Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The 2021 Faculty Jobs List: 337 research/teaching positions and 65 teaching faculty positions

The 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 337 research/teaching positions and 65 teaching assistant professor positions.

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

In 2020-2021, 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." We are adding community college positions if they explicitly offer tenure.

On May 12, 2020, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 557 research/teaching positions and 80 teaching faculty 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 seventh open thread. 

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

Postdoctoral position: medicinal chemistry, Sathyamoorthi Laboratory, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS

From the inbox: 

The Sathyamoorthi laboratory at the University of Kansas seeks a postdoctoral fellow with experience in the stereoselective synthesis of complex molecules. If interested, please email Professor Sathyamoorthi with your CV, prior research summary, and contacts for three references (ssathyam@ku.edu).

Best wishes to those interested.  

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 120 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 120 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.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

The craziest nuclear story you will read today

Via Science magazine, this remarkable story: 
Thirty-five years after the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine exploded in the world’s worst nuclear accident, fission reactions are smoldering again in uranium fuel masses buried deep inside a mangled reactor hall. “It’s like the embers in a barbecue pit,” says Neil Hyatt, a nuclear materials chemist at the University of Sheffield. Now, Ukrainian scientists are scrambling to determine whether the reactions will wink out on their own—or require extraordinary interventions to avert another accident.

Sensors are tracking a rising number of neutrons, a signal of fission, streaming from one inaccessible room, Anatolii Doroshenko of the Institute for Safety Problems of Nuclear Power Plants (ISPNPP) in Kyiv, Ukraine, reported last week during discussions about dismantling the reactor. “There are many uncertainties,” says ISPNPP’s Maxim Saveliev. “But we can’t rule out the possibility of [an] accident.” The neutron counts are rising slowly, Saveliev says, suggesting managers still have a few years to figure out how to stifle the threat. Any remedy he and his colleagues come up with will be of keen interest to Japan, which is coping with the aftermath of its own nuclear disaster 10 years ago at Fukushima, Hyatt notes. “It’s a similar magnitude of hazard.”

The specter of self-sustaining fission, or criticality, in the nuclear ruins has long haunted Chernobyl. When part of the Unit Four reactor’s core melted down on 26 April 1986, uranium fuel rods, their zirconium cladding, graphite control rods, and sand dumped on the core to try to extinguish the fire melted together into a lava. It flowed into the reactor hall’s basement rooms and hardened into formations called fuel-containing materials (FCMs), which are laden with about 170 tons of irradiated uranium—95% of the original fuel.

...The concrete-and-steel sarcophagus called the Shelter, erected 1 year after the accident to house Unit Four’s remains, allowed rainwater to seep in. Because water slows, or moderates, neutrons and thus enhances their odds of striking and splitting uranium nuclei, heavy rains would sometimes send neutron counts soaring. After a downpour in June 1990, a “stalker”—a scientist at Chernobyl who risks radiation exposure to venture into the damaged reactor hall—dashed in and sprayed gadolinium nitrate solution, which absorbs neutrons, on an FCM that he and his colleagues feared might go critical. Several years later, the plant installed gadolinium nitrate sprinklers in the Shelter’s roof. But the spray can’t effectively penetrate some basement rooms...

...The resurgent fission reactions are not the only challenge facing Chernobyl’s keepers. Besieged by intense radiation and high humidity, the FCMs are disintegrating—spawning even more radioactive dust that complicates plans to dismantle the Shelter. Early on, an FCM formation called the Elephant’s Foot was so hard scientists had to use a Kalashnikov rifle to shear off a chunk for analysis. “Now it more or less has the consistency of sand,” Saveliev says....

Keeping this site secure and stable has got to be a huge task - the engineering challenges must be enormous, and the difficulty of getting good information is daunting. 

Friday, May 7, 2021

Have a good weekend

 

We've made it into May! That is remarkable. I hope you had a good week, and will have a great weekend. See you on Monday. 

The race for lithium extraction in America

Via the New York Times, an interesting article on lithium mining in the United States: 
Some of those investors are backing alternatives including a plan to extract lithium from briny water beneath California’s largest lake, the Salton Sea, about 600 miles south of the Lithium Americas site.

At the Salton Sea, investors plan to use specially coated beads to extract lithium salt from the hot liquid pumped up from an aquifer more than 4,000 feet below the surface. The self-contained systems will be connected to geothermal power plants generating emission-free electricity. And in the process, they hope to generate the revenue needed to restore the lake, which has been fouled by toxic runoff from area farms for decades.

Looks like they're using ion exchange beads for the extraction - makes sense.  

Thursday, May 6, 2021

57 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 25 new positions for May 5, and 32 for April 28. 

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

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

The 2021 Faculty Jobs List: 334 research/teaching positions and 65 teaching faculty positions

The 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 3334research/teaching positions and 65 teaching assistant professor positions.

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

In 2020-2021, 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." We are adding community college positions if they explicitly offer tenure.

On May 5, 2020, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 557 research/teaching positions and 80 teaching faculty 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 seventh open thread. 

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

Postdoctoral position: inorganic materials chemistry, Rabufetti group, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI

From the inbox: 

The Rabuffetti group has an open postdoctoral position in inorganic materials chemistry. This research project aims to establish principles to guide the discovery and design of luminescent thermometers for applications that range from biosensing to sustainable energy conversion. The project involves two major tasks: (1) solution-phase synthesis of thermosensitive, light-emitting nanocrystals; and (2) systematic investigation and understanding of their temperature-dependent luminescence response.  

Required qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in inorganic, physical inorganic, or materials chemistry.
  • experience in solution-phase synthesis of nanocrystals.
  • experience with photoluminescence data collection and analysis (time-resolved, variable-yemperature).
  • excellent command of analytical techniques such as elemental analysis, transmission electron microscopy, and powder X-ray diffraction.
  • willingness to learn and bridge knowledge/experience gaps.
  • strong written communication skills.

Interested candidates should send Prof. Rabuffetti (far@wayne.edu) (1) a one-page cover letter detailing relevant research experience, research interest, goals and expectations for the position, and preferred start date; and (2) a curriculum vitae including a list of publications and contact information for three references.

Best wishes to those interested.  

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 118 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 117 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.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Have a good weekend

 

Well, we've made it another week. I've gotten my second vaccine shot, so I'm happy. Have a great weekend, and see you on Monday. 

Lonza recruiting Nestle workers to work on Moderna vaccines

From Reuters: 
Drugmaker Lonza Group , under pressure to find workers to help speed production of Moderna Inc's  COVID-19 vaccine, is recruiting temporary employees from food giant Nestle \to staff Swiss plants making ingredients for the shot, state broadcaster RTS said on Tuesday, citing sources.

Moderna last week blamed projected second-quarter delays in shipments of its vaccine to countries including Britain and Canada on production bottlenecks. read more Switzerland's Lonza is the key supplier of ingredients needed to produce the messenger RNA vaccine.

Lonza, which has declined to comment on any delays, previously said three new production lines slated to produce Moderna vaccine in Visp, Switzerland, could take months to reach "cruising speed".

Now, the French-language Swiss broadcaster said Nestle employees have been enlisted after the intervention of the Swiss government to help fill vacancies.

Pretty cool that Lonza is thinking outside the box to get the job done. Best wishes to them, and to all of us.  

Pool chemical shortage reported

From the Tampa Bay Times: 
...Prices for trichlor tablets, one of the most popular and convenient ways to keep pool water sanitized, has increased dramatically since Hurricane Laura caused a fire last August that destroyed one of the nation’s largest makers of the tablets, BioLab, in the Lake Charles region of Louisiana.

The shortage destroyed a huge amount of dry chemicals used to make trichlor (short for trichloro-s-triazinetrione) tablets, as well as granular chlorine preferred by some pool owners and the quick-boosting granular product known as pool shock.

Prices for bulk containers of the trichlor tablets have doubled for pool service companies since the fire, and some have said suppliers are refusing to sell more than two buckets of tablets to any individual purchaser. Retail prices for do-it-yourselfers have increased sharply as well.

Best wishes for readers who have swimming pools this summer.  

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Job posting: Content Architect, ALEKS Chemistry/McGraw-Hill Education, Irvine, CA

From the inbox: 
McGraw-Hill Education, providers of leading intelligently-adaptive assessment and tutoring services in STEM fields, is seeking an energetic and highly creative Chemistry Content Architect to join its elite ALEKS Chemistry team.  This team is tasked with imagining and building the future of data-driven adaptive educational technology in all subfields of chemistry, developing awesome new tools to rock mid-21st century college chemistry instruction.
 
In this role you will:
  • Assist in a major expansion of ALEKS Chemistry content to support organic chemistry instruction, as well as assist in the continued improvement of ALEKS Chemistry content that assist instruction in  general, introductory, and GOB chemistry. 
  • You'll design chemistry instructional and assessment content that fits within the ALEKS AI paradigm and course curricula, and work closely with ALEKS platform design specialists, software engineers, and quality-control teams to get it into production.  
  • You may direct and manage the work of junior ALEKS Chemistry colleagues and/or academic consultants.
  • Assist McGraw-Hill product implementation managers in delivering best-in-class implementation support to instructors using ALEKS products.
  • Help design other aspects of ALEKS Chemistry products, including designing curricula that match instructor needs, creating innovative and effective instructional materials, and designing new problem types, answer-input tools, and grading algorithms. - - You will also participate in market research and new product development planning with senior management.
  • Be actively involved with the chemistry education community, attend meetings and conferences, gives presentations and talks, and generally keep abreast of developments in the field of chemistry education, and provide expert perspective and advice on these to senior management.
Education requires a Ph.D. in organic chemistry (from a first-rank institution), with a 5 years of teaching experience (non-TA). Salary is 90-120k. Click here for more details. 

Additional comments: "...We do intend to try to break interesting new ground in organic chemistry instruction, and we have a large and steadily growing customer base who are eager for our product. The work is substantial, but I think the intellectual challenge is stimulating, and the group dynamics very positive."

Interested? E-mail Christopher Grayce at christopher.grayce@aleks.com

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

C&EN coverage of the Xiaorong You conviction

From C&EN's Craig Bettenhausen, coverage of the Xiaorong You case:  

Xiaorong (Shannon) You, formerly a senior R&D chemist at Coca-Cola and Eastman Chemical, was convicted last week in Greeneville, Tennessee, of stealing trade secrets related to bisphenol A (BPA)–free beverage can liners. Prosecutors say You took intellectual property valued at $120 million from Coca-Cola and seven chemical companies, intending to give it to a Chinese polymer firm in exchange for an ownership stake and cash payments.

You, 59, was a principal engineer for global research at Coca-Cola from December 2012 through August 2017, when Coca-Cola fired her. She went to work for Eastman the following month. Eastman fired her in June 2018 and recovered a hard drive at her home containing trade secrets from Eastman, Coca-Cola, AkzoNobel, BASF, Dow, PPG Industries, Toyochem, and Sherwin-Williams.

During You’s employment at Coca-Cola, the beverage maker was testing BPA-free can liners from several chemical and coatings companies. Some were epoxies made without BPA, like Sherwin-Williams’s valPure V70, which uses tetramethyl bisphenol F. Others were based on polyolefins and other types of plastic.

Because she was deemed a flight risk, she's been in prison since February 14, 2019. That's a long time to be in prison, and it seems likely she'll be spending even more time. 

Chemical Activity Barometer up 0.7% in March

From the American Chemistry Council: 

WASHINGTON (April 27, 2021) – The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), a leading economic indicator created by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), rose 0.7% in April on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis following a 1.1% increase in March and a 0.9% gain in February. On a year-over-year (Y/Y) basis, the barometer rose 12.0% in April (3MMA).

The unadjusted data show a 0.3% increase in April following a 1.4% gain in March. The diffusion index reached 100% in April. The diffusion index marks the number of positive contributors relative to the total number of indicators monitored. The CAB reading for March was revised downward by 0.35 points and the reading for February was revised downward by 0.58 points. The April data are provisional and subject to revision.

“The latest CAB reading is consistent with solid expansion of commerce, trade and industry,” said Kevin Swift, chief economist at ACC.

In April, production-related indicators were positive. Trends in construction-related resins and related performance chemistry were solid, indicative of robust gains in this sector. Resins and chemistry used in other durable goods were strong, reflecting growing orders for light vehicles, furniture, capital equipment, consumer electronics and other durable goods. Plastic resins used in packaging and for consumer and institutional applications were positive, a mark of rising consumer spending. Performance chemistry for industry was largely positive, reflecting strength in manufacturing. U.S. exports were positive. Equity prices showed further gains. Product and input prices were positive, as were inventory and other supply chain indicators.

Good news that the broader economy continues to do all right. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The 2021 Faculty Jobs List: 333 research/teaching positions and 63 teaching faculty positions

 The 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 327 research/teaching positions and 63 teaching assistant professor positions.

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

In 2020-2021, 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." We are adding community college positions if they explicitly offer tenure.

On April 28, 2020, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 556 research/teaching positions and 80 teaching faculty 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?  This will the the home of the seventh open thread, which opened on April 20 at 6 AM Eastern.

Don't forget to click on "load more" below the comment box for the full 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: 117 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 117 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, April 26, 2021

Moderna's manufacturing partner Lonza is having troubles with staffing

From a Reuters interview with the CEO of Moderna about the CMO they're partnered with: 
Bancel, asked about shortages of workers at the Lonza factory at Visp in the Swiss canton of Valais, which has a licence to make ingredients for its COVID-19 vaccine, but was confident that Lonza would close the gap there soon.

He also said that Moderna was in talks with the COVAX vaccine-sharing facility which is providing doses to lower income countries, adding: "I hope we are in the final stretch to get an agreement with COVAX."

I'm not surprised that Lonza is having a difficult time staffing its facility. Vaccine manufacturing at Lonza has gotta be very high pressure, and CMOs aren't really known for their great pay*. I suspect that Moderna is asking Lonza to expand, and Lonza is having an understandably tough time keeping pace. 

*see update

UPDATE: Via Anon042620211216PM: 

The pay is very competitive, given that they are located somewhat remote (awesome if your into mountaineering though). The major issue at this point is Swiss immigration law, which is based on fixed yearly quotas for foreigners and which has been maxed out rather quickly as you can guess. They are trying to cut the red tape but these sort of things take time anywhere in the world.

Makes sense.  

An NDA for fire response? That's kinda odd

Well, this is a little unusual: 
COUSHATTA, La. – Federal investigators are now looking into an explosion at a Red River Parish plant Thursday afternoon that left two workers burned. 

Juan Rodriguez, deputy regional director for the U.S. Department of Labor, said Friday afternoon that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the explosion at ADA Carbon Solutions. No additional details could be released since it's an ongoing investigation, he said. 

Other than confirmation of an explosion and injured workers, not much more information was available by anyone else contacted by KTBS. 

The Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office confirmed there were injuries in the blast at the plant located on Red River Mine Road east of state Highway 1. KTBS requested additional details but have yet to hear back from the sheriff's office.

Acting Red River Parish Fire Chief Jeremy Neal said his firefighters responded to a call at the plant and there were “a few” injuries. Firefighters were on the scene for four hours. No firefighters were injured.

However, Neal said he was prohibited from providing detailed information about what happened because of a confidentiality contract signed by the previous fire chief. The contract, which he said other area fire districts also signed, prevents the fire district from talking about what goes on on ADA Carbon Solutions’ property.

Bienville Parish Fire District Wards 4&5 also responded for mutual aid but likewise are bound by the same confidentiality agreement, Neal said.

Looks like ADA Carbon makes activated carbon for trapping mercury in coal plant flue gases. I imagine that this sort of thing is hazardous and offers plenty of opportunity for explosions - certainly unusual to have the local fire folks sign a NDA, and it's kind of surprising that they went along with it. Developing...

Friday, April 23, 2021

Have a great weekend!

 

Well, we made it again. One more week until my second shot! Hope you have a great weekend, and we'll see you on Monday. 

Former Eastman Chemist Convicted of Conspiracy to Commit Trade Secret Theft

From the Department of Justice on Thursday, this press release: 
A federal jury in Greeneville, Tennessee, convicted a U.S. citizen today of conspiracy to steal trade secrets, economic espionage and wire fraud.

Following a twelve-day trial, Dr. Xiaorong You, aka Shannon You, 59, of Lansing, Michigan, was convicted of conspiracy to commit trade secret theft, conspiracy to commit economic espionage, possession of stolen trade secrets, economic espionage, and wire fraud. You was originally indicted in February 2019 for trade secret offenses and wire fraud, and was charged in a superseding indictment with  economic espionage and conspiracy to commit economic espionage in August 2020.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, You stole valuable trade secrets related to formulations for bisphenol-A-free (BPA-free) coatings for the inside of beverage cans. You was granted access to the trade secrets while working at The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta, Georgia, and Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport, Tennessee. The stolen trade secrets belonged to major chemical and coating companies including Akzo-Nobel, BASF, Dow Chemical, PPG, Toyochem, Sherwin Williams, and Eastman Chemical Company, and cost nearly $120,000,000 to develop.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, You stole the trade secrets to set up a new BPA-free coating company in China. You and her Chinese corporate partner, Weihai Jinhong Group, received millions of dollars in Chinese government grants to support the new company (including a Thousand Talents Plan award). Documents related to You’s Thousand Talents Program application were admitted at trial; those documents, and other evidence presented at trial, showed the defendant’s intent to benefit not only Weihai Jinhong Group, but also the governments of China, the Chinese province of Shandong, and the Chinese city of Weihai, as well as her intent to benefit the Chinese Communist Party.
Here's the writeup of her 2019 indictment at C&EN (article by Melody Bomgardner): 
A federal grand jury has indicted an American materials scientist and a Chinese national for stealing trade secrets related to formulas for bisphenol A-free coatings. The technology was developed by several companies and a major customer as part of an effort to replace food and beverage can linings made with BPA-containing epoxies because of concerns about human health effects of BPA....

“Eastman takes protection of its intellectual property seriously and we have controls in place to help prevent and to detect theft of confidential information,” Eastman’s chief legal officer, David A. Goldman, tells C&EN. “Those controls worked in this case, and we have been cooperating with law enforcement in this matter for some time.”

You would have thought that there would be more coverage of the trial, but there really hasn't been, and so we don't have a sense as to the strength of the government's case, other than the fact that Dr. You was convicted. The "Money" aspect of Money Ideology Compromise Ego seems pretty strong here. Will be interesting to see what her sentence turns out to be. 

Thursday, April 22, 2021

15 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 15 new positions for April 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, April 21, 2021

Job postings: LumiraDx, San Diego, CA

From the inbox, three positions in San Diego: 

LumiraDx is a medical technology company developing, manufacturing and marketing smart connected diagnostics and diagnostic-led care solutions. Founded in 2014 by entrepreneurs with a successful track record in building and scaling medical diagnostics and health IT businesses, the company has major operations in the UK and the USA, and is supported by a global sales network, LumiraDx is a high growth organisation.

We have recently launched the innovative LumiraDx Platform, and are looking for proactive, experienced, focused and enthusiastic individuals who can make a significant contribution to the continued growth and success of our dynamic and forward-looking company. 

Best wishes to those interested.

Well, there's something you don't see in chemistry

Via Marginal Revolution, this amusing story: 
A McDonald’s in Florida is paying people $50 just to show up for a job interview. But it’s still not attracting many applicants.

Blake Casper, the franchisee who owns the restaurant, told Insider that a general manager and supervisor came up with the idea for the interview reward after he told them to “do whatever you need to do” to hire workers.

“At this point, if we can’t keep our drive-thrus moving, then I’ll pay $50 for an interview,” said Casper, who owns 60 McDonald’s restaurants in the Tampa, Florida area.

I don't have a broader political point here. It is interesting, though, to note that no one is paying chemists to show up to interviews - they just do. I imagine that there is more in it for the worker to work at Forest City Chemicals than it is to work at McDonald's, though. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The 2021 Faculty Jobs List: 327 research/teaching positions and 63 teaching faculty positions

The 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 327 research/teaching positions and 63 teaching assistant professor positions.

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

In 2020-2021, 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." We are adding community college positions if they explicitly offer tenure.

On April 21, 2020, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 556 research/teaching positions and 80 teaching faculty 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?  This will the the home of the seventh open thread, which opened on April 20 at 6 AM Eastern.

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

Postdoctoral position: Synthetic Photochemistry, Brookhaven National Laboratory,

From the inbox: 

The Chemistry Division at Brookhaven National Laboratory has an opening for a postdoctoral research associate in synthetic photochemistry in the Electron and Photon Induced Processes (EPIP) Group. The position is part of the BioInspired Light Escalated Chemistry (BioLEC) Energy Frontiers Research Center (EFRC) collaboration that is led by Princeton University https://biolec.princeton.edu/.

The successful candidate will be trained to perform pulse radiolysis experiments using the 10 MeV Laser Electron Accelerator Facility (LEAF) in the Chemistry Division. This unique experimental technique enables the rapid generation and study of highly energetic, reactive and short-lived chemical intermediates. The research includes understanding mechanisms in photocatalytic cycles, investigating chemistry that can be performed with super-reductants and super-oxidants and measuring redox and spectroscopic properties of short-lived intermediates. The work will be under supervision of Dr. Matthew Bird.

Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

Postdoctoral position: inorganic, Smith Lab, IU Bloomington, Bloomington, IN

From the inbox: 

Job Summary:  

The Smith Lab in the Department of Chemistry at Indiana University is taking applications for postdoctoral research position. The position offers an opportunity to develop the metal-ligand  multiple bond chemistry of low-coordinate base metal complexes. The successful candidate will  synthesize air-sensitive, paramagnetic transition metal complexes, characterize these using a  variety of spectroscopic methods, develop insight into electronic structure and undertake  mechanistic investigations. Motivated applicants with PhD training in synthetic inorganic  chemistry will be considered.  

Experience gained will be relevant to careers in both academia and industry. Trainees will receive  regular guidance to ensure progress is made toward their career goals. Trainees are also afforded  the scheduling flexibility needed to maintain an appropriate work life balance.  

For additional information visit: https://jslab.sitehost.iu.edu 

Department Contact for Questions: 

Questions regarding the position or application process can be directed to: Prof. Jeremy Smith,  Department of Chemistry, Indiana University, 800 E. Kirkwood Avenue, Bloomington, IN 47405,  smith962@indiana.edu. 

Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 


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: 112 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 112 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, April 19, 2021

A complaint about ACS Publications

From this week's C&EN, this interesting complaint: 
I just received an email advertisement from the American Chemical Society, which is now offering Authoring Services, and I have concerns. I am a longtime member of the society and have performed many hours of volunteer service over the years, as do other members. As a freelance professional writer and editor, I feel a level of threat from the society as it offers services that are in direct competition with my livelihood. I know that I cannot be alone in this concern. It is curious how the society touts the benefits of membership regarding employment and career but then engages in activities that may have a real negative impact on the amount of work its members can generate. 

When I was helping as a coauthor of ACS textbooks, I would hear similar concerns from members who also published textbooks. At that time, I was told to inform them that ACS textbooks were created in order to push the text industry in terms of new pedagogy and that it was not the society’s intent to make a significant amount of money on texts. But as ACS strives to generate income in more and more areas that infringe on its members’ ability to earn, I would very much appreciate it if ACS executives could enlighten us and alleviate our concerns.

Carl E. Heltzel
Seneca, South Carolina

This sets up an interesting challenge from the governance perspective. I don't know if Mr. Heltzel would be successful in rallying sufficient numbers of members to petition the ACS Council, but let's say that they did. Could the ACS Council stop ACS Publications from offering this service? Theoretically, I suspect the answer is "yes", but I imagine that in reality, the answer is "no." (I genuinely can't imagine that Pubs gets all that much from authoring services, but who knows...) 

Doxycycline shortage in South Korea due to 2019 Jiangsu explosion?

Via a Google Alert, this interesting explanation of a recent medicine shortage in a Korean medicine outlet: 
Korean doctors are finding it difficult to treat patients due to the shortage of doxycycline, an antibiotic, industry sources said. A local drugmaker stopped manufacturing doxycycline-containing medicines in November because it could not import raw materials, they said...

...The shortage of the doxycycline supply is likely to continue. Industry officials said a chemical plant explosion in Chenjiagang Chemical Industry Park in Xiangshui County of Yancheng in Jiangsu Province led to a burndown of a raw material drug factory in 2019. Since then, the Chinese government has been delaying GMP approval for a renewed plant, they said.

Youngpoong Pharmaceutical said it discontinued the manufacturing of Youngpoong Doxycycline Tab. in November last year. It may resume production in May at the earliest, the company said.

“Raw materials come from China, but the Chemical Industry Park in Yancheng in Jiangsu Province had an explosion, which burned down the raw material factory,” an official at Youngpoong Pharmaceutical said. “To make matters worse, the Chinese government put brakes on the resumption of the plant citing environmental issues, which led to approval delay.”

The official had expected that the factory would win the license in March, but the approval was put off longer than anticipated, he added.

It's surprising to me that the Chinese haven't gotten this plant (or this supply chain) back up and running. (This explosion was rather prominent, and has sent all sorts of odd shockwaves through the chemical industry and into the broader economy.) 

Friday, April 16, 2021

Have a good weekend

 

Hope you're had a great week. Here we are at the weekend - hope you have fun planned. See you on Monday! 

I don't think I'd like to work there

Via Matt Levine's fascinating and hilarious newsletter, this story on an investment firm's perks (?): 

Houlihan Lokey Inc. will offer some workers an all-expenses paid vacation as it seeks to lighten the load for its workers amid a surge in mergers and acquisitions.

“Our team is going to celebrate our achievements with a global getaway,” the firm said in a memo to staff seen by Bloomberg, which contained a link to some of the available trips they could opt to take. “No not all together (after all there is still a pandemic), so whether you choose a secluded beach or a ski adventure or a culinary experience, the choice is yours.”

Houlihan Lokey also said it would no longer allow employees to work past midnight unless there was prior approval from a group head, and the firm promised workers they would get a full 24 hours consecutively each week during which no work would be expected of them.

The boutique investment bank will also offer analysts in the U.S. a one-time $10,000 bonus, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named discussing personnel issues. A spokesman for the firm confirmed the contents of the memo.

A boom in deals has left Houlihan Lokey and its rivals trying to address increasing burnout among young bankers, who are often given the task of preparing lengthy presentations and other materials for client meetings.

 Well, that's certainly generous. Makes you wonder what the typical workload was for their employees...

Thursday, April 15, 2021

43 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 43 new positions for April 14.

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

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

World's Longest Rabbit Goes Missing

Via the New York Times: 
That's one big bunny
Credit: NYT
LONDON — Have you seen Darius, the world’s longest rabbit?

Four feet long and weighing 50 pounds, the heavyweight bunny should be easy to spot. But he went missing this past weekend, and now the police are involved, appealing for information about his apparent abduction from his home in a small English village.

Darius’s owner, Annette Edwards, has offered a reward of 2,000 pounds, about $2,745, for his safe return, no questions asked. She detailed his disappearance on Sunday from her home in Stoulton, England, in a post on Twitter, calling it a “very sad day.” She added that the rabbit was too old to breed now, “So please bring him back.”

A former model turned rabbit breeder who has held four world-record titles for the size of her animals, Ms. Edwards has previously sold Darius’s offspring for as much as £250 each.

You never know what people will steal, but a 50 pound rabbit would probably be tempting to someone. 
 

Strem Chemical sold to Ascensus

In this week's Chemical and Engineering News, this news from Craig Bettenhausen (emphasis mine):

After 57 years as an independent chemical supplier, Strem Chemicals has been acquired by the sodium borohydride (NaBH4) maker Ascensus Specialties for an undisclosed sum.

Strem, based in Newburyport, Massachusetts, is an important source for chemical researchers. It offers a wide range of inorganic and organometallic compounds, ligands, catalysts, and nanomaterials for both the research lab and manufacturing. It also provides custom synthesis of active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Founder Mike Strem and his wife, Ann, tell C&EN that the acquisition completes a circle. Strem started the firm in 1964 in partnership with Ventron Corporation, which pioneered the commercial production of NaBH4 in the 1950s. Strem took his firm independent in 1977.

The Ventron NaBH4 business, meanwhile, went on to be owned by Morton International, then Rohm and Haas, and then Dow. The private equity firm Wind Point Partners bought the business from Dow in 2015 and renamed it Ascensus in 2017...

Despite the corporate history with the buyer they chose, the Strems say the sale is the result of a “lengthy search for a worthy partner” that would share their emphasis on employee well-being and continue to serve customers in the research community well. “They said they want to keep the identity, the global reputation; that you don’t tamper with a good thing,” Ann Strem says.

Glad that the Strems seem to have emphasized this point to Ascensus. Best wishes to the Strems, and to the employees. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

The Chemistry Jobs Scramble: April 13 update

Welcome to the April 13 update for the upcoming 2021 Chemistry Jobs Scramble.

Are you a job seeker? Enter your contact information here. We currently have 74 job seekers. 

Are you an employer? Enter your job posting and contact information here. We currently have 15 potential positions. 

Guidelines (new)

  • Registration will open for one week, starting tomorrow, April 6, 2021. 
  • Registration for job seekers will close on noon Eastern, April 13, 2021.
  • Registration for potential employers will close noon Eastern, April 14, 2021.  
  • We will register both potential employers and job candidates.
  • Potential employers will be required to post a position with an intent to hire before September 30, 2021. 
  • Job seekers will have to attest that they have not accepted a position with another employer. 
  • On April 15 at noon Eastern, job seekers will be offered access to the list of potential positions. They will not be offered access to the list of job seekers. 
  • On April 15 at noon Eastern, potential employers will be offered the list of job seekers. They will not be offered access to the list of potential employers. 
  • There will be no matching - simply the provision of potential openings or candidates. 
  • Access to the scramble will be revoked on April 30, 2021. 
  • This is primarily intended to provide an opportunity for unfilled faculty openings and unmatched job seekers to find matches and permanent employment. Therefore, postdoctoral positions or adjunct positions will not be included; visiting positions of one year or longer will be considered. Industrial positions are welcome. 
Questions? E-mail chemjobber@gmail.com or ask your questions in the comments. 

The 2021 Faculty Jobs List: 324 research/teaching positions and 61 teaching faculty positions

The 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 324 research/teaching positions and 61 teaching assistant professor positions.

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

In 2020-2021, 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." We are adding community college positions if they explicitly offer tenure.

On April 14, 2020, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 554 research/teaching positions and 79 teaching faculty 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 sixth open thread. 

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

Job posting: research associate/postdoc, Reilly Lab, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

From the inbox: 

The Reilly Lab in the Department of Chemistry at Indiana University is taking applications for either a research associate or a postdoctoral research position. Either position offers an opportunity to develop novel bioanalytical methods and apply them to the study of protein folding and the interaction of ubiquitin with proteasomes with the goal of identifying new receptors. The successful applicant will perform cross-linking, liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry experiments and will interpret data with in-house and publically available computer programs.

Experience gained will be beneficial for careers in both academia and industry. Trainees will receive regular guidance that will facilitate research progress and career planning. A background in analytical chemistry, biomolecule mass spectrometry or biochemistry would be advantageous.

Questions regarding the position or application process can be directed to: Prof. Jim Reilly, Department of Chemistry, Indiana University, 800 E. Kirkwood Avenue, Bloomington, IN 47405, reilly@indiana.edu

Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 104 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 104 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, April 12, 2021

Explosion in Columbus, OH paint plant

Via USA Today, this incident: 
COLUMBUS, Ohio — One person was killed andeight others injured Thursday after an explosion started a fire at a paint factory in Ohio's capital city. 

The two-alarm fire started around midnight at Majestic Paints on the city's Near East Side and involved at least one explosion. The paint company has had a history of workplace safety violations, including some with the potential to cause death, according to a federal workplace investigation.

Around 40 employees were believed to be in the building when the fire started. Fire officials said many employees were able to evacuate on their own, however, two had to be rescued by fire crews.

One of them had suffered extensive burns and was reported trapped between a railing and another object until a rescue crew could extricate and remove that person in a Stokes basket, according to fire radio traffic...

This CSB summary is interesting: 

  • A fire and explosion occurred at approximately 12:30 a.m. EDT on Thursday, April 8, 2021.
  • Yenkin-Majestic manufactures and markets industrial coatings that include acrylics, alkyds, coil and powder coatings, epoxies, primers, and urethanes.
  • The incident occurred in the OPC Polymers unit at the Yenkin-Majestic facility. The company reports that it has 180 employees.
  • The company reported the following casualties: 1 fatal, 5 hospitalized and 4 non-serious injuries.
  • Twenty-one employees were reported to have been in the facility at the time of the incident.
  • Incident resulted in substantial property damage, more than $1 million. 
  • A building in the OPC Polymer unit collapsed as a result of the incident.
  • Emergency responders reported that a local resident self-evacuated. No evacuation was ordered by the City of Columbus.
  • Materials stored onsite include maleic anhydride, phthalic anhydride, xylene, and mineral spirits. The company has not yet provided the quantities of the material at the facility at the time of the incident.
  • The OPC Polymer unit was engaged in normal operations at the time of the incident. The material being produced was manufactured in a batch process. 
Hard for me to fully understand what was going on there, and what exactly happened - will be worthwhile following. 

I guess I don't think that paint factories typically explode? Hard to see how maleic or phthalic anhydride would be all that explosive as well. Guess we'll have to wait for the final report. 

Friday, April 9, 2021

Have a great weekend!

We made it to the weekend! I've been vaccinated, which is nice. I hope you have a great weekend, and we'll see you on Monday. 

A scientist's scientist

Via the New York Times, this rather wonderful Gina Kolata profile of Dr. Katalin Kariko, one of the people who helped develop the field of mRNA vaccines: 

For her entire career, Dr. Kariko has focused on messenger RNA, or mRNA — the genetic script that carries DNA instructions to each cell’s protein-making machinery. She was convinced mRNA could be used to instruct cells to make their own medicines, including vaccines.

But for many years her career at the University of Pennsylvania was fragile. She migrated from lab to lab, relying on one senior scientist after another to take her in. She never made more than $60,000 a year.

By all accounts intense and single-minded, Dr. Kariko lives for “the bench” — the spot in the lab where she works. She cares little for fame. “The bench is there, the science is good,” she shrugged in a recent interview. “Who cares?”

By all accounts intense and single-minded, Dr. Kariko lives for “the bench” — the spot in the lab where she works. She cares little for fame. “The bench is there, the science is good,” she shrugged in a recent interview. “Who cares?”

This was a rather charming detail: 

On Nov. 8, the first results of the Pfizer-BioNTech study came in, showing that the mRNA vaccine offered powerful immunity to the new virus. Dr. Kariko turned to her husband. “Oh, it works,” she said. “I thought so.”

To celebrate, she ate an entire box of Goobers chocolate-covered peanuts. By herself.

I sure wish I could send her some Goobers - I'm good for a couple of cases. 


Thursday, April 8, 2021

32 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 12 new positions for April 5, and 20 new positions for April 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, April 7, 2021

Continued bad news at Emergent

Via the New York Times, this news on Emergent BioSolutions, the vaccine CMO that both Johnson and Johnson and AstraZeneca were using: 

But four former company officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they had signed nondisclosure agreements or feared retaliation, described an environment where top Emergent leadership tolerated and even encouraged the flouting of federal standards for manufacturing and marketing products.

One of the former officials said that as the company scrambled to meet the heavy demands of vaccine production, a senior manufacturing supervisor often responded to reports of quality errors by asking: “Do you want me to make drugs or fix issues? I don’t have time to do both.”

That's a pretty appalling statement, if true. Here's more details about the cross-contamination problem: 

The Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines use the same technology: A harmless version of a virus — known as a viral vector — is transmitted into cells to make a protein that stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies.

Sometime in February, Emergent workers had unknowingly contaminated Johnson & Johnson’s viral vector with AstraZeneca’s. The error was not discovered for weeks, until, in one of the final checks before release, Johnson & Johnson sampled a batch of 13 million to 15 million doses’ worth of vaccine for purity.

In short order, top Biden administration health officials directed a hold on shipments from the Baltimore facility and instructed Johnson & Johnson executives to take charge of its operations. Days later, they quietly told AstraZeneca officials their vaccine would no longer be made at the Baltimore plant, to avoid a repeat of that error. 

That is extremely bad news, and the fact that they still don't understand why it happened (i.e. "unknowingly") tends to indicate to me that Emergent doesn't have control over its processes, which doesn't provide me much confidence in their products. It's a good thing Johnson and Johnson isn't relying on Emergent to provide doses for the ongoing vaccination campaign. (It's also really bad news for AZ that their manufacturing efforts are suffering another blow too.) 

Manufacturing problems aren't new. I feel like we have been extremely fortunate that we have been able to manufacture two vaccines that haven't seemed to suffer quality problems (that we know of yet...), and that there are manufacturing issues with one of the CMOs for one of the vaccines is a sign that we're not immune to the law of averages. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

The 2021 Chemistry Jobs Scramble

Welcome to the 2021 Chemistry Jobs Scramble. 

Are you a job seeker? Enter your contact information here. 

Are you an employer? Enter your job posting and contact information here. 

Guidelines: 

  • Registration will open for one week, starting tomorrow, April 6, 2021. It will close on noon Eastern, April 13, 2021. 
  • We will register both potential employers and job candidates.
  • Potential employers will be required to post a position with an intent to hire before September 30, 2021. 
  • Job seekers will have to attest that they have not accepted a position with another employer. 
  • On April 14, job seekers will be offered access to the list of potential positions. They will not be offered access to the list of job seekers. 
  • On April 14, potential employers will be offered the list of job seekers. They will not be offered access to the list of potential employers. 
  • There will be no matching - simply the provision of potential openings or candidates. 
  • Access to the scramble will be revoked on April 30, 2021. 
  • This is primarily intended to provide an opportunity for unfilled faculty openings and unmatched job seekers to find matches and permanent employment. Therefore, postdoctoral positions or adjunct positions will not be included; visiting positions will be considered. Industrial positions are welcome. 
Questions? E-mail chemjobber@gmail.com or ask your questions in the comments. 

The 2021 Faculty Jobs List: 322 research/teaching positions and 60 teaching faculty positions

The 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 322 research/teaching positions and 60 teaching assistant professor positions.

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

In 2020-2021, 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." We are adding community college positions if they explicitly offer tenure.

On April 7, 2020, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 554 research/teaching positions and 79 teaching faculty 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 sixth open thread. 

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

Job posting: instructor, general chemistry, Case Western Reserve, Cleveland, OH

From the inbox: 

DEPARTMENT OF CHEMISTRY, CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY 

Invites applications for a faculty position at the rank of Instructor. 

Candidates must be committed to  excellence in undergraduate teaching, mentoring, and service. A PhD in chemistry and experience  teaching first-year and sophomore-level undergraduate chemistry courses with demonstrated  excellence in teaching are required. Normal teaching loads for Instructors are two introductory courses per semester. For this position, we expect the instructor to teach general and organic chemistry lecture  and laboratory courses with multiple sections. In addition, Instructors serve on committees as part of  departmental service requirements. The starting term of the position is Fall 2021. A letter of  application, CV, diversity statement, summary of teaching experience, class evaluations, and three  confidential letters of reference should be submitted at http://apply.interfolio.com/84428 by May 11,  2021.  

Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested.

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 104 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 104 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, April 5, 2021

Coming: The 2021 Chemistry Job Scramble

Copying the annual Economic Job Market Scramble, Andrew Spaeth and I will be putting together a job market scramble to open tomorrow, Tuesday, April 6 for registration of employers and job seekers. This is an attempt to create a "thick" market for both job candidates and potential employers, especially those who did not get a faculty position this year. The basic contours: 
  • Registration will open for one week, starting tomorrow, April 6, 2021. It will close on April 13, 2021. 
  • We will register both potential employers and job candidates.
  • Potential employers will be required to post a position with an intent to hire before September 30, 2021. 
  • Job seekers will have to attest that they have not accepted a position with another employer. 
  • On April 14, job seekers will be offered access to the list of potential positions. They will not be offered access to the list of job seekers. 
  • On April 14, potential employers will be offered the list of job seekers. They will not be offered access to the list of potential employers. 
  • There will be no matching by Andrew or I - simply the provision of potential openings or candidates. 
  • Access to the list will be revoked after 2 weeks. 
Questions? Ask them in the comments, or email us at chemjobber@gmail.com. 

BLS: Unemployment rate for March was 6.0%; payrolls rose 916000 positions

Credit: Calculated Risk
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that the national unemployment rate dropped to
6.0%, 
and payrolls rose by 916000 positions in March.

The broader U6 measurement of unemployment was 10.7%, down from 11.1% in February.

The chemical manufacturing subsector saw a rise in positions from 850300 in February to 853300 in March, a rise of 3000 positions (seasonally adjusted).

The unemployment rate of college graduates was 3.7% for March 2021, while by contrast the unemployment rate for people without a high school diploma was 8.7%.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Have a good weekend


Well, we made it to Friday. I hope you have a great weekend, and see you on Monday. 

Bad day for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine

Via the New York Times, this crummy news (emphasis mine):

WASHINGTON — Workers at a plant in Baltimore manufacturing two coronavirus vaccines accidentally conflated the ingredients several weeks ago, contaminating up to 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine and forcing regulators to delay authorization of the plant’s production lines. The plant is run by Emergent BioSolutions, a manufacturing partner to both Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, the British-Swedish company whose vaccine has yet to be authorized for use in the United States. Federal officials attributed the mistake to human error...

...The problems arose in a new plant that the federal government enlisted last year to produce vaccines from Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca. The two vaccines use the same technology employing a harmless version of a virus — known as a vector — that is transmitted into cells to make a protein that then stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies. But Johnson and Johnson’s and AstraZeneca’s vectors are biologically different and not interchangeable.

In late February, one or more workers somehow confused the two during the production process, raising questions about training and supervision. In the past year, Emergent has hired and trained hundreds of new workers to produce millions of doses of both vaccines that were supposed to be ready by the time clinical trials showed whether the vaccines actually worked.

Vaccine production is a notoriously fickle science, and errors are often expected to occur and ruin batches. But Emergent’s mistake went undiscovered for days until Johnson & Johnson’s quality control checks uncovered it, according to people familiar with the situation. By then, up to 15 million doses had been contaminated, the people said.

None of the doses ever left the plant, and the lot has been quarantined. 

I'm not surprised this happened - I can't imagine the pressure that Emergent is under (especially if they're manufacturing two of the COVID vaccines). As I said on Twitter, I expect that the root cause will be found far from the plant floor.* Here's hoping the relevant folks there dust themselves off and get back to their important work. Best wishes to them, and to all of us.  

*Bad day to be on the QA investigation team there for sure. 

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Professor Who Fed Graduate Student into Woodchipper Reprimanded

(CJ Press) In an unsurprising turn of events, a professor who stuffed a graduate student into a woodchipper was not fired by his university. The University Office of Impotent Investigations sent two reports to Professor F.M. Jones and the chair of the Department of Chemistry. The reports say the preponderance of evidence shows that Professor Jones did indeed tell a graduate student that he deserved to be fertilizer, and that he then picked up the student and forced him into a running woodchipper feet first. A separate letter sent to administrators by UOII recommended they fire Professor Jones for mistreatment of university property.

After deciding not to fire Professor Jones, the dean of the College of Science sent him a letter sanctioning him for his woodchipping ways. Professor Jones lost his position as the head of the university’s Center for Abattoir Excellence and cannot supervise undergraduates and graduate students for 6 months. 

According to sources, university administration and department heads had differing opinions about the facts of the case, whether the graduate student felt pain as they were pulled into the woodchipper, whether it mattered that Professor Jones rendered a human being into a puddle of flesh, as well as whether firing was an appropriate punishment for this lapse in judgment. In the end, both the dean of the College of Science and the department chair decided differently than the UOII. 

“A simple punishment, like firing, which students often think is what you should do, is not always the right thing. That’s why there are different punishments for different crimes,” the administrator says. “I think that is one of those very tricky cases” in which it wasn’t clear whether Professor Jones should be fired.

32 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 32 new positions for March 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, March 31, 2021

Chemical Activity Barometer up 1.2% in March

Via the American Chemistry Council: 

WASHINGTON, March 30, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), a leading economic indicator created by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), rose 1.2% in March on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis following a 1.0% increase in February. On a year-over-year (Y/Y) basis, the barometer rose 5.5% in March.

The unadjusted data show a 1.2% gain in March following a 0.9% gain in February. The diffusion index rebounded to 82% in March, well above the long-term average of 58%. The diffusion index marks the number of positive contributors relative to the total number of indicators monitored. The CAB reading for February was revised upward by 0.18 points and the reading for January was revised downward by 0.57 points. The March data are provisional and subject to revision.

"The latest CAB reading is consistent with solid expansion of commerce, trade and industry into the fourth quarter," said Kevin Swift, chief economist at ACC.

The CAB has four main components, each consisting of a variety of indicators: 1) production; 2) equity prices; 3) product prices; and 4) inventories and other indicators.

In March, production-related indicators were positive. Trends in construction-related resins and related performance chemistry were solid and suggest further expansion past the weak February home sales and housing starts. Resins and chemistry used in other durable goods were strong. Plastic resins used in packaging and for consumer and institutional applications were positive. Performance chemistry for industry was mixed. U.S. exports were positive, while equity prices showed further gains. Product and input prices were positive, as were inventory and other supply chain indicators.

Well, here's hoping the trend continues and strengthens! 

Chatham, VA Arkema site acrylate drum fire on Tuesday

Via WSLS: 

Arkema, the chemicals company whose Chatham site was affected by the fire, issued a statement regarding what caused the chemical fire Tuesday afternoon.

Officials said it involved the overheating of one of their products, an acrylic building block used in products like coatings and adhesives.

The acrylic building block was stored in drums inside of the building, but when the product inside the drums overheated, it caused a polymerization reaction. That means the small building blocks formed into a long chain of molecules, causing overheating and polymerization in some of the drums nearby.

Arkema officials said they, along with local fire crews, are working to cool the materials to reduce potential polymerization.

(Reports indicate no one was injured, which is great.) Glad I'm not the warehouse manager at this site! 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The 2021 Faculty Jobs List: 317 research/teaching positions and 59 teaching faculty positions

 The 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 314 research/teaching positions and 58 teaching assistant professor positions.

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

In 2020-2021, 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." We are adding community college positions if they explicitly offer tenure.

On March 31, 2020, the 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 554 research/teaching positions and 79 teaching faculty 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 sixth 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: 104 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 104 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, March 29, 2021

This week's C&EN

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

Chemical Safety Board is short on board members

Fifteen months ago, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board issued a final report on two explosions that killed three people in Barbour County. The agency hasn’t issued another final report or safety recommendation since.

Charged with investigating industrial chemical incidents, the board averaged 40 new recommendations annually in its first 21 years of operations dating to 1998. The agency has a backlog of 18 unfinished investigations dating to 2016. The second most recent incident was the Dec. 8 explosion at Optima Belle’s chemical facility in Belle that killed one worker and injured two others.

Earlier this month, the agency released an update, noting it was working with Optima Belle to sample and test chlorinated dry bleach powder. The company was performing a process to remove water from chlorinated dry bleach when the blast occurred in an industrial dryer unit.

Don’t expect the Chemical Safety Board’s final report soon.

The shortest span between a chemical incident in West Virginia and the agency’s final report was the 20 months between a propane explosion at a Little General convenience store and gas station in Raleigh County in January 2007. The agency released a final report in September 2008.

That was before the chemical safety watchdog was neutered by the Trump administration.

Composed of members appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, the board currently has featured one member, Chairman and CEO Katherine A. Lemos, instead of the usual five for the past nine months. The board’s members dwindled one by one under Trump. The former president chose no new members after previous members resigned following his appointment of Lemos in 2019.

CSB seems like an organization that has been deeply damaged over the last 10 years or so, and the Trump Administration didn't seem to help much...