Thursday, August 31, 2023

Job posting: DARPA Innovation Fellowship, DARPA, Arlington, VA

Via C&EN Jobs: 

What is the DARPA Innovation Fellowship? 

The DARPA Innovation Fellowship is a two-year position at DARPA for early career scientists and engineers. The fellows will develop and manage a portfolio of high-impact, exploratory efforts to identify breakthrough technologies for national security. 

Why become a DARPA Innovation Fellow? 

Fellows will push the limits of existing technology through the rapid exploration of a high volume of promising new ideas focused on answering high risk/high reward “what if?” questions and assessing the impact of further investment. 

Fellows will also have the opportunity to work with DARPA program managers as well as the university, industry, and non-profit performers who work on DARPA-funded research. Being a DARPA Innovation Fellow is a great way to begin a career in the sciences. DARPA Innovation Fellows will have the opportunity to make extensive connections across an extraordinarily rich, technologically-focused network. The fellowship is an in-person salaried position at DARPA in Arlington, Virginia. Fellows will be part of the Defense Sciences Office; however, the fellows will work across disciplines represented in all DARPA technical offices. 

Who may apply to become a DARPA Innovation Fellow? 

Recent Ph.D. graduates (within five years of receiving a doctorate) and active-duty military with STEM degrees may apply to become a DARPA Innovation Fellow. In exceptional cases, DARPA may consider bachelor- or master’s-level candidates with STEM degrees. As DARPA is part of the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. citizenship is required for the fellowship, and selected candidates must be eligible to obtain and maintain a security clearance as well as pass a pre-employment drug test and random testing during the two-year employment period. 

Posted salary is $125,000. Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

C&EN: Show us where you work!

Via C&EN, a fun contest: 

C&EN wants to showcase the diversity of chemistry labs across the world, and across disciplines. Is your building particularly cool? Show us! Do you have something that’s unique to your lab, from a mascot to a fun way of celebrating key milestones? Share it with the world! Is your lab just the equipment that you take with you to work in the field? We don’t discriminate. Show us, and the readers of C&EN, where you work.

Some quick tips:

  • If your photo includes people in the lab, make sure they’re wearing appropriate safety equipment;
  • Including people, or everyday objects, can give a sense of scale;
  • Grain structure is for materials, send us images in as high a resolution as possible;
  • Make sure you tell us who you are and what makes this lab special to you.
Link here. Best wishes to those interested. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

The 2024 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 177 research/teaching positions and 10 teaching positions

The 2024 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 177 research/teaching positions and 10 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 August 30, 2022, the 2023 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 181 research/teaching positions and one teaching-focused position.

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: 27 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 27 positions. Find an error or have a question? Find an error? Contact @Heatherlec620 or @G_sribala. 

This is the link to the open thread. 

UNC shooting

The news from the Daily Tarheel: 
Updated Aug. 28 5:42 p.m.: One faculty member was killed in today's shooting in Caudill Laboratories, according to a campus-wide email sent by Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz. The University will operate under Condition 2 until midnight tomorrow, meaning all classes and campus activities will be canceled. 

It was clearly near/around the chemistry building. Best wishes for the UNC chemistry and APS community. May these shootings stop. 

Monday, August 28, 2023

C&EN: Aurorium to close pyridine plant in Indianapolis

Also in this week's C&EN (article by Mike McCoy): 
The specialty chemical maker Aurorium, formerly known as Vertellus, has informed Indiana authorities that it will close its pyridine chemical plant in Indianapolis. The facility employs about 159 people. Pyridine is used to make vitamin B3 and herbicides such as paraquat. The firm closed part of the plant in 2016, while it was in bankruptcy. It is the only pyridine facility in the US and, according to the Vertellus website, the world’s largest pyridine producer.

Makes you wonder what was driving this, i.e. what product line was declining? Best wishes to the employees at this plant.  

C&EN: Evonik reports negative results

The bad news from Europe continues (article by Alex Scott): 
Continuing a spate of poor performances at German chemical firms, the specialty chemical maker Evonik Industries has recorded a net loss of almost $300 million for the second quarter of the year on the back of weak demand for its products. The firm was also affected by write-downs associated with its methionine and silica plants. Its sales for the quarter fell 19% from the year-earlier period, to $4.2 billion. 

Volumes and prices were down 9% and 5%, respectively, year over year. Evonik’s performance chemical division, which makes products such as superabsorbents, fared worst, with sales down 27% compared with the second quarter of 2022. The company cites ongoing economic problems in Germany and elsewhere. “Germany is in a recession, Europe as well, and the economy in China is not picking up as we had hoped,” CEO Christian Kullmann says in a press release. “Unfortunately, the second quarter showed no meaningful turnaround for our business.”C&EN
This doesn't sound like great news for German chemists? We'll see. 

Friday, August 25, 2023

Have a good weekend

This wasn't a very fun week, but the first week after vacation never is, is it? That's all right, I think I survived. I hope you had a better week than I, and I hope you have a great weekend. See you on Monday. 


Saw the movie (finally.) I quite enjoyed it, but I agree with Jake Yeston on Twitter - there wasn't enough physics. For that matter, there wasn't enough chemistry in it either. But it did a wonderful job of letting us into the mind of Oppenheimer, and it allowed us a sense of the dynamic between the towering minds of the Manhattan Project, and how Oppie was the best one to navigate the decisions. I quite enjoyed Matt Damon's portrayal of Leslie Groves as well. Ran a bit long, I admit. All in all, I'm glad I saw it. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

TIL there is NMP in electric vehicle batteries

Via The Detroit News: 
Well, I've been there
Credit: The Detroit News
Federal regulators are investigating a chemical spill that happened over the weekend at Ultium Cells LLC's battery plant in Warren, Ohio, officials confirmed to The Detroit News.

A slurry containing battery materials and a hazardous solvent leaked over the weekend, spilling a black substance on the ground around equipment in the plant's mixing department, according to photos and video of the incident obtained by The News.

No employees were exposed or injured in the spill, Ultium said in a statement Monday. The company — a joint venture between General Motors Co. and LG Energy Solution — said area mixing operations have been temporarily halted and that it used a third-party company to help clean up and contain the leak.
I was surprised to see the full explanation: 
The slurry contained n-Methylpyrrolidone (NMP), according to OSHA. NMP is a solvent used to dissolve polymer that combines battery materials such as lithium, aluminum, nickel and manganese for use in batteries.
I knew that organic solvents were being used in electric vehicle batteries, but I guess I was thinking it would be more glymes than anything else. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

The 2024 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 141 research/teaching positions and 9 teaching positions

The 2024 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 141 research/teaching positions and 9 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 August 16, 2022, the 2023 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 143 research/teaching positions and one teaching-focused position.

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. 

Job postings: assistant professorships of biochemistry and organic chemistry, California State University, Fullerton

From the inbox, Cal State Fullerton has three openings - two biochemistry and one organic: 

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, California State University Fullerton ( invites applications for a full-time, tenure-track positions in Biochemistry at the Assistant Professor level, to begin in August 2024.

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, California State University Fullerton ( invites applications for a full-time, tenure-track position in organic chemistry at the Assistant Professor level, to begin in August 2024.

Full ads here and here. Best wishes to those interested. 

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 21 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 21 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, August 21, 2023

Update on C&EN news

In this week's C&EN, a sad update to the news about Mohammed Yahia: 
C&EN’s staff learned on Friday, Aug. 11, that our new editor in chief, Mohammed Yahia, had died on the way to the meeting (see page 5). He is survived by his wife and two children. We know he died on a flight from London but not how it happened.
Later in the article, this update as to future directions: 
At C&EN, we have had to quickly regroup, suppressing our emotions to do our jobs of covering the world of chemistry. Our website and this week’s issue are full of stories from ACS Fall 2023. Other editors and I kept the meeting we were going to have with Mohammed and used the time to start charting a revised path forward for the magazine. I agreed to resume my role as interim editor in chief, and we have started anew the process of finding a permanent editor in chief.

We will now make many of the decisions that we had put off while waiting for Mohammed to take the helm. For example, C&EN will make some interim roles permanent and hire several new reporters and editors.
Best wishes to C&EN staff and leadership - this has got to be really tough. 

C&EN: Amyris files for bankruptcy

In this week's C&EN (article by Matt Blois): 
The synthetic biology firm Amyris has declared bankruptcy after months of cost cutting failed to keep the company solvent. Rather than specializing in one activity, Amyris, which sells personal care products, flavors and fragrances, and other chemicals made via fermentation, aimed to both develop new materials and market those products to customers. After the bankruptcy, Amyris says, it will focus on its core competencies: R&D and scale-up of biomanufacturing processes. The firm plans to sell off its consumer brands, though it says that under new ownership those brands will still use chemicals produced by Amyris. 

The company warned investors in May that it may not be able to pay all its bills through the end of the year. It has been reducing spending on advertising, shipping, and staffing. Amyris also sold a portfolio of cosmetic ingredients, including squalane, to the flavor and fragrance maker Givaudan for up to $350 million early this year. But at the end of March, the company had just $17 million in cash and nearly $1 billion of debt.

The first time Amyris is mentioned on the blog is in 2010 - I feel like this company has been around for a while. Best wishes to those impacted by this news.  

Friday, August 18, 2023

Have a great weekend!

It's been a week off for me, so this has been pretty great. I hope you had a great week, and that you have a great weekend. See you on Monday.  

What a ridiculous statement

In the midst of an interesting article about Ozempic and other GLP-1 drugs at the New York Times, this rather risible statement: 

And results from a clinical trial reported last week indicate that Wegovy can do more than help people lose weight — it also can protect against cardiac complications, like heart attacks and strokes.

But why that happens remains poorly understood.

“Companies don’t like the term trial and error,” said Dr. Daniel Drucker, who studies diabetes and obesity at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute in Toronto and who consults for Novo Nordisk and other companies. “They like to say, ‘We were extremely clever in the way we designed the molecule,” Dr. Drucker said.

But, he said, “They did get lucky.”

C'mon. That's ridiculous. I'm not a medicinal chemist, but I've talked to enough to know that most (if not all) of them acknowledge the role of luck in their work. Sure, there's plenty of talk about 'rational drug design', but I think enough folks talk about 'serendipity' as well. 

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Job posting: Principal Scientist, Chemistry, Bolt Biotherapeutics, Redwood City, California

Via C&EN Jobs: 

Bolt Biotherapeutics, located in Redwood City, CA, is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing Boltbody™ Immune-stimulating Antibody Conjugates (ISACs), a new class of immuno-oncology therapeutics that have eliminated tumors following systemic administration in preclinical studies while also developing immunological memory, which may lead to more durable clinical responses for patients. This is a unique opportunity to join and build, with likeminded colleagues, a company that will transform the lives of individuals with cancers.

Key Responsibilities

  • Design, synthesis, purification, and characterization of novel immune agonists payloads for ISAC platform
  • Closely follow emerging results from SAR, pharmacological and ADME assays to contribute to the advancement of lead linker-payloads
  • Troubleshoot and optimize synthetic routes
  • Collaborate with chemists, biologists, and pharmacologists to interpret in vitro and in vivo

Job Requirements

  • Ph.D. in Chemistry or closely related field and a minimum of 8 years of industry experience
  • Aptitude for presentations at different levels, from project teams to senior leadership
  • Mentorship, development, and supervision of junior staff
  • Possesses strong medicinal chemistry bench skills and experience designing and executing multi-step syntheses

Posted salary: $150,000 - $195,000 a year. Best wishes to those interested. 

Monday, August 14, 2023

C&EN: "C&EN editor in chief Mohammed Yahia dies at age 41"

Published on Friday: 

Mohammed Yahia, C&EN’s new editor in chief, died Aug. 10 en route to the American Chemical Society’s fall 2023 meeting in San Francisco. He was 41.

C&EN is published by ACS.

Yahia had started as C&EN’s top editor Aug. 1 and was traveling to his first ACS meeting. He had recently sketched out a vision for the magazine in a video call with C&EN staff. He was in the process of moving from his home in Cairo to the Washington, DC, area, where ACS is based.

Yahia was previously an executive editor at Springer Nature, where he helped launch several publications, including Nature Middle East. Before that, he had a number of jobs in science journalism. He was president of the World Federation of Science Journalists from 2017 to 2019.

Yahia is survived by a wife, Ola, and two children, Zeina and Zakaria.

In a call with C&EN staffers on Aug. 11, Sarah Tegen, chief publishing officer for ACS Publications, said she had spoken with Ola, who told her how excited Yahia was to have joined the magazine.

Sincere condolences to his family, and the C&EN team. 

Friday, August 11, 2023

Have a good weekend

Well, the big thing got done, so I'm looking forward to the weekend. I hope that you had less work than I did this week. I am really looking forward to this weekend. See you on Monday. 

How much pepperoni is sold in the United States?

Via the ever wonderful Matt Levine, this interesting Fermi question: 

A few weeks into his college summer internship at a consulting firm in 2015, a guy (let’s call him Calvin) got his big chance to make a good impression. He was assigned to help a private equity firm assess an acquisition target—in this case, a company that manufactured pepperoni. “I was 21 years old, researching questions I don’t know if anyone knows the answer to, like the market size for pepperoni in the US,” says Calvin, who asked that his name not be used to preserve his current professional reputation.

After two 80-hour weeks of research, Calvin’s peers in the sweaty intern bullpen in an office off New York’s Times Square were ready to present their findings. But he still lacked the crucial number. “I was the bottleneck, and I wasn’t doing a great job communicating to my boss,” he says. His solution? “I found a claim from some executive online that the market size for pepperoni is enough that you could blanket the entire USA with a thin layer,” says Calvin. 

He spent hours putting together and executing a plan. He calculated the area of the entire continental US (3,120,426 square miles). Then he came up with the area of a single pepperoni slice: If the diameter of a circular slice of pepperoni is half an inch, each pepperoni is 0.196 square inches. The area of the continental US, divided by the area of a single pepperoni slice, equals 15,920,541 slices, which he labeled the national pepperoni volume. Finally, he multiplied that volume by price (10¢ per slice, based on his market research) to come up with the country’s pepperoni market size at $1,592,054 per year.

I still love Fermi problems, so I'm stumped at this rather silly suggestion for the problem. Granted, he was 21 years old. (Note that Matt Levine notes that the math is also incorrect and quite a few orders of magnitude off.) 

It's remarkable to me that this person could not, I dunno, talk to some pepperoni or pizza executives, especially in 2015. Surely if you talk to enough of them and get some guesses, you could average them. Or, you could find out the actual revenue/volume of one of the (I'm guessing) 10 players in 'industrial volume pepperoni' and then make some guesses as to their market share. 

I've done a fair bit of "how many tons of this chemical exist in the United States?" this year, so I'm especially fired up to answer these questions. 

(That question about the iodine waste - surely someone has the answer to "how many kilograms of iodine does it take to make a cloud large enough to see for miles?") 

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Job posting: QC chemist, Rhino Linings, Greenville, TX

Via C&EN Jobs:

Rhino Linings QC Chemist supports production activity by accurately testing raw materials or bulk finished goods product, in a timely manner, per established ISO standards, and evaluates data and quality of product to decide release of raw material or bulk product for use in the RLCorp manufacturing processes. 

Major responsibilities include the following, but not limited to:

  • Manages quality control process and manages the overall quality program for manufacturing production, and provides technical support to manufacturing.
  • Analyzes problem situations and decides the proper approach, per RL and ISO methodologies, that will resolve "out of specification" issues promptly and economically.
  • Assists in the development of new products and product certifications in response to needs from the business.
  • Formulates, compounds, prepares, evaluations and tests all new products according to set procedures with the aim of maintaining quality and integrity of product....


  • BS in Chemistry with 5+ years formulating experience in a laboratory setting, preferably working with polyurethanes.
  • Incumbent must have experience in coating products such as polyurethane, polyurea, elastomer and polyaspartic products...

Salary: $70-$90K + benefits. Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Who is putting iodine-laden waste in the trash in Portland, Maine?

Credit: Portland Press Herald
Via the Portland Press Herald: 

The purple-pink plume was first spotted rising from the Ecomaine stack at the Blueberry Road facility on Thursday morning. Ecomaine officials said the issue was fixed within a couple of hours and was believed to be caused by a larger-than-normal amount of iodine in the waste stream.

But the purple vapor returned Friday morning and this time appeared more vibrant against cloudy skies. It could be seen as far south as Scarborough.

Nate Cronauer, a company spokesperson, said workers noticed the purple vapor around 8:30 a.m. Friday and immediately stopped feeding trash into the boiler.

“We’re confident it is purple vapor coming from a source of iodine that came in through the waste stream,” he said.

In a statement Friday, Ecomaine CEO Kevin Roche said, “While we’ve been able to identify what we believe is causing the problem, we have not yet been able to identify the source of where this waste is coming from.”

The company, which generates electricity by processing waste, said in the statement that the incident “serves as a clear reminder of the importance of making sure municipal solid waste is disposed of correctly.”

So I'd really like to know what typical household or industrial solid waste contains a bunch of iodine? Is it film? A bunch of rotten seaweed? 

Monday, August 7, 2023

Illinois cannabis companies in legal battle over chemist, non-compete agreements

Via the Chicago Sun-Times: 
Cresco Labs and Green Thumb Industries have been fierce rivals since Illinois issued its first licenses to grow and sell medical marijuana in 2014.

Now, as the two River North-based firms battle for market share in states across the country, Cresco has filed a lawsuit accusing GTI of poaching a high-level employee who allegedly violated a non-compete clause in his contract when he switched sides this year.

...The lawsuit states that Christopher Tonge, a chemist who served as Cresco’s director of technical services, notified the company in May that he was resigning. He then took what’s believed to be a similar job at GTI. Tonge had signed an employee agreement with Cresco that “barred him from working for a substantially similar company” for a year.

Tonge was integral to developing “a unique process” to extract cannabis oil from pot plants that “helps drive revenue while enabling significant cost savings,” according to the suit. “The process provides such value to Cresco that it has applied for two patents on it, on which Mr. Tonge is a co-inventor,” the suit notes.

Tonge was allegedly recruited to GTI by Matt Ingram, its senior vice president of operations. Ingram previously worked at Cresco and has knowledge of the firm’s manufacturing operations and its contractual non-compete provisions, the suit states. 

Meanwhile, Ingram has been reaching out to other Cresco workers “and urging them to resign to work for GTI, despite knowing that these employees are subject to covenants not to compete,” the suit holds. Cresco CEO Charlie Bachtell even confronted his GTI counterpart, Ben Kovler, in April and warned him that Ingram was attempting to hire “multiple senior-level employees” from Cresco.

It'll be interesting to see how this lawsuit plays out - I imagine that someone thinks they've got a pretty solid case here. 

(I'm broadly against non-compete agreements in that it seems like they're good for the employer, bad for the employee (and I think) the economic understanding is that it's bad for sectors for there to be lack of labor mobility. In this case, it seems like it's reasonable for an employer to attempt to lock an employee in - I guess doing with incentives ('we'll pay you more') is better than 'we're chaining you to us.') 

Reuters: Lanxess quarterly profit dropped by half, considering job cuts, plant shutdowns

Via Reuters, more bad news for the German chemical industry: 

Aug 4 (Reuters) - Chemicals group Lanxess (LXSG.DE) on Friday set out plans to trim costs, including job cuts, and called on German politicians to support the struggling industry after its quarterly profit fell by more than half.

Lanxess, which until recently had managed to pass rising raw material and power costs onto customers, was one of several German chemical firms that have trimmed their forecasts in the past weeks due to still high energy prices and weak demand.

"We urgently need sustainable framework conditions – above all an internationally competitive electricity tariff for the industry," CEO Matthias Zachert said in a statement.

Lanxess, which makes high-end speciality chemicals such as additives, lubricants, flame retardants and plastics, said it would save 100 million euros ($110 million) this year through strict cost discipline and a Europe-wide hiring freeze.

Further measures focusing on reviewing its energy-intensive operations and streamlining administrative structures will result in annual savings of around 150 million from 2025, Lanxess said.

Zachert added in a call these will include job cuts but did not elaborate on the number. The company said implementing these measures would cost around 100 million euros.

The Cologne-based group plans to shut down the hexane oxidation facility with 61 staff at its Krefeld-Uerdingen site in Germany by 2026. The chromium oxide production facility with 52 employees at the same location would be sold or shut down.

 Well, that doesn't sound like good news. Here's hoping that this works out all right. 

Friday, August 4, 2023

Have a good weekend


Well, this is one of those situations where life conspires to make one's life hard, and so I don't think I'll be getting much rest in the next 72 hours or so. But the work needs to get done, and there is no one else to do it. Ah well. Here's hoping that you're not in my situation, you had a good week and that you'll have a restful weekend. See you on Monday. 

Maybe a decentish economy for the rest of the year?

Via the New York Times, this relatively good news:

Good news is bad news: It had been the mantra in economic circles ever since inflation took off in early 2021. A strong job market and rapid consumer spending risked fueling further price increases and evoking a more aggressive response from the Federal Reserve. So every positive report was widely interpreted as a negative development.

But suddenly, good news is starting to feel good again.

Inflation has finally begun to moderate in earnest, even as economic growth has remained positive and the labor market has continued to chug along. But instead of interpreting that solid momentum as a sign that conditions are too hot, top economists are increasingly seeing it as evidence that America’s economy is resilient. It is capable of making it through rapidly changing conditions and higher Fed interest rates, allowing inflation to cool gradually without inflicting widespread job losses.

...Jan Hatzius, the chief economist at Goldman Sachs, thinks the United States will pull off a soft landing — perhaps one so soft that the Fed might be able to lower inflation over time without unemployment having to rise.

But he also thinks that growth needs to remain below its typical rate, and that wage growth must slow from well above 4 percent to something more like 3.5 percent to guarantee that inflation fully fades.

“The room for above-trend growth is quite limited,” Mr. Hatzius said, explaining that if growth does come in strong he could see a scenario in which the Fed might lift interest rates further. Officials raised rates to a range of 5.25 to 5.5 percent at their meeting last month, and investors are watching to see whether they will follow through on the one final rate move that they had earlier forecast for 2023.

I have genuinely no idea how the economy will look, especially for chemists this fall. It's obviously my hope that there are sufficient openings for chemists of all levels, and also plenty of wage growth. My guess that fall 2023 will be worse than fall 2022, but not by much. Best wishes to job seekers this fall, and to all of us. 

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Job posting: computational chemist, California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (remote/telework eligible)

Via C&EN Jobs: 
Join California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) as a founding member of a brand new, interdisciplinary computational toxicology team. We are focusing on evaluating unassessed chemicals using novel risk assessment methods to predict chemical toxicity in humans relying on data from non-mammalian systems, high-throughput in vitro tests, and inferences based on “read-across” from related chemicals. We are hiring one Computational Chemistry Research Scientist and one Pharmacokinetics Research Scientist to join our New Toxicology Evaluations Section.  

Are you a computational chemist experienced with protein-ligand interactions? If so, see for the complete job bulletin.

Or if you would like to specialize in PBPK modeling and in vitro to in vivo extrapolations, see

Please note in that order to be eligible to apply for a job with the State of California, you must first be placed on an employment eligibility list for the specific classification. To establish your eligibility, follow the instructions for the Research Scientist IV (Chemical Sciences) classification at This classification requires a doctoral degree plus four additional years of progressively responsible research experience. (Individuals appointed to this classification will also receive an educational pay differential of 3% on top of their salary for possession of a Ph.D.)

OEHHA offers the opportunity to engage in world class science while having the flexibility of a work-life balance and enjoying the satisfaction of supporting public health in California. We have a hybrid work environment that includes telework at home and work in an office setting. For more information, visit

Salary is "$107,760 - $134,904 + excellent benefits" - I sense this might be a touch low for the amount of experience required? Sounds interesting though (especially the 'employment eligibility list'.) Best wishes to those interested.  

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Louisville chemist's house to be burned due to hazardous storage of chemicals

Via Louisville Public Media: 
Police arrested 53-year-old Marc Hibel last week on a felony wanton endangerment charge after he admitted to having the explosive chemical TNP, or picric acid, in his home and to making homemade explosives. The Louisville Metro Police Department’s bomb squad exploded a device in the back of one of the properties he was occupying at 6211 and 6213 Applegate Lane. Hibel is a trained chemist.

Mayor Craig Greenberg said at a Tuesday news conference that some chemicals remain in the home, but because of an “extreme hoarding situation,” it’s impossible for a hazmat crew or robot to remove them safely.

“The only option to safely proceed is to incinerate the chemicals inside the home by setting a planned, monitored and controlled burn of the house, which will combust any of the chemicals that are present inside the home,” he said.

Makes you wonder where he was getting the picric acid from. (Also, this reminds me of the 2012 controlled burn of a 'bomb factory' house in San Diego.)  

I've never felt the need to be a home chemist, although I do really want to start a liquor distillation setup someday. Nevertheless, there are clearly people who really do want to do experimental laboratory chemistry at home and it just seems to be such a strange phenomena. I imagine there are many home chemists who do it well, but it feels like there are many more people* who end up gathering massive collections of chemicals. 

*who are we kidding, it's men