Thursday, June 29, 2023

Job posting: Chemical Process Engineer, Bell Laboratories, Windsor, WI

Via C&EN Jobs
JOB SYNOPSIS: This position requires an in-depth knowledge of the processes to produce the Technical Products.  The Technical Products are small molecular weight organic molecules synthesized by traditional batch processing.  Multiple products are manufactured in fixed equipment.  The position requires a thorough understanding of the organic reactions executed as well as processing using flammable solvents and hazardous reagents and products.  Typical batch processing unit operations are utilized in the manufacturing process – reaction temperature control, controlled addition rates of reagents, extractions, distillations, crystallizations, product isolation by filtration and product drying.

JOB FUNCTION: Optimize chemical manufacturing processes with existing equipment to improve yields and reduce cycle times. Bring online new equipment to improve safety and efficiency of the existing facility and to allow rapid implementation in the new chemical facility to be built.
Full ad here. It appears to be looking for engineers, but it sounds awfully close to a classic process/manufacturing chemist to me. Best wishes to those interested. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

C&EN: Mohammed Yahia to be the new EIC of C&EN

This news (article by Krystal Vasquez): 
Mohammed Yahia has been selected as the new editor in chief of C&EN. Currently an executive editor at Springer Nature, Yahia will join the magazine in the coming weeks.

While at Nature, Yahia helped launch several print and digital publications, including Nature Middle East, which covers science news from the Arab world. Prior to that, he was the Middle East and North Africa regional coordinator for SciDev.Net and wrote for several publications, including Cancerworld, the Daily Star Egypt, and the Swiss National Science Foundation’s magazine, Horizons. He was also president of the World Federation of Science Journalists from 2017 to 2019.

“We are excited that Mohammed is joining ACS to lead the beginning of the next centennial of C&EN,” Albert G. Horvath, CEO of the American Chemical Society, says in a press release. “His experience brings the right perspective to help C&EN thrive.” C&EN is published by ACS but is editorially independent.

The line about "a difficult period" for the magazine is grimly amusing. Best wishes to Mr. Yahia, and to the reporters, editors and production staff of C&EN. We all continue to root for you. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

The 2024 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 15 research/teaching positions

The 2024 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 15 research/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 June 28, 2022, the 2023 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 14 research/teaching positions.

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

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

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 4 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 4 positions. Find an error or have a question? Find an error? Contact @Heatherlec620 or @G_sribala. 

This is the link to the open thread. 

Monday, June 26, 2023

C&EN: Between 2021 and 2022, faculty salaries dropped 2.4% against inflation

In this week's Chemical and Engineering News, this news (article by Krystal Vasquez): 
Average salaries for full-time faculty at colleges and universities in the US increased by 4.1% between fall 2021 and fall 2022, according to a new report by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). But the pay bump was no match for inflation.

When the change in the Consumer Price Index is factored in, full-time faculty actually experienced a 2.4% drop in salary, marking the third consecutive year that academic wages have fallen.

Between 2019 and 2022, faculty salaries saw a cumulative decrease of 7.5%. Inflation-adjusted wages are also 4.2% less than they were in 2008, at the height of the Great Recession.

To explain the declines in salary, the AAUP report points to the COVID-19 pandemic, which contributed to rising inflation and heavily impacted student enrollment. The report also cites the inadequate levels of funding that states provide to institutions.
I can't say that I'm surprised, but this has got to be grim news for smaller college and university professors. 

NYT: the chemistry of mosquitoes and human skin

Via the New York Times, this fascinating story about the chemistry of mosquitoes and humans (article by Emily Anthes):  
For a bloodthirsty, global health threat, the African malaria mosquito, Anopheles gambiae, has surprisingly discriminating taste. It prefers feeding on humans to other animals, is more attracted to some people than others and even then appears to have a particular predilection for feet.

“Despite being quite tiny, the African malaria mosquito has a very powerful sense of smell,” Conor McMeniman, a vector biologist at Johns Hopkins University, said. “And it also can be quite choosy.”

Scientists have spent decades trying to decode the chemistry of mosquito attraction, working to identify precisely which odors they are drawn to and why some people are mosquito magnets. To explore such questions, researchers have often released the insects into small laboratory wind tunnels stocked with used socks or sweat-coated glass beads.

But Dr. McMeniman wanted to better replicate the way that the mosquito selects its targets in the real world. “We really wanted to create a spacious sort of home away from home for the Anopheles gambiae mosquito,” he said, “where we compete multiple sources of human odor against each other to see what they like best.”
I love these biology experiments - they are so cool and so fascinating. 

Friday, June 23, 2023

Have a good weekend

Pretty good week so far; there's more work to be done, but that's all right. I hope that you had a good week, and that you have a graet weekend. We'll see you on Monday. 

Ars Technica: Shredded documents found at cisplatin manufacturing facility in India

Via Beth Mole at Ars Technica, this alarming description of the quality problems at a single cisplatin manufacturer that precipitated the current cisplatin and carboplatin shortage: 

The current shortage was triggered late last year when the Food and Drug Administration inspected a drug manufacturing facility owned by Intas Pharmaceuticals in Ahmedabad, India. Inspectors found egregious violations. Afterward, Intas voluntarily shut down the facility, which had supplied around half of the generic cisplatin and carboplatin in the US.

The stunning inspection report, released in January, leaves no doubt as to why the plant was shut down. In addition to various manufacturing violations, including laboratory and quality control problems, inspectors reported finding a truck 150 meters from the facility loaded with plastic bags full of shredded and torn documents. When the inspector dug into the documents, they realized they were quality-control documents and analytical weight slips.

In another instance, the inspection report notes that an employee, upon learning the FDA inspectors were walking through the quality-control lab, ran to the balance room and "immediately rushed and tore apart balance printouts along with Auto Titrator spectrums and threw the torn pieces into the small trash container located next to the balance. Later, he threw [redacted] acid solution inside the same trash in an attempt to destroy the evidence." The bag of torn, acid-soaked reports was later found stuffed under a staircase.

The FDA has since tried working with other manufacturers to boost production of the cancer drugs and is exploring temporarily importing drugs from China to ease the shortage. But many generic drug facilities already work at capacity, making a boost in production difficult to impossible. It's also unclear how much the imported drugs will help.

Pretty old hat stuff, to be honest. For some reason, this seems to be a pretty common thing to find with certain drug manufacturers. Seems to me that the hospitals and pharmacies in the US have cut the prices for these particular drugs a bit too low, and they need to raise the price to keep some decent manufacturers still in the game...

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Job posting: Synthetic Organic/Bioorganic Chemist, Los Alamos National Laboratories, Los Alamos, NM

Via C&EN Jobs: 

Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in science and engineering on behalf of national security. We are seeking a Synthetic Organic/Bioorganic Scientist to join the Biochemistry and Biotechnology Sciences Group (B-TEK) in the Bioscience Division. In this position, you will support and develop programmatic and R&D efforts on multidisciplinary projects involving the synthesis, characterization, and identification of novel chemical compounds that answer questions in multiple disciplines (e.g., biosecurity, bioenergy, biophysical chemistry, structural biology, etc.). This position will be filled at either the Scientist 2 or Scientist 3 level, depending on the skills of the selected candidate.


Develop new, mission-relevant science programs utilizing sophisticated synthetic organic/bioorganic chemistry skills and assist in the preparation of new research proposals that successfully compete for internal and external funding Troubleshoot and optimize synthetic routes for the synthesis of target compounds and communicate your results through internal reports, progress reports, formal presentations and peer reviewed publications Level 3 Scientists will be expected to contribute to and influence the Division and/or Directorate strategies and directions, provide mentoring, peer review, meeting organization and personal and team scientific goals, as well as develop and implement project management plans for moderate to large projects and serve as a role model for effective and creative technical leadership within B-TEK and the Bioscience Division


Ph.D. in a chemical/biochemical science from an accredited college or university 2+ years of related experience (Scientist 2); 6+ years of related experience (Scientist 3) 

Full ad here. Scientist 2: $99,200 - $164,100/Scientist 3: $119,200 - $201,100. Best wishes to those interested. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

One company, two warring factions

Via Matt Levine, this unfortunate story of a hedge fund that has a schism: 
Over the last 22 years, John Overdeck and David Siegel built Two Sigma Investments into a $60 billion quant-trading behemoth. But behind the scenes, the billionaire co-founders have clashed over the firm’s direction, succession planning and more, people familiar with the matter said.  

The relationship has deteriorated to the point where Two Sigma felt the need to disclose the friction in a March 31 securities filing. In a little-noticed section on “material risks” related to its investments strategies, the firm warned that Two Sigma’s management committee—which includes only Overdeck and Siegel—is having difficulty making key decisions, a disclosure that lawyers, investors and others say is virtually unprecedented in the investment world. …

The executives, who have offices about 30 feet from each other, split their duties. Overdeck has managed the investment researchers, or modelers, usually favoring a hands-off approach. Siegel oversees the firm’s engineers while appearing at industry conferences, often to speak about the future of artificial intelligence, which he studied decades ago at MIT. Each executive has groups of loyalists within the firm.

“It’s two tribes,” said a person close to the firm. …

In recent years, Overdeck and Siegel have rarely appeared together at firm events. They frequently snipe at each other in meetings, attendees said. Decisions get delayed and projects killed because employees assume they won’t be able to get both founders to agree, the people said. 

One person familiar with Overdeck and Siegel described their relationship as evolving over the years “from irritation to Cold War to hot war.”

I don't think I've ever worked in an environment where two senior managers have been in a state of cold war (or hot war, for that matter.) I can't imagine it's very fun, although I am sure that there have been Hot or Cold Wars in my graduate school department or earlier in my industrial career. 

Here's hoping that you're not in the middle of a Work Cold War (or a hot one.) 

Seqens site being demolished in Newburyport

The latest update from the PCI Synthesis site in Newburyport, MA, via The Daily News (article by Jim Sullivan): 
NEWBURYPORT — Demolition of the damaged Seqens/PCI Synthesis pharmaceutical factory has begun, a month and a half after an early morning blast at its Opportunity Way site killed one man and injured four others.

Jack O’Keefe, 62, was killed in the early morning hours of May 4 when an explosion sent a massive vat through the roof of an addition. The company was soon hit with a cease-and-desist order from the city and Mayor Sean Reardon has indicated that he cannot see Seqens/PCI Synthesis operating in Newburyport ever again.

On Thursday, work trucks were seen coming and going at the site, but little demolition seemed to be taking place. However, a spokesperson for Seqens/PCI Synthesis said in an email the strategic demolition of the affected area began a day earlier.

Building Commissioner Greg Earls explained that a contractor began shoring up the building’s addition to make it as safe as possible before it is taken apart.

“They are propping up what could be a defective structure before they begin dismantling it,” he said.

Earls added Norwood-based GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. submitted a full demolition/shoring review with the city, which shows Needham-based JDC Demolition Inc. doing the work.

“The structurally compromised parts will be shored and the obviously affected parts will be removed,” he said. “It’s very systematic and will take weeks.”

The Seqens/PCI Synthesis spokesperson also confirmed demolition should take several weeks to complete and Earls reiterated safety remains of the utmost importance for both the company and the city.
Still no word on what the site was doing that caused so many safety incidents. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

The 2024 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 14 research/teaching positions

The 2024 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 14 research/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 June 21, 2022, the 2023 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 10 research/teaching positions.

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

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

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 2 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 2 positions. Find an error or have a question? Find an error? Contact @Heatherlec620 or @G_sribala. 

This will be the starting open thread for chemical engineering faculty searches. 

Monday, June 19, 2023

NYT: there's phosphorus on one of Saturn's moons

Via the New York Times: 

Enceladus — the sixth-largest of Saturn’s 146 moons — has a liquid ocean with a rocky floor under its bright, white and frosty surface. Ice volcanoes spew frozen grains of material into space, generating one of the many rings circling the planet.

Now, a team of researchers has discovered that those icy grains contain phosphates. They found them using data from Cassini, a joint NASA-European orbiter that concluded its study of Saturn, its rings and moons in 2017. It is the first time phosphorus has been found in an ocean beyond Earth. The results, which add to the prospect that Enceladus is home to extraterrestrial life, were published on Wednesday in the journal Nature.

“We weren’t expecting this. We didn’t look for it,” said Frank Postberg, a planetary scientist at the Free University of Berlin who led the study. He described the realization that they had found phosphates (chemicals containing the element phosphorus) as a “tantalizing moment.”

Well, when the planet runs out of phosphorus, I guess that we can go to Enceladus?  

Friday, June 16, 2023

Have a good weekend

Well, the big things that needed to get done got done. I hope that you had a good week, and that you have a great weekend. I'm looking forward to this weekend, and we'll see you on Monday. 

Plant urban legends

In the comments at In the Pipeline (about a sad story of a Boston-area biotech where a single lab scientist was cooking the results for important assays), this story (which the commenter notes is apocryphal): 
I took an industrial job out of grad school. An old-timer told me about a plant where the foreman of the night shift got better yields than anyone else. Nobody understood why. So they hired a private eye to work as a janitor and keep an eye on what the foreman was doing. Turned out he was peeing into the reactor.

I have heard much this same story, but it was that the operator or the janitor was spitting their chewing tobacco into the reactor...

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Job posting: Basic Energy Sciences Program, DOE, Germantown, MD

Via C&EN Jobs
The Department of Energy (DOE), Basic Energy Sciences Program has announced a job opportunity for a Physical Scientist GS-1301-14/15 position to serve as a Program Manager for the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) and newly established Office of Science diversity initiatives: Reaching a New Energy Sciences Workforce (RENEW) and Funding for Accelerated, Inclusive Research (FAIR).  This position is within the new Collaborative Research Division under the Basic Energy Sciences (BES) Program in the Office of Science (SC) located in Germantown, Maryland.  The recruitment will use the Open Continuous Direct Hire Announcement CY-23-OCDH-1301-11824095-DH which is posted on USAJOBS:

This announcement will be used to collect applications from candidates for this permanent position. Management will request a list of applications to the Direct Hire Announcement on July 7th, 2023; applications submitted after that date may not be considered for this position. You must submit your application, including a resume and any other required documents identified in the announcement, through USAJOBS to be considered for this position. When applying, please indicate your interest in positions in Germantown, Maryland.  In addition to the required documents, you are strongly encouraged to submit an optional cover letter indicating interest in the BES EPSCoR/RENEW/FAIR Program Manager position, describing how your experience demonstrates that you meet the requirements for a GS-14 or GS-15 position, and demonstrating that you possess the scientific knowledge and training required to successfully perform the duties of this position.

Salary is $132,368 - $183,500 per year. Best wishes to those interested.  

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Are you the ill pooper? (Probably not)

Via Marginal Revolution, the most fascinating story you'll read about virology and... sewage you'll read today: 
Marc Johnson, a virologist at the University of Missouri and one of the authors of a recent paper on cryptic lineages in wastewater, believes he has evidence for a single infected individual who likely lives in Columbus, Ohio but works in the nearby town, Washington Court House. In other words, they poop mostly at home but sometimes at work.

Twitter (Marc Johnson): First, the signal is almost always present in the Columbus Southerly sewershed, but not always at Washington Court House. I assume this means the person lives in Columbus and travels to WCH, presumably for work. Second, the signal is increasing with time. Washington Court House had its highest SARS-CoV-2 wastewater levels ever in May, and the most recent sequencing indicates that this is entirely the cryptic lineage.

This is grimly fascinating: 

I do not know of any persistent infections that shed this much virus without killing the patient. (Correct me if I’m wrong).  The closest would probably be HCV, an infection that often ends in liver cancer. 8/

My point is that this patient is not well, even if they don’t know it, but they could probably be helped if they were identified. 9/ 

Well, here's hoping that Professor Johnson either finds the ill pooper, or that he's wrong about this person. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

The 2024 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 11 research/teaching positions

The 2024 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 11 research/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 June 14, 2023, the 2023 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 8 research/teaching positions.

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

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

Monday, June 12, 2023

CSB: Maintenance error caused two deaths in 2021 at LyondellBasell

In this week's C&EN, a summary of the latest CSB report (article by Jeff Johnson): 

A seemingly simple maintenance error resulted in the deaths of two workers, injuries to 30 others, and $40 million in property damage at a Texas chemical manufacturer, according to an investigation and report by the US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB).

The accident took place in July 2021 at the LyondellBasell Industries complex in La Porte, near Houston, in the acetic acid production unit. The facility is the third-largest acetic acid producer in the US. The CSB’s report found that the inadvertent removal of pressure-retaining components of a valve caused the release of nearly 75,000 kg of an acetic acid mixture. The incident killed two contract workers, severely injured a third, and sent some 29 others to hospital.

“Even a simple task can turn deadly if it is not performed properly,” CSB Chairperson Steve Owens says in a press release. The incident involved a common plug-valve system, and CSB found similar serious incidents in which these valves were taken apart when removing connected equipment.

The CSB report urged improvements in signage and worker training and even a manufacturer design change to avoid such accidents in the future. The CSB is an independent federal body that investigates the cause of chemically related accidents; its final report for LyondellBasell was released May 25.

The incident began when a small leak was found upstream from the acetic acid reactor. The company shut down the reactor to fix the leak and perform other maintenance. During the maintenance process, contract workers attempted to disassemble the plug valve, and they partially removed pressure-retaining bolt nuts and a valve cover.

They then pried a stuck coupler from the plug valve, which inadvertently removed the valve cover and plug, releasing a pressurized mixture of acetic acid and other chemicals at a temperature of 115 °C. Three workers were badly burned and inhaled the chemical mixture; two died.

I think most of us don't think that acetic acid is particularly harmful - this is a good reminder that even seemingly innocuous compounds have their hazards. 

Friday, June 9, 2023

Have a good weekend

Well, the thing that needed to get done this week is... mostly done, so I'm chalking this one up as a win. I hope that all is well with you, and I hope that you have a great weekend. See you on Monday. 

FDA official gives an unusually clear explanation of cancer drug shortages

There's apparently a cisplatin and carboplatin shortage, and The Cancer Letter has a great interview with Dr. Richard Pazdur, who is the head of their oncology center of excellence: 
“The current cisplatin shortage followed an inspection and subsequent identification of quality issues at a single company’s manufacturing facility,” Pazdur said. “The company shut down the production line, leading to the current shortage. As a result of the cisplatin shortage, a ripple effect was observed leading to an increased demand for carboplatin and the manufacturing challenges in meeting an increased carboplatin demand. 

“To restore supply of cisplatin, FDA has continued to offer assistance to all five manufacturers on anything they can do to increase supply. In addition, we are exploring temporary importation to help meet patients’ needs during the shortage. FDA has also requested that manufacturers submit data to support additional expiration dating for lots already in distribution that are approaching their labeled expiration.”

Pazdur said FDA’s ability to manage shortages is limited.

“Based on current laws, FDA cannot require a manufacturer to report an increase in demand that may lead to a drug shortage,” Pazdur said. “Appropriately, we cannot require a company to manufacture a drug.

“We cannot require a company to make greater quantities of the drug—specifically, to step-up production. We cannot require a distributor to report on the quantities that are distributed and specific purchasers who may be given priority.

“In addition, FDA cannot require that essential drugs, such as cancer therapeutics, have diversified supply chains such that there is not overreliance on a single facility or country for an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) or key starting materials. However, even when there is more than one manufacturer for a drug, most facilities are operating near capacity and are unable to rapidly fill the void if a manufacturer ceases production due to a manufacturing quality issue,” Pazdur said.

It really feels like there is a problem with generic drugs, the needed volume and their difficulties with manufacturing quality. Clearly, there's not much that the FDA can currently do, but I wonder if there is a place for Congress to provide some kind of incentive to generics manufacturers to keep their quality high for these essential high-volume drugs... 

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Job posting: Medicinal/Organic/Analytical Chemists, Cyclenium Pharma, Montréal, Quebec

Via C&EN Jobs: 

Research Scientist (Organic or Medicinal Chemistry)

  • Design and execute synthesis and characterization of small molecule macrocycles, intermediates and building blocks to support internal and collaborative drug discovery and development efforts
  • Assist in the design of molecules and conduct appropriate synthetic follow-up studies to optimize bioactivity obtained in support of internal and collaborative programs...
  • Ph.D. in Organic or Medicinal Chemistry with a concentration in organic synthesis, including experience with multi-step organic synthesis, with industry experience preferred, or M.S. in Chemistry with significant relevant experience
  • Parallel synthesis and/or solid phase synthetic experience are considered a plus
Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

ACS Careers: don't forget to back up your data!

Also in this week's C&EN, ACS Careers gives us a good reminder: 
Anyone who has ever lost an important document to a software or hardware failure understands the importance of having up-to-date backups of important material. But just as it is with data and documents, it’s important to have backups of business processes and activities. A good rule is to hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

Data and documents. Ideally, your organization regularly backs up important data and documents. If you don’t already know, check with your information technology department to find out exactly which files are backed up and how often. If necessary (and allowed), supplement that system with a backup program of your own. For example, do you keep current copies of important documents off-line, in case you need them when you don’t have access to the network or internet?

Good reminder - hope that you take a moment and double check that your important data is being backed up.  

C&EN: tough days in the German chemical industry

In this week's C&EN, a very thorough article on the German chemical industry after the natural gas crisis (article by Vanessa Zainzinger):

...But the natural gas crisis that has bruised European competitiveness in chemical manufacturing hit Germany disproportionately hard. With a sharp decline in production, disrupted supply chains, and enormous energy costs, firms are considering the possibility that Germany’s days as a chemical industry stronghold are over...

The crisis has been a death sentence for some energy-intensive production lines in Germany. Trinseo closed its styrene facility in Böhlen, and Olin announced that it intends to shut down methylene chloride and chloroform production in Stade by the third quarter.

In Ludwigshafen, BASF permanently closed two of its ammonia plants “because they are no longer competitive,” a spokesperson says. The industry giant is also idling other units there, including downstream nitrogen fertilizer facilities, a caprolactam plant, and capacity for soda ash.

BASF had $3.4 billion in additional costs in 2022 as a result of the energy price hike. “In April 2022, if gas supplies had fallen to less than 50% of 2021 levels, we would have been forced to idle the entire [Ludwigshafen] site,” CEO Martin Brudermüller said in his speech at BASF’s annual press conference in April.

The firm coped by curbing energy-intensive production and cutting thousands of jobs, as well as switching some of its power plants to oil. “Today, we would be able to operate our largest site even if we received only around 30% of the natural gas volumes,” Brudermüller said. “And as of this fall, in extreme cases, we could make do with only around 10%.”

It's hard to imagine that Germany (especially BASF!) will see permanent structural change from this crisis, but it is quite clear that it will be a while before things revert back to pre-2022 normal. Here's hoping things get better. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

The 2024 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 6 research/teaching positions

The 2024 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 6 research/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 June 7, 2023, the 2023 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 4 research/teaching positions.

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

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

Monday, June 5, 2023

C&EN's new editor-in-chief has been selected

In this week's editorial by interim editor-in-chief Michael McCoy: 

Sometime next month, a new editor in chief will take the helm at C&EN, and I will return to my old job as executive editor for our business and policy coverage.

I can’t disclose much more, but I can say that the new editor will work in C&EN offices on the sixth floor of the American Chemical Society’s Hach building in Washington, DC...

Best wishes to them, and best wishes to the entire C&EN team. I hope this is the start of something very good. 

C&EN: Budget deal is bad news for NSF, DOE and NIST

In this week's C&EN (article by Britt E. Erickson): 

Scientific research in the US faces an uphill battle for new funding under an agreement reached between President Joe Biden and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the speaker of the House of Representatives, to raise the US debt limit. The deal prevents the US government from defaulting on its loans until Jan. 1, 2025, but it dampens prospects that federal agencies will get increases in the next 2 years to support science and technology initiatives.

The House voted in favor of the deal on May 31, sending the legislation to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before the June 5 deadline to increase the government’s borrowing ability.

The deal essentially freezes nondefense discretionary spending, which includes funding for scientific R&D, at current levels for fiscal 2024 and allows a 1% increase for fiscal 2025. But when inflation is factored in, budgets will actually decrease. Any increases for science would have to be offset by cuts to other domestic programs.

Congress will also have to pass appropriations bills on time. The fiscal year starts Oct. 1. If the process is not completed by Jan. 1, an across-the-board cut of 1% will be made. 

The deal is particularly bad news for the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Congress authorized, but has yet to appropriate, big funding increases—​$170 billion over 5 years—​for those agencies under the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act in 2022. The legislation aims to boost the global competitiveness of US research and promote domestic manufacturing.

The CHIPS and Science Act provided more than $50 billion to beef up semiconductor research and manufacturing in the US to reduce dependence on computer chips made in countries that are a national security concern. Congress appropriated that money, but not the $170 billion for R&D at federal agencies.

The NSF had hoped to see its budget rise 19% in fiscal 2024 to $11.3 billion, in line with the president’s proposal released in March. The agency’s current budget is about $9.5 billion. The NSF was counting on an increase to support its new Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships, which aims to translate research results into technologies and products.

The DOE’s Office of Science hoped for a 9% increase for 2024 to help fund projects on quantum information, clean energy, and climate science. NIST was looking for extra money to support advanced manufacturing, public-private manufacturing partnerships, and growing the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce.

I guess this deal beats default, but it sure would be nice if we could get stable funding for the scientific agencies. 

Friday, June 2, 2023

Have a good weekend

Decent week - won some, lost some. Hoping that I have a quiet Friday, and a great weekend. Here's hoping that you have a good week, and that you have a great weekend. See you on Monday. 


Best SR-71 anecdote you'll read today

From the New York Times: 
Major Shul piloted the Blackbird for 2,000 hours over four years. He was armed with a personal camera that he used to capture the photographs that illustrate “Sled Driver” and another book.

The Lockheed Martin SR-71 soared so high into the mid-stratosphere that its crew was outfitted in spacesuits, and it flew so swiftly that it could outpace missiles.

“We were the fastest guys on the block and loved reminding our fellow aviators of this fact,” Major Shul wrote.

He often recalled a radio exchange with air traffic controllers monitoring the ground speed of planes within their jurisdiction as his aircraft screamed 13 miles above Southern California: “I heard a Cessna ask for a readout of its ground speed. ‘90 knots,’ Center replied. Moments later, a Twin Beech required the same. ‘120 knots,’ Center answered.

“We weren’t the only ones proud of our ground speed that day,” Major Shul recalled, “as almost instantly an F-18 transmitted, ‘Ah, Center, Dusty 52 requests ground speed readout.’ There was a slight pause, then the response, ‘620 knots on the ground, Dusty.’”

Major Shul and his crew member couldn’t resist asking, too: “‘Center, Aspen 20, you got a ground speed readout for us?’ There was a longer than normal pause ‘Aspen, I show 1,942 knots’” — or 2,234 m.p.h.

“No further inquiries were heard on that frequency,” Major Shul wrote.

 There's always a faster plane, except for if you're the Blackbird. RIP Brian Shul. 

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Job posting: oil chemist, USDA, Peoria, IL

Via C&EN Jobs: 
Research Chemist
Salary Range of $82,830 - $128,043 per year

Announcement Open: May 23, 2023 through June 21, 2023

The incumbent is a Research Chemist in the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, Bio-Oils Research (BOR) Unit in Peoria, Illinois. The overall mission of BOR is to conduct basic and applied research on chemical, physical, and biochemical modification of new crop oils, gums, proteins, and other plant components to develop new industrial and value-added commercial products. The incumbent is responsible for conducting basic and applied research to develop new commercial technologies, processes, and biobased products for various markets including lubricant additives; lubricant base oils; and chemical additives. Incumbent will develop a stakeholder base to advocate for enhancing ARS research programs and to enable commercialization of new biobased products.

U.S. Citizenship is required. For further information and complete application instructions, go to the USAJobs Web site: and refer to announcement number
ARS-D23MWA-11958155-HCL. Applications must be received by the closing date of June 21, 2023.

Contacts:    Application procedure: Heather Lee at or 301-504-1410

Scientific information: Dr. Steven Cermak at or 309-681-6233

USDA/ARS is an equal opportunity employer and provider

Best wishes to those interested.