes to those interested. 

Lawsuit filed against LyondellBasell

Via Houston Public Media: 
The father of a worker who died during a chemical leak at LyondellBasell’s La Porte facility in July filed a $1 million lawsuit against the company on Thursday.

According to the lawsuit, LyondellBasell became aware of a leak inside of the Acetyls Unit at the 1515 Miller Cut Off Road facility on July 27, and decided to delay permanent repairs — opting to instead to temporarily fix the leak.

Later that day, 32-year-old Shawn Kuhleman was working near the Acetyls Unit when more than 100,000 pounds of a mixture of harmful chemicals — including acetic acid, methyl iodide, and hydrogen iodide — was released into the complex, the lawsuit reads. The lawsuit says Kuhleman was fully exposed to “the harmful toxic chemicals which burned his body internally and externally,” resulting in his death.

36-year-old Dustin Day was also pronounced dead at the scene, and 30 workers were hospitalized.

That sounds awful. Condolences for the families of the deceased, and here's hoping the facts of what happened will be described in full soon. 

Thursday, October 14, 2021

30 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Common Organic Chemistry is resolving some technical difficulties, but has ported over the list to Google Drive for now. There are 30 new positions for October 13.

Don't forget to check out the Common Organic Chemistry company map, a very helpful resource for organic chemists looking for potential employers.

Global organic chemistry job market link

Via organic-chemistry.org, a link to the job market section. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Quora microwave expert Robert Schiffman dies

Via the New York Times, an obituary of a microwave food chemist: 
After earning a bachelor’s in pharmacy at Columbia University in 1955 and a master’s in analytical science and physical chemistry at Purdue University four years later, Mr. Schiffmann answered an advertisement for “a physical chemist with a sense of humor” at DCA Food Industries, a bakery equipment maker, and got the job.

It was there, in 1961, while studying the heat transfer characteristics of deep-fat frying, that he saw a co-worker place a sandwich on a paper plate inside a chrome-plated machine.

“When the guy took the sandwich out, it was warm, but the plate was cool and so was the air in the oven,” he told People. “I couldn’t get over it.”

He quickly microwaved his own sandwich, and, over the next 15 minutes, started experimenting. He microwaved doughnut dough, and then a beaker of fat into which he added raw dough, all of which eventually led to his building large microwave doughnut fryers.

The microwave - is there anything it can't do?  

BLS: quits up dramatically

Via the New York Times: 
As the economy struggles to get back on track amid the pandemic, businesses are struggling to find employees — and workers are discovering that they have leverage.

Nearly 4.3 million workers voluntarily quit their jobs in August, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That was up from four million in July and is by far the most in the two decades the government has been keeping track.

The explosion of quitting is the latest evidence that the balance of power in the labor market has swung toward workers, at least temporarily. Average hourly earnings have surged in recent months, particularly for the lowest-paid workers, and yet many businesses report they are still having difficulty finding workers.
Anyone out there quitting their jobs in the chemical or pharma industry? What are things like right now? 

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 342 research/teaching positions and 24 teaching positions

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 342 research/teaching positions and 24 teaching positions. 

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

On October 13, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 125 research/teaching position and 12 teaching positions. On October 15, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 406 research/teaching positions and 16 teaching positions.

To see trending, go to Andrew Spaeth's visualization of previous years' list.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Go to the first open thread. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread.

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 40 positions

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

Want to talk? Go to this year's open thread. 

Chemistry Bumper Cars

Check out the latest moves here! 

To submit information, click here or e-mail chembumpercars@gmail.com

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 29 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 29 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady and @nmr_chemist. 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 11, 2021

Cool gunpowder story

Well, this is a lot cooler than baking sourdough: 
In the early days of the pandemic, Dawn E. Riegner, a chemist at an elite college, found that she had time on her hands because of the empty classrooms. So she filled her downtime with an explosive diversion.

Dr. Riegner talked three of her colleagues — and her daughter — into studying how well different kinds of gunpowder recipes from the Middle Ages performed in firing projectiles out of a replica cannon. Her ambitious plan was relatively easy to carry out because she’s a tenured professor of chemistry at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., which gave her access not only to top scholars and laboratories but world-class firing ranges.

“It’s a silver lining of the pandemic,” Dr. Riegner, whose usual research centers on better detection of explosives and chemical warfare agents, said in an interview of the gunpowder study. “It’s been one of the greatest things.”

Makes you wonder what the vinegar was used for... 

NYT: new college graduates getting hired

Via the New York Times, looks like it's a good year to be a young college graduate: 
“The appetite for college labor is strong right now, whether it’s student positions, or part time, all the way through entry-level jobs,” said Jennifer Neef, director of the Career Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

That appetite at this stage of the pandemic — when overall U.S. employment remains more than five million jobs below the level in early 2020 — underscores the longstanding economic premium for those with a college education over holders of just a high school diploma.

The unemployment rate for all workers with a college degree stood at 2.5 percent in September, compared with 5.8 percent for high school graduates with no college. Among workers 22 to 27, the jobless rate in June was 6.2 percent for those with at least a bachelor’s degree and 9.6 percent for those without one, according to a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

“We’ve seen a bifurcation in the labor market recovery,” said Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics. “College graduates were less affected by job losses and have seen a faster rebound while people with high school diplomas or less witnessed a much more serious decline in employment opportunities during the Covid crisis.”

 Good news for this year's grads. Will be interesting to see how long the good times keep rolling. 

Friday, October 8, 2021

Have a good weekend

Well, we've made it through another one. Here's hoping that you had a good week, and that you will have a great weekend. We'll see you on Monday. 

Job posting: development chemist, FutureFuel, Batesville, AR

From the inbox, two positions available: 
FutureFuel Chemical Company is seeking a Development Lab Bench Chemist for our Chemical Technology Department.  The Development Lab Bench Chemist works under the direction of an Advanced Scientist, typically a PhD Chemist.  The Development Lab Bench Chemist assists in the development of new organic chemical synthesis manufacturing processes and the improvement of existing manufacturing processes.  The Development Lab Bench Chemist would also support the resolution of manufacturing issues and product quality issues and provide technical assistance to customers.

They aid in planning and conducting laboratory projects and investigations of a research or development nature.  They assemble laboratory equipment, perform experiments, observe and record details of experimental work, and document the results in memos, reports, and other technical methods.  They perform minor maintenance on laboratory equipment and design and order the necessary supplies and parts to conduct chemical synthesis experiments.  They interface with outside customers and internal peers.  They use a variety of highly technical laboratory equipment to perform research and development type experiments (i.e., automated reactor systems and data acquisition.)  They must consider safety and environmental conditions as well as effectiveness and efficiency when designing and conducting experiments.  Candidates must be strong in initiative and self-direction and committed to follow-through.  Candidates with a B.S. in Chemistry and previous experience are preferred.  Candidates with a B.A. in Chemistry or other related degrees will be considered depending on their course completions and experience.  
Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

23 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Common Organic Chemistry is resolving some technical difficulties, but has ported over the list to Google Drive for now. There are 23 new positions for October 3.

Don't forget to check out the Common Organic Chemistry company map, a very helpful resource for organic chemists looking for potential employers.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Professors List and MacMillan win Chemistry Nobel for organocatalysis

From the New York Times: 
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded on Wednesday to Benjamin List and David W.C. MacMillan for their development of a new tool to build molecules, work that has spurred advances in pharmaceutical research and lessened the impact of chemistry on the environment.

Their work, while unseen by consumers, is an essential part in many leading industries and is crucial for research.
The 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has gone to Benjamin List of the Max Planck Institute for Kohlenforschung, and David W. C. MacMillan of Princeton University for the discovery of asymmetric organocatalysis. Asymmetric organocatalysis uses small organic molecules as catalysts instead of traditional catalysts such as enzymes or metals. These molecules are able to catalyze reactions to selectively form one enantiomer of a particular compound—meaning one version of two mirror-image molecules.

Best wishes to Professors List and MacMillan.  

Longread of the day: using data science to mine cobalt

Via Bloomberg: 
Late in August, at a precisely specified point in the low Arctic, a geologist named Dave Freedman stood in a raw wind and a limitless expanse of tundra and began to thwack with a sledgehammer at a rock outcrop jutting up from the soil.

Freedman, 29, works for a company called KoBold Metals, and the process that had brought him to this pair of GPS coordinates in Quebec’s far north was complex. But the rock had had its own journey. Before it was rock, it had been magma in the Earth’s mantle, part of a molten tongue tens of meters wide that had welled up as two tectonic plates spread apart 1.85 billion years ago.

Lots of interesting chemistry within.  

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 318 research/teaching positions and 20 teaching positions

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 318 research/teaching positions and 20 teaching positions. 

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

On October 6, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 114 research/teaching position and 10 teaching positions. On October 8, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 381 research/teaching positions and 11 teaching positions.

To see trending, go to Andrew Spaeth's visualization of previous years' list.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Go to the first open thread. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full 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).

Want to talk? Go to this year's open thread. 

Chemistry Bumper Cars

Check out the latest moves here! 

To submit information, click here or e-mail chembumpercars@gmail.com

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 27 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 27 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady and @nmr_chemist. 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 4, 2021

C&EN: Chinese power outages affect chemical production

In this week's Chemical and Engineering News, this news (by Hepeng Jia): 
China’s chemical sector is enjoying a profit surge, but continued prosperity is threatened by spreading power outages and the nation’s attempt to control carbon emissions.

China’s National Bureau of Statistics says profits in the chemical industry rose by 145% in the first 8 months of the year, nearly tripling the average industrial profit increase.

But the streak could be coming to an end. In recent days, at least a dozen stock market–listed Chinese chemical manufacturers—ranging from fertilizer producers to polyester fiber firms—have announced production curtailments due to lack of electricity.

In addition, on Sept. 23, the US firm Celanese declared force majeure for several polymers after it was forced to shut down acetic anhydride and vinyl acetate facilities in Nanjing, in Jiangsu Province, to comply with government orders. Nationwide, thousands of chemical factories could be impacted by power cuts, says China Petrochemical News.

The publication quotes several chemical firms’ executives in Jiangsu Province and the regions of Inner Mongolia and Ningxia as complaining that the unstable electricity supply is hampering maintenance, feedstock loading, and production safety.

 I imagine this will have the effect of driving Chinese prices up, which will have further inflationary effects on the world economy. I think I expected inflation to pop up eventually, but how it's affected the global economy and why have been beyond me. 

Cool art techniques

Via the New York Times, this neat bit of spectroscopy: 
The year was 1791, and while Marie Antoinette may not have had the favor of the people of France, she did have a pen pal. Her confidant, Axel von Fersen, was a Swedish count, and one of the French queen’s close friends.

Between the summers of 1791 and 1792, though the queen was kept under close surveillance after a botched escape attempt, she still managed to sneak letters to the Count of Fersen. He copied the letters, which are now held in the French national archives. But between the time the letters were written and the time they arrived at the archives, some mysterious actor censored the letters, scrawling out words and lines with tightly looped circles of ink.

The content of the censored lines — and the identity of the fastidious scribbler — eluded historians for nearly 150 years. In a paper published on Friday in the journal Science Advances, scientists have now revealed the redacted content of eight of the censored letters between Marie Antoinette and the Count of Fersen. The researchers used a technique called X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, which can detect the chemical signatures of different inks without damaging documents.

...The method that prevailed was X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, or XRF, which differentiated the chemical signature of the ink used by the original author and the ink used by the censor. The initial XRF scans revealed that both texts had been etched with metal-gall ink, a common ink made with iron sulfate. “But the iron sulfate is not pure most of the time,” Dr. Michelin said. “It contains other metallic elements, like copper and zinc. With that slight difference, we can differentiate the inks.”

In some letters, copper was present only in the original ink, so isolating the element on its own would remove the censor. “So just with the map of the copper, I can read the text,” Dr. Michelin said...

 It seems that art science always has the best stories. 

Friday, October 1, 2021

Have a good weekend

Well, here we are at the weekend. Hope that you had a good week, and that you have a good weekend. See you on Monday! 

LIDAR for bear mass

Me, after dinner on Thursday
credit: New York Times

Always cool to see what instruments of science can be used for (via High Country News): 
“I got a laser return from the butt of Otis, one of the more famous brown bears up there,” Cusick said. “I thought, ‘Wow, this just might work.’” 

Lidar, which stands for “light detection and ranging,” emits beams of light to measure three-dimensional objects or areas. When light waves hit an object, they bounce off and return to the sensor. Computers then use the speed of light to calculate the distance between the sensor and all the points. That figure is then processed using software that can model a three-dimensional object. Scanners have become standard technology that is deployed from the ground, the sky and satellites to measure vegetation growth. Now, they’re being used to measure bears’ length, height and girth.

Insurance companies are probably going to start using LIDAR to measure their policy holders... 

Thursday, September 30, 2021

30 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Common Organic Chemistry is resolving some technical difficulties, but has ported over the list to Google Drive for now. There are 30 new positions for September 29.

Don't forget to check out the Common Organic Chemistry company map, a very helpful resource for organic chemists looking for potential employers.

Global organic chemistry job market link

Via organic-chemistry.org, a link to the job market section. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

CSB releases two new investigation reports

Via Chemical and Engineering News (by Jeff Johnson) this sad story (emphasis mine): 
The US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board on Sept. 24 approved two final reports on accidents that killed six workers. The reports were critical of AB Specialty Silicones of Waukegan, Illinois, where four workers were killed May 3, 2019, and an Evergreen Packaging paper mill in Canton, North Carolina, where two workers died Sept. 21, 2020.

The silicones plant was making a silicon hydride emulsion when a flammable vapor cloud developed and ignited, causing an explosion and fire. In addition to the deaths, a fifth employee was seriously injured. The CSB found that workers inadvertently mixed several incompatible chemical compounds that were stored near each other in nearly identical drums, generating hydrogen gas that ignited.

The facility lacked an adequate ventilation system and a working alarm system, the CSB noted.

It was surprising to me that the various chemicals were all in 55-gallon blue drums. They could be easily confused, although there are plenty of ways (different staging sites, double-sign offs, ID verification) that you could stop operators from charging the wrong reagents into reactors.

Second death from Daikin America chemical exposure

Via WAFF, this odd story continues with a second death: 
DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - Another Daikin America employee has died after he was exposed to a dangerous chemical in July.

A source confirmed on Tuesday the death of Will Delashaw. Delashaw was in UAB’s ICU trying to recover from chemical exposure when he passed away.

Delashaw had a pending lawsuit against Daikin over that exposure incident filed just weeks ago. According to Delashsaw’s attorneys, he was exposed in the same incident that killed Daikin employee Wesley Rusk in August.

During the July 2021 incident, Delashaw, Rusk, and another employee were exposed to chemicals at Daikin in July. That next month, Rusk died from complications of exposure, and now only one of the employees from that incident is still alive. Delashaw’s attorney Kendall Dunson says Delashaw never learned what chemical he was exposed to, and that he was wearing PPE at the time of the exposure.
Sulfur dioxide was initially reported, but milkshake pointed out the problems with that theory. Here's hoping they get to the root of it...

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 279 research/teaching positions and 18 teaching positions

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 279 research/teaching positions and 18 teaching positions. 

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

On September 29, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 99 research/teaching position and  9 teaching positions. On October 1, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 354 research/teaching positions and 8 teaching positions.

To see trending, go to Andrew Spaeth's visualization of previous years' list.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Go to the first open thread. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread.  

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 35 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 35 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson).

Want to talk? Go to this year's open thread. 

Chemistry Bumper Cars

Check out the latest moves here! 

To submit information, click here or e-mail chembumpercars@gmail.com

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 27 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 27 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady and @nmr_chemist. 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 27, 2021

Kariko and Weissman win the Lasker Award

Via the New York Times:
Katalin Kariko, a senior vice president at BioNTech, and Dr. Drew Weissman, a professor in vaccine research at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, shared this year’s Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award.

In retrospect, their 2005 breakthrough was apparent when Dr. Kariko and Dr. Weissman proudly published a surprising finding they had made about messenger RNA, also known as mRNA, which provides instructions to cells to make proteins. The scientists noticed that when they added mRNA to cells, the cells instantly destroyed it. But they could prevent that destruction by slightly modifying the mRNA. When they added the altered mRNA to cells, it could briefly prompt cells to make any protein they chose.

I wouldn't be opposed to Kariko and Weissman winning the Medicine or the Chemistry Nobel this year, but we shall see.  

CO2 supply chain issues in the UK continue

In this week's Chemical and Engineering News, more on the UK's carbon dioxide shortage from Alex Scott: 
A surge in natural gas prices in the UK is rippling through the economy, temporarily shutting down a fertilizer plant and threatening the availability of meats and packaged food.

Faced with high prices for natural gas, CF Industries idled two British ammonia plants on Sept. 15. And because the plants also supply 60% of the UK’s food-grade CO2, the closures put some of the country’s food industry in danger of seizing up.

A food production crisis has been averted, at least for now. CF is restarting the ammonia plants after the UK government agreed to subsidize them for the next 3 weeks. Officials aren’t specifying how much they are paying CF, but UK Environment Secretary George Eustice told the BBC’s Radio 4 program that “It’s into the millions.”

...UK slaughterhouses use CO2 to stun millions of animals each week, and without it they can’t accept shipments from farmers. CO2 is also widely used to fill food packages to extend their shelf life, and it is the gas that goes into fizzy drinks.

The price of natural gas in the UK has tripled since the start of the year and is now five times that of the US. UK natural gas production is down 28% so far this year compared with 2020, according to the consulting firm Wood Mackenzie. Record high coal prices, booming Asian natural gas demand, and limited growth in supplies from Russia have added to the problem, Wood Mackenzie states.

Food-grade CO2 shortages could extend beyond the UK. High natural gas prices in mainland Europe in the past week caused the fertilizer producer Yara International to cut its European ammonia production by about 40%.

The record gas prices are affecting other segments of the chemical industry as well. For example, Huntsman recently announced that it has added a natural gas surcharge of about $150 per metric ton on the methylene diphenyl diisocyanate, a polyurethane intermediate, it sells in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and India.

The wacky supply chain issues started by COVID seem to continue and continue...

Friday, September 24, 2021

Have a good weekend


Well, we made it to the weekend. I hope your week was better than mine, and that you have a great and restful weekend. We'll see you on Monday. 

 

Logistics woes continue

Via the New York Times, this news: 
Container ships were lined up this week off the coast of Southern California, waiting to deliver cargo at the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach. The backup offered another sign of the supply chain woes bedeviling businesses across the globe.

Sixty-one vessels were anchored offshore on Thursday waiting to unload cargo, down from a record 73 on Sunday, said Capt. J. Kipling Louttit, the executive director of the Marine Exchange of Southern California, a nonprofit that works in partnership with the Coast Guard to provide data on maritime commerce.

In addition to the anchored ships, 29 were adrift up to 20 miles offshore, meaning they were so far from the coast that their anchors could not reach the ocean floor. That’s down from a record of 37 set on Monday, Captain Louttit said, but the traffic is not abating.
It seems to me that this will have a damaging effect on the remaining 2021 and future 2022 economies...

Thursday, September 23, 2021

52 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Common Organic Chemistry is resolving some technical difficulties, but has ported over the list to Google Drive for now. There are 52 new positions for September 19.

Don't forget to check out the Common Organic Chemistry company map, a very helpful resource for organic chemists looking for potential employers.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

"the rich life"

Over at The Polymerist (you should subscribe!), this very true paragraph in the middle of a great post suggesting that grad students think about startups for their work: 
My point is that near the end of graduate school, most people want to make money and mentally recover. Usually, mental recovery in a post-doc is not a real thing. The idea of wanting a stable 40 hour per week job with benefits and a big enough salary to go out to lunch every day and buy Starbucks lattes without going broke is a Rich Life to most graduate students. A bunch of students just want to make more money, it’s what I wanted, and while others might want to become professors and not care about anything else (good luck).

My advice to the graduate students out there is that if they want to explore doing a start-up and they have a supportive thesis adviser and department then you should go for it. There are a few things you can do to attract investors’ capital.

I don't wish to turn this into a personal finance rant, but the thought of going out to lunch every day alarms my budget meter, but I still know what people mean. It's no fun eating the same pot of chili for the next week, and there are times when a coffee drink feels like an intense luxury. When I started my postdoc, it really felt like a financial weight was lifted off my shoulders (my postdoc salary was ~2X my grad student salary, because it was an industry postdoc). 

Regarding startups, I think Tony is definitely leaning in the right direction - it makes you wonder if there should be a portion of candidate exams or proposal defenses where students can either turn a proposal into a grant application (for the academically-oriented) or a project proposal for a startup or an industrial project proposal...

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 240 research/teaching positions and 13 teaching positions

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 240 research/teaching positions and 13 teaching positions. 

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

On September 22, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 89 research/teaching position and 79teaching positions. On September 24, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 333 research/teaching positions and 8 teaching positions.

To see trending, go to Andrew Spaeth's visualization of previous years' list.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Go to the first open thread. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread.  

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 25 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 25 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson).

Want to talk? Go to this year's open thread. 

Chemistry Bumper Cars

Check out the latest moves here! 

To submit information, click here or e-mail chembumpercars@gmail.com

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 39 positions

 The Academic Staff Jobs list has 39 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady and @nmr_chemist. 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 20, 2021

Former Theranos chemist testifies

Via CNBC, the chemist level of the Theranos story: 

SAN JOSE, CALIF. – A former Theranos scientist testified Friday that Elizabeth Holmes pressured her to validate blood test results from the company’s Edison machine to speed up a rollout in Walgreens despite problems with the device’s accuracy.

Surekha Gangakhedkar, a senior scientist at Theranos for eight years who reported directly to Holmes, testified that she returned from a vacation in August 2013 and discovered that Theranos was about to launch its Edison blood-testing devices in Walgreens stores.

“I was very stressed and unhappy and concerned with the way the launch was going” Gangakhedkar said. “I was not comfortable with the plans that they had in place so I made a decision to resign and not continue working there.”

Gangakhedkar recalled meeting with Holmes in September 2013 about the issues that prompted her resignation. “At that time she mentioned that she has promised to deliver to the customers and didn’t have much of a choice then to go ahead with the launch,” Gangakhedkar said becoming emotional on the stand.

“Ms. Holmes said she didn’t have much of a choice?” asked Robert Leach, an assistant U.S. attorney.

“Yes,” she replied.

Despite signing a non-disclosure agreement, Gangakhedkar said she printed some documents and took them home when she quit because she was “worried about the launch, I was actually scared that if things do not go well I would be blamed.”

Gangakhedkar was granted immunity from criminal charges in exchange for her testimony.

I've always figured there were product development-type chemists at Theranos, but I hadn't identified any. Sounds like Ms. Gangakhedkar was one of them, and it wasn't a great environment to work. 

COVID raw material shortages continue

In this week's C&EN, this news from Alex Tullo: 
Two of the largest US paint makers, Sherwin Williams and PPG Industries, say their third-quarter sales will be hit significantly by raw material shortages. Raw materials such as resins for coatings have been in short supply since freezing weather in Texas in February sidelined the chemical industry. 
Producers have been slow to recover and now have to contend with additional events such as Hurricane Ida. PPG says its sales will be $225 million to $275 million lower than it had anticipated at the beginning of the quarter. The company says its sales of paint to the auto industry also have been hit by a shortage of computer chips that automakers need to build cars. Sherwin Williams says raw material shortages crimped sales by 3.5% in the second quarter. It expects third-quarter sales to be lower than expected by a “high-single-digit percentage.” Sherwin-Williams says the raw materials it can get are expensive and thus it has put surcharges on its products.

It's amazing how some chemical producers are being hit by both shortages from the raw material side as well as the customer side (i.e. all automotive suppliers.) 

Friday, September 17, 2021

Have a good weekend

Well, here we are, at the end of the week. I hope you had a good one, and that you'll have a restful weekend. We'll see you on Monday. 

*this piece isn't symbolic of anything, it's just a piece I heard recently that I found really arresting

Borax and zinc made Stradivarii?

Via a friend of the blog, this Ars Technica piece by Jennifer Ouellette:
Along with Andrea Amati and Andrea Guarneri, Antonio Stradivari dominated the so-called Golden Age of Violins (roughly 1660 to 1750), and the instruments they crafted remain the gold standard today in terms of acoustic quality. World-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma has long favored a Stradivarius instrument, as does violinist Joshua Bell. But scientists have been arguing for years about precisely why these instruments have such superior sound. A recent paper published in the journal Angewandte Chemie confirms a theory dating back to 2006: the secret lies in the chemicals used to soak the wood, most notably borax, zinc, copper, alum, and lime water.

Good piece - if it was indeed the treatments, good luck reproducing that!  

Thursday, September 16, 2021

31 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

 Common Organic Chemistry is resolving some technical difficulties, but has ported over the list to Google Drive for now. There are 31 new positions for September 11.

Don't forget to check out the Common Organic Chemistry company map, a very helpful resource for organic chemists looking for potential employers.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 195 research/teaching positions and 11 teaching positions

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 195 research/teaching positions and 11 teaching positions. 

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

On September 15, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 74 research/teaching position and 7 teaching positions. On September 17, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 290 research/teaching positions and 7 teaching positions.

To see trending, go to Andrew Spaeth's visualization of previous years' list.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Go to the first open thread. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread.  

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 18 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 18 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson).

Want to talk? Go to this year's open thread. 

Chemistry Bumper Cars

Check out the latest moves here! 

To submit information, click here or e-mail chembumpercars@gmail.com

Job posting: instrumentation support technician, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY

From the inbox: 

The Instrumentation Support Technician will be responsible for the validation of chemical structures of submitted samples by using mass spectrometry.

  • Process submitted samples using mass spectrometry instrumentation to collect scientific data.
  • Analyze data collected. And generate reports
  • Routine maintenance of instruments

Required Qualifications (As evidenced by attached resume):  

Bachelor’s Degree (foreign equivalent or higher degree)  in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biomedical engineering or a related discipline. Two (2) years of work/research experience in the operation of a liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) instrument.

Preferred Qualifications:  

Master's degree in Analytical Chemistry.  Experience with LC-MS instrument maintenance.

Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 39 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 39 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady and @nmr_chemist. 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 13, 2021

C&EN on the 2020-21 academic job market

In this week's Chemical and Engineering News, a worthwhile article from C&EN's Bethany Halford (NB our data was used): 
...So how bad was the job market for chemistry professors? Since 2016, C&EN columnist Chemjobber and industrial chemist Andrew Spaeth have maintained a list of open tenure-track and teaching positions in chemistry in the US and Canada. They say the numbers tell a clear story: chemists looking to start their careers as professors were competing for far fewer opportunities in the 2020–21 hiring season than in years past.

The academic hiring season in the US starts in earnest in September and wraps up the following June. Throughout that time, schools post positions that will be open for the following academic year. Chemjobber and Spaeth’s final tallies each June from 2017 to 2020 indicate that more than 550 academic chemistry jobs were posted each year. By June 2021, only 339 job openings had been posted—a roughly 40% decrease from years past.

Job seekers who spoke with C&EN found that the 2020–21 hiring cycle was unusually drawn out, with offers delayed by months. Restrictions on travel and campus visitors meant that candidates had to interview using Zoom and had to rely on video tours to get a sense of their potential lab space. Job seekers, who were deciding where to spend those critical early years of their independent careers, had a tough time. And they weren’t alone. Employers, who were making significant investments in new hires, also say the process was difficult...

Go read the whole thing. 

C&EN on the hot pharma/biotech market

In this week's Chemical and Engineering News, Rick Mullin writes on the hot pharma/biotech market: 
...The combination of a healthy drug industry, heavy venture capital investment in start-ups, and new targets for small-molecule drugs is spurring a hiring spree, allowing some young PhD chemists, particularly in medicinal and computational chemistry, to skip the traditional years of postdoctoral training and go quickly to work in the pharmaceutical industry. The boom is great for chemists looking to start their careers, but it is raising questions about the role of the postdoc in the training of chemists today.

Hall says he was prompted to start a conversation on Twitter after hearing multiple accounts of principal investigators in academic labs losing postdocs to industry. “And not in a scenario where they have done a 2- or 3-year postdoc, but 4 to 6 months in. I’m 44. I did a very long postdoc. I have a lot of friends who did two postdocs. That was not uncommon at all. Obviously, the opportunities are there now in a way they haven’t been for a while.”

Hall adds that it has become increasingly difficult to fill postdoc spots in his lab at NCATS. “I have chatted with a few people who applied for postdocs who basically said, ‘I’m not doing a postdoc. I have a job with pharma.’ ”

 Article has lots of good anecdotes from people who have successfully found industry positions. Oh, and I stand by my normative position. Lots of great angles to ponder - read the whole thing. 

Friday, September 10, 2021

Have a good weekend

Well, here we are at the weekend. Hope that you had a good week, and that you have a wonderful weekend. Going camping, so that should be... fun? See you on Monday. 

Job posting: organic chemist, Beyond Meat, El Segundo, CA

From the inbox, this position: 

The Organic Chemist will use scientific principles and expertise, and a broad range of advanced technologies and industrial tools for achieving company goals. This successful, self-motivated, creative, and results-oriented individual will lead in their area of expertise to utilize cutting-edge chemistry  methods and techniques in the development of innovative food products and processes. The Organic Chemist will have a keen understanding of the field and extensive hands-on research experience with proven ability to think beyond standard methods, independently conduct research and reach conclusions, and clearly deliver results within a matrix organization.

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Utilize cutting-edge chemistry methods and techniques to design and develop functional food ingredients, molecular systems for food, and innovative products
  • Conduct natural products isolation, compound characterization and validation, as well as develop new or optimized approaches to natural products discovery
  • Characterize chemical processes and systems in detail, and develop chemistry to effect control over such processes and systems
  • Synthesize known and previously unknown compounds at small scale and scale-up quantities, including support for chemical process development at scale

QUALIFICATIONS

  • Ph.D. in organic chemistry, with extensive experience in organic synthesis and mechanism, analytical methods, and physical organic chemistry. Minimum 5-year experience in academic or industrial chemistry research
  • Post-doctoral experience is desired, but not required
  • Prior experience with natural products chemistry, protein chemistry, lipid chemistry, analytical chemistry, physical chemistry, and organic reaction chemistry
Link here. Best wishes to those interested. 

ICIS: over 75% of US Gulf oil production remains offline

From the excellent The Polymerist, this recent comment: 
In addition to oil refineries being shut down the chemical industry has also had closures. ICIS has been tracking the situation and as of September 1st here is a list of sites that have been offline. In the chemical industry I suspect there to be more raw material shortages and force majeures hitting supply chains in the coming weeks. Hopefully the buyers further down the supply chain have enough inventory to get through the next few weeks. Get ready for higher prices in the short term.

That update was from August 31, and here's the update from ICIS: 

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Over 75% of US Gulf oil production and natural gas production respectively remains offline as offshore producers continue to recover from the disruption in production caused by Hurricane Ida.

Currently, 76% of oil production and 77% of natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico remains shut in, according to the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). 

Worth noting that there's an acrylonitrile plant that's been shutdown and has declared force majeure. Will be interesting to see when it starts back up.  

Thursday, September 9, 2021

19 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Common Organic Chemistry is resolving some technical difficulties, but has ported over the list to Google Drive for now. There are 19 new positions for September 3. 

Don't forget to check out the Common Organic Chemistry company map, a very helpful resource for organic chemists looking for potential employers.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Taiwanese biotech CEO pleads guilty to theft of Genentech trade secrets

Via this week's Chemical and Engineering News, this story by Craig Bettenhausen:
The former CEO and chief operating officer of the Taiwanese biotech firm Eden Biologics—which changed its name from JHL Biotech in February—have been convicted in the US of stealing trade secrets from Genentech. The executives, Racho Ivanov Jordanov and Rose Lin, join staffers Xanthe Lam and Allen Lam, who were convicted on related charges in July. According to the indictments, the four worked together starting in 2009 to steal manufacturing protocols and other proprietary information from Genentech about its drugs Avastin, Herceptin, Pulmozyme, and Rituxan. Xanthe Lam worked at Genentech from 1986 to 2017.
The Department of Justice press release is pretty detailed as to what exactly happened: 
According to the plea agreement, Jordanov hired former Genentech employees to work at JHL Biotech, several of whom he learned surreptitiously brought, without authorization, confidential and proprietary documents with them from Genentech to JHL Biotech.  
The company used only some of the stolen documents, but Jordanov tolerated this practice by the employees of JHL Biotech and made no effort to discourage its employees from using the documents or information they brought with them.  The employees Jordanov hired provided the Genentech documents and information to JHL Biotech, which, at times, allowed the company to cheat, cut corners, solve problems, provide examples, avoid further experimentation, eliminate costs, lend scientific assurance, and otherwise help JHL Biotech start-up, develop, and operate its business secretly using the intellectual property and scientific know-how taken from Genentech.  
Jordanov admitted that he suspected that some or all the stolen information was brought to JHL Biotech in violation of relevant Genentech non-disclosure agreements and employment contracts, but he made no effort to verify whether that was true.

I've thought about this stuff before. Makes you wonder if companies have thought about ways that their documents leave the company, and how to track them... 

Lubrizol cuts Chemtool severance packages after fire

Via the Rockford Register Star, this bad news for the employees of the Chemtool plant in Rockford, IL that burned down: 
ROSCOE — Two weeks of pay for every year on the job up to 52 weeks was the severance package Chemtool employees were expecting after the company's Rockton plant was destroyed by fire. 

Taylor Vronch, a Chemtool foreman, called the severance package a "generous policy," that is before the company changed it.

Vronch was among 25 Chemtool employees who gathered Sunday at Mary's Market in Roscoe to talk about a recent change to the severance packages they say they were assured they'd get. 

The package now states employees with five years or more will receive one weeks' pay per year on the job with a maximum payout of eight weeks.

Gee, two months severance for a surprise shutdown of a plant seems pretty darn crummy to me. (What is it about Berkshire Hathaway companies and pay? I feel like I hear a fair number of complaints about them, but I think that's confirmation bias on my part.)  

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

The 2022 Faculty Jobs List: 165 research/teaching positions and 6 teaching positions

The 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 165 research/teaching positions and 6 teaching positions. 

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

On September 8, 2020, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 66 research/teaching position and 6 teaching positions. On September 10, 2019, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 254 research/teaching positions and 7 teaching positions.

To see trending, go to Andrew Spaeth's visualization of previous years' list.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Go to the first open thread. 

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full thread.  

Job posting: Chemical/Biochemical Systems at the University of Toronto, Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry

From the inbox: 
The Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry invites applications for a full-time tenure stream appointment in the area of the application of data science to chemical and biochemical systems. The appointment will be at the rank of Associate Professor or Professor with an expected start date of July 1, 2022, or shortly thereafter.

Applicants are expected to have a PhD in chemical, biological, environmental or materials engineering or in applied chemistry, biology, computer science, computer engineering or a related field at the time of appointment. Postdoctoral or industrial experience is an asset. The successful candidate will have a clearly demonstrated exceptional record of excellence in research and teaching, as well as innovation in research and teaching.

We seek candidates with outstanding expertise in the development and application of Data Science, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) or quantum computing methodologies to chemical and biochemical systems and whose research and teaching complement and strengthen our existing strengths in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry. Areas of application for the candidate’s research may include, but are not limited to, chemical, biochemical and materials processing, sustainable energy/manufacturing/materials, environmental science and engineering, chemical/biomolecular modelling, polymers, catalysis, reaction engineering, transport phenomena, advanced separations, regenerative medicine, protein engineering, genomics, bioinformatics, systems biology, forest products, self-driving laboratories, surface and interface engineering.

All application materials, including reference letters must be received by January 10, 2022. Submission guidelines can be found at http://uoft.me/how-to-apply. If you have any questions about this position please contact chair.chemeng@utoronto.ca.

To apply at the rank of Assistant Professor in AI in Chemical and Biochemical Systems:

To apply at the rank of Associate/Full Professor in AI in Chemical and Biochemical Systems:

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 17 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 17 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson).

Want to talk? Go to this year's open thread. 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 39 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 39 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady and @nmr_chemist. 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 6, 2021

Happy Labor Day


Today is Labor Day, a holiday in the United States. Back tomorrow. 

 

Friday, September 3, 2021

Have a good weekend

Well, here we are at the weekend. I hope that you have a great one, and we'll see you on Tuesday, since Monday is Labor Day. 

I love Fermi problems

A delightful short column in the New York Times about Fermi problems: 
Whenever I got stuck on math homework while growing up, I would go looking for my mother. Often I would find her on the living-room couch unwinding after work, catching up on the news with both the local Cantonese news station blaring on the TV and The Economist open in her lap.

“I don’t know how to do this,” I would complain, settling on the carpet by her feet.

“Read me the question.”

I would recite: “Sarah takes six hours to paint a fence, and John takes 12 hours to paint the same fence. How long will it take to paint a fence twice as long if they work together?”

She wouldn’t even look at the page.

“How many hours do you think it’ll take them?”

“I don’t know, or I wouldn’t be asking you!”

“Single digit? Tens of hours? Hundreds of hours?”

“Mommm …”

I love Fermi problems, and making estimates. These days, I do it a fair bit for work, and I also do it a fair bit around chemical employment as well. How many professors do you think work on this problem? Maybe 1, maybe 10. How many working industrial medicinal chemists are there in the United States? I dunno, definitely 1000, definitely not 100,000, probably closer to 5,000. How many chemical plants are there in the United States? Well, that's probably a number less than 5000, but more than 100. 

Readers, what are your favorite Fermi-type questions and how do you go about solving them?

Thursday, September 2, 2021

38 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Common Organic Chemistry is resolving some technical difficulties, but has ported over the list to Google Drive for now. There are 21 new positions for August 31 and 17 new positions for August 27. 

Don't forget to check out the Common Organic Chemistry company map, a very helpful resource for organic chemists looking for potential employers.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

UW-Madison Chemistry has major ventilation problems

Via Twitter, an article from Kelly Meyerhofer of the Wisconsin State Journal
Problems with the new chemistry building addition on the UW-Madison campus continue with part of the ventilation system collapsing earlier this month, closing two wings of the University Avenue building.

A large duct on the ninth floor of the new tower collapsed Aug. 21, the university said in an announcement. The ducts that make up the ventilation system are key to exhausting chemical fumes.

The damaged duct is part of the system that serves the Mathews and Daniels wings, which house an unspecified number of research labs. All staff has moved out while a damage assessment takes place. 

The chemistry department is working with leaders of each lab to move their research to a different location or transition to operate remotely for a while. 

University officials have also either moved online or identified alternative locations for the eight course sections scheduled to take place in the two wings this semester.

The timeline to repair the system is unknown, according to UW-Madison.

The closure of the two wings comes on the heels of the university announcing a delay in the new tower's opening. That's because fire safety tests performed over the summer found the elevator shafts in the addition did not pass pressurization tests. Elevator shaft pressurization reduces the spread of smoke during a fire, making improper pressure a “life-safety issue.”

The $133 million construction project broke ground in September 2018.

Well, this sounds like a mess for the lawyers to handle. I imagine there will be a settlement sometime in 2027. Best wishes to the graduate students and postdocs most affected by this.