Friday, April 28, 2023

Have a good day

Well, this week turned out better than I thought. Here's hoping that you had a good week, and that you have a great weekend. See you on Monday. 

Charles Lieber is sentenced; no more jail time

Via Chemical and Engineering News' Bethany Halford: 
Former Harvard University chemistry professor Charles M. Lieber was sentenced April 26, ending a legal process that took more than 3 years. Federal judge Rya W. Zobel sentenced Lieber to the time he served when he was arrested, on Jan. 28, 2020; 2 years of supervised release, the first 6 months of which Lieber will be confined to his home; and a $50,000 fine. The sentence included $33,600 in restitution to the US Internal Revenue Service that Lieber paid before last week’s sentencing hearing.

The sentencing follows Lieber’s conviction on Dec. 21, 2021, when a jury found him guilty of tax offenses and making false statements to investigators about his work with a university in China. He was prosecuted as part of the US Department of Justice’s China Initiative, a controversial program that ended last year. Lieber retired from Harvard on Feb. 1.

The sentence is more lenient than the US attorneys recommended. They asked for 90 days of incarceration and 1 year of supervised release, which would include 90 days of home confinement, as well as a $150,000 fine in addition to the restitution to the IRS.

I broadly can't get too excited by zero days of jail versus 90 days, but at the same time, I think this feels a touch lenient. I suppose that this is good evidence that the justice system isn't going to be very hard on professors who get caught lying to federal agents, even as I think we can pretty clearly say that part of the process of being charged with a federal crime is a punishment in itself. 

I genuinely think that the China Initiative was a 100% failure within the criminal justice system. Maybe the tours of academic science that the FBI did to talk about "research security" might have protected some American IP, but the clearly Chinese-targeted efforts by the DOJ and subsequent prosecutions have, in my opinion, harmed American science far more than the value of the hypothetically-protected IP. I'd like to think I could have designed a better program, but putting a bunch of stupid-not-evil Chinese engineering professors (and one truly moronic Harvard professor) through this wasn't what I would have done. 

What would I have done? I dunno, but here's my retrospective program: 

  • Visits to all relevant Thousand Talents professors from federal prosecutors, saying to these professors "pretty sure you filled this declaration out wrong, how about you fix it?" 
  • A thorough tour of academia by DOJ lawyers of top academia, focusing on the actual problem (potential IP theft), and what can/should be done
  • A thorough hardening of American industrial, governmental and academic labs for both cybersecurity and external intelligence threats
  • A diplomatic initiative to the Chinese government, going the opposite direction that the US government did - knock this "stealing IP" stuff off, or we're going to provide one-way tickets to all your top young people. They already come here to study - what if we made it easy for them to stay, and we started our own Million Talents program? 

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Job posting: Sr. Scientist/Principal Scientist, Platform Delivery, 76 Bio, Brighton, MA

Via C&EN Jobs: 

76Bio is seeking a highly motivated and talented Medicinal Chemists to help build a delivery platform to realize the potential of our TPD platform. The individual will be responsible for the design of novel lipids and delivery materials to enable improved mRNA delivery to specific targets. The individual will work closely with the Formulation Science team to develop and drive the design of novel lipid-based delivery vehicles. They will be accountable for the design of screening cascades (in vitro and in vivo) and developing the structure activity relationships of different classes of lipid nanoparticles. They will be an integral member of a cross functional team, providing interpretation of data and contributing to the strategic direction of the project.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Develop the medicinal chemistry strategy and work in collaboration with the formulation scientists to execute on a formulation strategy for testing new lipid components
  • Design and develop novel lipid components and LNP compositions to improve LNP delivery to tumor
  • Manage external chemistry resources for the synthesis of new targets
  • Ensure efficiency of workflows and integration of high-throughput methods where feasible
  • Collaborate with biology colleagues on designing assays to better understand LNP biology
Open to all degree levels; you probably need a fair bit of industry experience. Best wishes to those interested. 

Monday, April 24, 2023

NYT: Chinese scientists are retracting their articles in response to PRC government pressure

Via the New York Times: 
Early in 2020, on the same day that a frightening new illness officially got the name Covid-19, a team of scientists from the United States and China released critical data showing how quickly the virus was spreading, and who was dying.

The study was cited in health warnings around the world and appeared to be a model of international collaboration in a moment of crisis.

Within days, though, the researchers quietly withdrew the paper, which was replaced online by a message telling scientists not to cite it. A few observers took note of the peculiar move, but the whole episode quickly faded amid the frenzy of the coronavirus pandemic.

What is now clear is that the study was not removed because of faulty research. Instead, it was withdrawn at the direction of Chinese health officials amid a crackdown on science. That effort kicked up a cloud of dust around the dates of early Covid cases, like those reported in the study.

...Soon, Chinese researchers were asking journals to retract their work. Journals can withdraw papers for a number of legitimate reasons, like flawed data. But a review of more than a dozen retracted papers from China shows a pattern of revising or suppressing research on early cases, conditions for medical workers and how widely the virus had spread — topics that could make the government look bad. The retracted papers reviewed by The Times had been flagged by Retraction Watch, a group that tracks withdrawn research...

....Journals are typically slow to retract papers, even when they are shown to be fraudulent or unethical. But in China, the calculus is different, said Ivan Oransky, a founder of Retraction Watch. Journals that want to sell subscriptions in China or publish Chinese research often bend to the government’s demands. “Scientific publishers have really gone out of their way to placate the censorship requests,” he said...
To get the full context, it's probably best to read the whole article. Sure sounds complicated to be a Chinese viral geneticist. 

Having read it all, and seeing the evidence of political pressure from the Chinese government on journals, it makes me wonder about ACS journals. I can't imagine what kinds of political pressures they might place on ACS (i.e. it's not like ACS is going to be publishing on COVID genetic sequences), but I'm sure something will eventually happen. 

C&EN: "For chemists returning to China, a mixed reception"

Via this week's Chemical and Engineering News, a story on Chinese scientists returning from the West:(article by Hepeng Jia): 
Chemist Ye Juntao completed postdoctoral studies at the University of Toronto, Columbia University, and Cornell University before setting up his lab at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in July 2019 as a tenure-track associate professor. He recently received a 2023 Thieme Chemistry Journals Award, honors that go to up-and-coming young researchers in chemical synthesis and catalysis.

“As a returnee scientist, I received good funding from the government and university that helped me enormously to roll out my research agenda,” says Ye, who primarily studies organic synthesis catalyzed by visible light. But, he adds, “I have to struggle for other support.”

Ye is one of the thousands of scientists of Chinese origin who in recent years have returned to China after studying at top overseas research institutions. They are finding that it can be tough as principal investigators to recruit enough doctoral and master’s students to work in their labs. Returnee scientists often have to strive to establish guanxi, a Chinese term for a network of relationships.

Most are happy they have returned to China, but the transition isn’t always easy.
It's quite interesting and nuanced - read the whole thing. 

Friday, April 21, 2023

Have a good week

Well, this was an okay week, but I have plenty more work to get done before the weekend. Here's hoping that you had a good week, and that you have a great weekend. See you on Monday! 


EPA proposes banning all consumer and most industrial uses of dichloromethane

Via (among other places) the DCHAS-L listserve, this EPA press release: 
...EPA’s proposed risk management rule would rapidly phase down manufacturing, processing and distribution of methylene chloride for all consumer uses and most industrial and commercial uses, most of which would be fully implemented in 15 months. For most of the uses of methylene chloride that EPA is proposing to prohibit, EPA’s analysis found that alternative products with similar costs and efficacy to methylene chloride products are generally available.

...For the industrial manufacturing, industrial processing, and federal uses that EPA is not proposing to prohibit, EPA is proposing a workplace chemical protection program with strict exposure limits to better protect workers. EPA has received data from industry that indicate some facilities may already be meeting the stronger proposed methylene chloride exposure limits. These proposed requirements would allow the continued processing of methylene chloride to produce chemicals that are important in efforts to reduce global warming outlined in the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act. Climate-friendly refrigerants and other chemicals play a significant role in combatting climate change and EPA’s proposed rule supports continued efforts to reduce emissions. 
For those interested, here is the main page, and here is the proposed rule. 

What I've gathered so far (which could be incorrect): 
  • The proposed timeline for implementation is around 15 months. 
  • This would affect academic laboratories (laboratory use is one of the ten restricted uses that requires a workplace chemical protection program) 
  • This would affect industrial laboratories, as well 
  • Industrial use in the pharmaceutical industry may not be impacted, as pharmaceutical use is exempted from TSCA (page 14 of the proposed rule) 
I'm not an environmental lawyer, so I have no idea how real this is, but it seems like something that is pretty real? Readers? 

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

It's hard to keep a telescope mirror clean!

Via the New York Times, this very amusing column: 
Few things in science appear to be as delicate or precarious as the giant mirrors at the hearts of modern telescopes. These mirrors — doughnuts of glass meters in diameter, weighing tons and costing millions of dollars — are polished within a fraction of a wavelength of visible light into the precise concavity required to gather and focus starlight from the other end of the universe.

When not at work, they are sheltered in lofty domes that protect them from the distortions of humidity, wind and changes in temperature. But this cannot shield them from all the vicissitudes of nature and humanity, as I was reminded on a recent visit to the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile.

As my hosts showed off one of their prized telescope mirrors — 20 feet of shiny, immaculately curved aluminum-coated glass — I couldn’t help noticing a small, suspicious smudge. It looked like the kind of smear you might find on your windshield in the morning, especially if you had parked under a tree.

“Birds,” one astronomer grumbled when asked what it was.

Do read the article, which has all kinds of details of objects damaging telescope mirrors.  

Where did the vinyl chloride come from?

Via the New York Times, these details as to the supply chain of the vinyl chloride train: 
When a freight train carrying more than 100,000 gallons of hazardous chemicals derailed and burned in East Palestine, Ohio, this year, it set off a panic over rail safety and the toxic fallout for communities downwind.

But less has been known about the origins of the chemicals themselves and their intended destination.

Much of the train’s vinyl chloride freight — which was ultimately incinerated by emergency responders to avert a wider explosion — came from a chemicals plant in La Porte, just outside Houston, Texas, that is run by OxyVinyls, the chemical arm of Occidental Petroleum, according to the shipment records released by the Environmental Protection Agency. The chemicals were on a 1,600-mile journey to an Oxy plant in Pedricktown, N.J., that makes plastic used in PVC flooring.

The details of the cargo were included in an administrative order filed last month by the E.P.A. that was based on shipment data provided by Oxy and other shippers. Oxy had more than 700,000 pounds of vinyl chloride on the train that derailed, the records show. An E.P.A. official on Monday confirmed the accuracy of the information.

It's surprising to me that Oxy does not have the PVC plant in Texas rather than New Jersey, especially since the logistics has got to add to the cost of the product. Well, something tells me that the railroads will start charging Oxy more and more to carry this material...

Monday, April 17, 2023

DOJ charges Chinese chemical manufacturers for shipping fentanyl precursors to Mexico

Via Reuters: 
April 14 (Reuters) - The United States has charged leaders of the Mexico-based Sinaloa Cartel with running a fentanyl trafficking operation fueled by Chinese chemical and pharmaceutical companies, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said on Friday....

,,,Prosecutors also charged four owners of Chinese companies that allegedly provided precursor chemicals to the cartel.

The U.S. Treasury Department on Friday also slapped sanctions on China-based chemical companies Wuhan Shuokang Biological Technology Co Ltd and Suzhou Xiaoli Pharmatech Co Ltd.
On or about March 10, 2023, YAQIN WU, a/k/a "Lily," the defendant, told a buyer of fentanyl precursosrs, "What you want is a drug, not a normal product, and the normal time for delivery is about 7 days... This cargo is so special that the freight forwarder also needs to carefully disguise it."
Seems bad! Via the Treasury Department, here's the actual problematic compound: 
In 2021, PRC-based chemical company Suzhou Xiaoli Pharmatech Co., Ltd (苏州小栗医药科技有限公司) (SXPC) shipped 25 kilograms of N-BOC-4-Piperidone (CAS No.: 79099-07-3), a fentanyl precursor chemical to Guadalajara, Mexico with an ultimate destination in Sinaloa, Mexico. At the time of the N-BOC-4-Piperidone sale, the SXPC sales representative was aware that it would be used for the purpose of aiding in the manufacturing of illicit fentanyl and/or fentanyl pills. The SXPC sales representative additionally noted that SXPC was a supplier of fentanyl precursor chemicals for Mexico-based narcotics traffickers.
Who knew drug compounds were BOC-protected? 

FT: chemical engineering prof says ChatGPT will allow access to 'dangerous chemistry'

Via Insider, an interview with a professor of chemical engineering at the Financial Times: 
One professor hired by OpenAI to test GPT-4, which powers chatbot ChatGPT, said there's a "significant risk" of people using it to do "dangerous chemistry" – in an interview with the Financial Times published on Friday.  

Andrew White, an associate professor of chemical engineering at the University of Rochester in New York state, was one of 50 experts hired to test the new technology over a six-month period in 2022. The group of experts – dubbed the "red team" – asked the AI tool dangerous and provocative questions to examine how far it can go.

White told the FT that he asked GPT-4 to suggest a compound that could act as a chemical weapon. He used "plug-ins" – a new feature that allows certain apps to feed information into the chatbot – to draw information from scientific papers and directories of chemical manufacturers. The chatbot was then able to find somewhere to make the compound, the FT said. 

I genuinely can't be very excited about this, since I can think of various places where you can find procedures to manufacture explosives in the open chemical literature. I guess if you can type "how to make (bad things)" into chatGPT, it makes it a lot easier. I still can't get very excited about this, because you still have to get the precursors... 

Friday, April 14, 2023

Have a good weekend

This was a stressful week, even as it was pretty chill in parts. Here's hoping you had a great week and Got Stuff Done, and that you have a good weekend. See you on Monday! 


The history of PV solar cells

Via the Substack "Construction Physics": 
...In 1881, American inventor Charles Fritts used this discovery to build the world’s first solar PV cell. Fritt’s cell consisted of a thin layer of selenium on top of a copper plate, covered with semitransparent gold leaf. Fritts found that when exposed to light, his cell could produce a current “that is continuous, constant, and of considerable force”.

Fritts showed his invention to famous inventor and industrialist Werner von Siemens, who encouraged other scientists to explore the potential of solar generated electricity. But Fritts’ selenium solar panels were incredibly inefficient, converting less than 1% of the light’s energy into electricity. Development of light-sensitive selenium panels continued (they later became popular as light meters for cameras), but selenium PV cells were never widely used as a source of electricity.

For a dumb organic chemist, this was a pretty good read. Enjoy!  

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Job posting: senior organic chemist, Holocene, Knoxville, TN

Via random clicking, Holocene (Knoxville, TN) is a startup looking for an organic chemist to perform carbon capture research: 

...we are seeking a Senior Organic Chemist focused on Carbon Removal to lead R&D and optimization for our organic chemistry derived DAC system.


  • Lead chemistry optimization for a novel direct air capture process
  • Analyze existing synthesis pathways for the materials used in our process and discover new ones
  • Diagnose and find mitigation measures for technical risks related to the chemistry
  • Work with external partners to produce necessary reactants at scale
  • Investigate the costs, carbon footprint, energy, and materials consumption for our reactants

Qualifications and Skills:

  • PhD in Chemistry
  • 4+ years of work experience as an analytical organic chemist
  • Experience leading experiments in a laboratory environment
  • Knowledge of process chemistry and chemicals supply chain
  • Management and mentorship abilities
Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Dick Zare calls for investigation into C&EN during Spring ACS meeting

Pretty remarkable statement during the recent Rudy Baum symposium at the Spring ACS meeting in Indianapolis. I can't imagine that there will actually be an independent investigation (by whom?) of what transpired within C&EN, but it is notable nonetheless. 

Someone stole a really big gold coin

AKA a really cool article about both a heist and the purity of gold: 
The idea for the Big Maple Leaf coin formed as the RCM was launching a new series of pocket-sized coins made of 99.999 percent pure gold, often referred to as “five nines pure.” Raw gold is typically muddied with other elements like silver, aluminum, or zirconium, and needs to be processed so that there are less than ten parts per million of other elements. The typical standard is four nines. That extra decimal represents hundreds of thousands of dollars of additional value, and a source of technical pride for an organization like the RCM.

But the RCM wanted to signal a little more to the world, to draw attention to the new line of coins. In 2004, the Austrian Mint had created what was at that time the world’s biggest coin: a 31 kg coin made of 99.99 percent pure gold. In doing so, Austria hadn’t issued a direct challenge, but because there is an unofficial rivalry between international mints, they might just as well have. What if the RCM combined one accomplishment with another? What if they created a big, 99.999 percent pure coin? Really big. Big enough to draw attention.

 Read the whole thing, it's fascinating. 

Monday, April 10, 2023

A minor rantlet about LinkedIn connecting

In last week's C&EN, this comment about social media and LinkedIn-based networking: 

Friend. For people you know and trust, you can move up a level and connect with them on LinkedIn. This is a two-way relationship, in which you each have value to share with the other. Once you connect, you should put in the time and effort to maintain the relationship—build up a conversation (and trust). The best long-term relationships are mutually beneficial and are developed before you actually need something from the other person. This means you can’t add too many people too fast or it will be challenging to keep up with all of them.

I have to say that I agree with this advice. I find it irritating when people attempt to connect with me without any idea as to who they are, especially when I get the generic "X would like to connect with you" message without any added context. I find it especially irritating when salespeople use the connect function to sell me products or services. 

(My work pays for LinkedIn Premium*, and its sole useful product is "InMail", which allows you to contact non-connections.) 

(*if you're a job seeker, it is not worth the price.)  

Congressperson: government could use DPA to require 3M to manufacture PFAS

Via the Minnesota Reformer: 
Although 3M has said it plans to stop making toxic chemicals that have polluted the world, the U.S. Department of Defense is so reliant upon them the company may not have a choice.

Minnesota Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum, ranking member of the U.S. House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, said until alternatives are found, the chemicals will need to continue to be used in microelectronic production, which has “national security implications.” And she suggested the federal government could require 3M to continue making the chemicals for essential uses under tightly controlled regulation, but she hopes that’s not necessary....

Elsewhere in the article, Rep. McCollum suggests that the Defense Production Act will come into play. It seems rather unlikely to me that the government can force 3M to continue production, but I suspect we're going to see unusual applications of the DPA in the next few years...

Friday, April 7, 2023

Have a good week

Well, this was a pretty kooky week, but it's Friday and the weekend is coming. Here's hoping you had a good week, and a great weekend. We'll see you on Monday. 

Blue days

And now for something very different. I like reading about other people's jobs (no surprise), and this writeup of the life of a woman long-haul trucker by Meg Bernhard was very interesting: 
...When I returned from the walk, Jess drove us to the facility for her 6 PM appointment. The day before, she’d picked up a load of picture frames from a small warehouse in Elkton, Kentucky, a town whose roads were hardly wide enough for a big rig. “This will be interesting,” she’d said, turning her wheel to the right and careening the truck onto a narrow two-lane road lined with red-brick homes and trim lawns, her fifty-three-foot trailer veering precariously. 
At the warehouse, a stooping man with shocking blue eyes gave us a tour of the long, mostly empty garage, its walls lined with stacks of boxes and palettes. “I do Lowe’s,” he said. “Also Walmart.” He’d started out working as a janitor for the company, then purchased it himself. A few years ago, he sold it for $3.8 million so he could retire but swiftly bought it back to save twenty-five employees from termination. “It’s a parable,” Jess said when we returned to the Black Widow.

I found this bit particularly poignant: 

Trucking saved her, she said, but she still got lonely. Solitude became its own source of claustrophobia. “I have blue days,” Jess said. “If I slammed my truck into a mountain, would anyone notice? Does anyone know I’m out here?”

...On blue days, Jess went through her phone’s contact list and called and called. If no one answered, she screamed.

I had a cell phone in grad school, but I didn't really call very many people on it. Makes you wonder if I would have been more social or less social in grad school if I had one... 

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Job posting: organic chemistry patent attorney, Hamilton Brook Smith Reynolds, Boston, MA

From C&EN Jobs: 
Hamilton Brook Smith Reynolds, an intellectual property boutique with offices in Boston and Concord, Massachusetts, seeks a Patent Agent for its Life Sciences team. Candidates should be capable of working on all matters involving small molecules, and have experience drafting and prosecuting patent applications, conducting patent validity, non-infringement and freedom-to-operate analyses and supporting due diligences related to small molecule pharmaceuticals. Successful candidates will also have outstanding writing and interpersonal skills, as well as strong academic credentials. A Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry or related discipline and registration with the USPTO are required.
At HBSR, you will be an integral part of a dynamic, highly-respected IP practice. You will build strong relationships with colleagues and clients, and contribute to deeply meaningful and interesting work in a collaborative team environment.  You will also have the opportunity to work remotely. 

To apply, please send your resume, cover letter, a writing sample and transcripts to

Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested.  

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

The 2023 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 618 research/teaching positions and 75 teaching positions

The 2023 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 618 research/teaching positions and 75 teaching positions. 

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

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

On April 5, 2022, the 2022 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 584 research/teaching positions and 106 teaching faculty positions. On April 6, 2021, the 2021 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 322 research/teaching positions and 60 teaching faculty positions. 

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

Job posting: Full-Time Lecturer, Department of Chemistry, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH

From the inbox: 
We invite applications for full-time lecturer positions starting in Fall 2023. Initial appointment is for one year with possible renewal for additional one-year terms. We are seeking candidates that are committed to excellence in undergraduate teaching, mentoring and service.  We are also seeking candidates that are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment. 

Candidates with a PhD in chemistry and demonstrated excellence in teaching college-level chemistry courses in physical, organic or bio-analytical chemistry are strongly encouraged to apply.

A normal teaching load for lecturers is two courses per semester. The expectation for these positions is to teach a combination of physical, organic or bio-analytical lecture and laboratory courses with multiple sections.

To apply, please submit a letter of application, CV, summary of teaching experience, diversity statement and three confidential letters of reference via Interfolio by April 10, 2023. 

The diversity statement should address a) How a candidate’s teaching, and/or service have contributed to diversity, equity and inclusion within their scholarly field(s) and/or how their individual and/or collaborative efforts have promoted structural justice inside and outside institutions of higher learning. This statement should also reflect on the ways in which the candidate’s continued efforts will foster a culture of diversity, pluralism, and individual difference at Case Western Reserve University into the future. 

Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested.  

Job posting: 2 visiting chemistry/biochemistry positions, St. Mary's College of Maryland, St. Mary's City, MD

From the inbox: 
The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at St. Mary's College of Maryland is accepting applications for two Visiting Assistant Professors of Chemistry/Biochemistry appointments, beginning August 2023. Each of these appointments will be of a duration of up to 2 years.  Teaching responsibilities will include lower-level required courses as well as upper-level electives. Additionally, the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry faculty are committed to creating a respectful community of educators and scholars and seek colleagues who are eager to nurture and support growth of students, staff, and faculty, including BIPOC, LGBTQ+, first generation and international community members, as well as community members with disabilities, among others.

Qualifications: Applicants must have a Ph.D. in chemistry, biochemistry, or related fields and be committed to excellence in undergraduate teaching. Priority will be given to candidates with expertise in any of the following areas: analytical chemistry, biochemistry, chemical education, or organic chemistry. The successful candidate must produce the necessary documentation to legally work in the U.S. upon hire. Employment will be contingent upon successful completion of a criminal background check and proof of COVID-19 vaccination, medical and religious exemptions will be considered.

Non-sectarian since its founding, St. Mary's College of Maryland, a public Carnegie Baccalaureate, Arts and Sciences institution located in St. Mary's City, 70 miles southeast of Washington, D.C., has been designated as Maryland's public honors college. With selective admissions policies, academically talented students, and a rigorous curriculum, we offer a small college experience similar to that found at exceptional private colleges. The quality of life is enhanced by the recreational opportunities of the Chesapeake region and by our proximity to Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. Full-time visiting faculty are eligible for a range of the College's professional development programming for academics, and use of our department’s excellent instrumentation for teaching and research. 

St. Mary's College ( embodies diversity and inclusion in its mission. We create an environment that recognizes the value of individual and group differences and we encourage inquiries from applicants who will contribute to our cultural and ethnic diversity. Application materials should include a cover letter in which the candidate addresses how their teaching will contribute to an inclusive classroom, curriculum vitae (including e-mail address), statement of teaching philosophy, statement of research interests, and evidence of teaching effectiveness (if available). In support of inclusive hiring practices, for all SMCM faculty searches initiated after February 15, 2023, the College will request three professional references (rather than letters of recommendation) at the time of application. Of these three references, at least one should speak to the candidate's disciplinary expertise and at least one should have seen the candidate deliver or design classroom instruction. References will be contacted only for candidates who advance to finalist interviews. Applications are being accepted online at:  Questions may be directed to Dr. Kelly Y. Neiles, Department Chair.

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the positions are filled. St. Mary's College of Maryland is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.

Employment will be contingent upon successful completion of a criminal background check and proof of COVID-19 vaccination, medical and religious exemptions will be considered.

St. Mary’s College of Maryland is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.

Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested.  

Job posting: Lecturer in Chemistry and Biochemistry, UC Santa Barbara

From the inbox: 
The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, Santa Barbara, invites applications for a pool of qualified lecturers to teach biochemistry laboratory courses in the 2023-2024 academic year with potential to include summer 2023. Screening of applicants is ongoing and will continue as needed. The availability of positions varies from quarter to quarter, depending on the needs of the department. Percent appointments my vary, up to 100%.

...The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested.  

Monday, April 3, 2023

El Pais: Prolific Spanish chemist suspended for double-dipping

Via El Pais: 
One of the most cited scientists in the world, the Spanish chemist Rafael Luque, has been suspended without pay for the next 13 years, according to Luque himself and the institution where he worked until recently, the University of Córdoba, in Spain. The university has sanctioned Luque for signing his studies as a researcher at other centers, such as King Saud University in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) and the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia in Moscow, despite having a full-time civil servant contract with the Spanish institution.

Luque, born in Córdoba 44 years ago, is one of the most prolific scientists in Spain. He has published some 700 studies, mainly in the field of so-called green chemistry, which tries to synthesize products, such as drugs and fuels, while generating less waste. So far this year, Luque has already published 58 studies, one every 37 hours. The chemist has been on the list of the world’s most cited researchers for five years, compiled by the specialized company Clarivate. Institutions all over the world fight to hire scientists like Luque, since one of them alone can move a center up hundreds of positions in international academic rankings, such as the influential Shanghai ranking, attracting more students and more tuition money. “Without me the University of Córdoba is going to drop 300 spots. They have shot themselves in the foot,” said Luque, who attributed the sanction to “pure envy.”

I've not really heard of Prof. Luque, but this is a pretty interesting story. How do you write papers at another institution without your home institution not finding out about it? I feel like there are layers of context I don't quite understand... 

C&EN: "PharmaBlock expands research in Pennsylvania"

In this week's C&EN, this news from Rick Mullin: 

PharmaBlock, a pharmaceutical research and manufacturing services firm, has opened an R&D site in West Chester, Pennsylvania. With 2,800 m2 of laboratory space, the facility includes process and analytical labs, as well as manufacturing suites with flow chemistry, micropacked bed hydrogenation, and solid-state chemistry capabilities. PharmaBlock says the site will enhance its production of clinical- stage active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for the US market. The company plans to add reactors ranging from 500 to 2,000 L for API production in West Chester next year.

I feel like there is more and more API manufacturing than one would expect being built in the United States these days... (I guess the real question is how many cubic meters are being installed elsewhere at the same time?) Well, there's at least a few research and QC positions...