Thursday, November 30, 2023

Job posting: process analytical chemist, Thermo Fisher, Franklin, MA

Via C&EN Jobs: 

As a Process Analytical Chemist at Thermo Fisher, you will join a team of dedicated Scientists, Engineers and Technicians working together to accelerate research, solve complex scientific challenges and drive technological innovation in the fields of process chemistry and gas analysis! The successful candidate will have a deep understanding of analytical chemistry and instrumentation and an appreciation of how new technologies can support our efforts to detect and measure trace contaminants in a process gas stream and/or process emissions. In addition to driving development of innovative technologies, the Scientist will work closely with Marketing experts to be sure that new products meet both regulatory requirements and customer expectations.

What will you do?

  • Lead R&D innovation efforts toward development of gas analyzers using diverse technologies such as tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy (TDLAS), cavity ringdown spectroscopy (CRDS), RAMAN spectroscopy, FTIR and others!
  • Plan and implement laboratory and field evaluations of sophisticated technologies acquired from outside parties, such as national laboratories and universities.
  • Collaborate with a multi-disciplinary R&D team, including mechanical, electronic and software engineers to help commercialize select technologies developed in our laboratories or acquired from other sources.
  • Provide technical input to the Product Management teams for better positioning of our technical solutions in the market.

Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

C&EN: Warren Wilson College discontinues its chemistry major

This latest sad news from Chemical and Engineering News (article by Krystal Vasquez): 

Warren Wilson College, a liberal arts college in North Carolina, will eliminate its chemistry major next academic year. In addition, the college will discontinue majors in math, philosophy, history and political science, and global studies.

The cuts are the result of a “strategic planning process” spearheaded by the college’s new president, Damián Fernández. After starting in June, Fernández tasked the college with streamlining its academic portfolio to “reduce expenses in areas where we felt like that was necessary,” says Jay Roberts, the college’s provost.

Starting in fall 2024, Warren Wilson will no longer admit incoming students into the five majors. Students who are currently pursuing the majors will be offered the courses they need to graduate, Roberts says.

Eventually, however, the college intends to cut some of the more advanced courses that are offered as a part of the discontinued majors. For example, Langdon Martin, chair of Warren Wilson’s chemistry department, suspects that the school’s quantum chemistry class will be on the chopping block “since it’s been a course that hasn’t had much enrollment beyond chemists.”

It seems to me that the shrinking of smaller colleges will inevitably impact smaller colleges and their ability to support tenure lines, including chemistry.  

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

The 2024 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 461 research/teaching positions and 49 teaching positions

The 2024 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 461 research/teaching positions and 49 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 November 29, 2022, the 2023 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 530 research/teaching positions and 35 teaching-focused position.

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

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

Job posting: assistant professor, Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

From the inbox: 
The Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering at the University of Toronto invites applications for up to two full-time tenure stream positions in Frontiers in Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry. The appointments will be at the rank of Assistant Professor, with an expected start date of July 1, 2024. 

 Applicants are expected to have a PhD degree in chemical engineering or a related area at the time of appointment or shortly thereafter, with a demonstrated record of excellence in research and teaching. We seek candidates whose research and teaching are at the frontiers of chemical, biochemical, environmental, or materials engineering or in applied chemistry/biochemistry, who complement and enhance our existing departmental strengths, and who impact foundational principles that integrate chemistry, biology and engineering to tackle the grand challenges facing our society in sustainability. 

The successful candidate will be expected to initiate and continuously lead an outstanding, independent, innovative, externally funded research program of international calibre, and teach in the chemical engineering curriculum at the undergraduate and post-graduate level. We will prioritize candidates who demonstrate the ability to sustain and lead innovative research that will advance the global frontiers of knowledge in the field of chemical engineering and applied chemistry (refer to the vision statement of the department at Collaborative and inter-disciplinary research and collegial interaction will be important elements in success. Eligibility to register as a Professional Engineer in Ontario is an asset.

Excellence in research is evidenced primarily by publications or forthcoming publications in leading, field-relevant journals or conferences, the submitted research statement, presentations at significant conferences, awards and accolades, and strong endorsements by referees of high standing.
Full ad is here. Best wishes to those interested. 

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 122 positions

 The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 122 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, November 27, 2023

C&EN: OSHA proposed penalties for PCI/Seqens

This update on the PCI Synthesis case (article by Rick Mullin): 

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed nearly $300,000 in penalties for PolyCarbon Industries and its parent, the French firm Seqens, after an investigation indicated that an explosion at a PolyCarbon pharmaceutical chemical plant in Newburyport, Massachusetts, last May could have been prevented. The incident killed one worker, Jack O’Keefe, 62. OSHA cited 11 violations in its findings, including failure to determine the combustibility hazards of materials used in the process involved in the explosion. The incident was the third serious accident at the plant since 2020.

Here's some additional details from The Daily News of Newburyport: 

OSHA also found that Seqens/PCI Synthesis failed to: include safe upper and lower temperature limits to prevent the decomposition of Dekon 139; evaluate the consequences of deviation in the production process; establish written procedures to maintain the ongoing integrity of process equipment and provide clear instruction on consequences of deviation from steps in the operating procedures; update the process safety information to include steps to avoid consequences of deviation in temperature, properties and chemical hazards used in the process; update standard operating procedures for producing Dekon 139 and its safety data sheet; review a November 2022 compliance audit report with all affected personnel whose job tasks are relevant to the report findings; and track contract employees’ injuries and illnesses.

Hmmm, sounds like time to understand "Dekon 139" a little better for me...  

C&EN: "Tough times for Japan’s chemical makers"

Looks like the grim times aren't just in Germany, but are also in Japan (article by Katsumori Matsuoka): 

Japan’s three biggest chemical companies are seeing their earnings suffer from a slump in basic chemicals. All three experienced a sharp drop in profits in the first half of fiscal 2023, which ended Sept. 30, and one of them, Sumitomo Chemical, is forecasting a loss of $655 million for the full fiscal year.

For all three firms, petrochemical demand has declined due to the slow recovery of the Chinese economy and other factors. Sale prices have been slumping.

Sumitomo, the only Japanese chemical company with global petrochemical operations, posted a $306 million loss in its petrochemical division in the first half of the fiscal year due to poor performance at facilities in Japan, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia. In addition, the company’s pharmaceutical segment had a $451 million loss due to patent expiration for the antipsychotic drug Latuda. Its overall loss for the period was $666 million.

My old model of the chemical industry was that "bad times for the chemical industry portends bad news for the economy in general" but I guess I'm not really sure that the model holds as of late? Or holds for the US economy, anyway? 

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving!

Every year, I am incredibly thankful for my family, my friends, my community (physical and online) and my job. This year, I'm thankful for my coworkers and I'm really looking forward to a fun and interesting next year. 

I am still incredibly thankful for you, my readers and commenters. Thank you for your reading, your advice, your e-mails and your brilliant, insightful comments. I am genuinely grateful and touched that you folks are still reading this tiny little corner of the internet, and I hope that I will continue to earn your readership. 

[An additional note: if you would ever like to meet for a cup of coffee or a beer, please reach out to my e-mail address. I hope to find myself in many different places in 2024, and I love to meet readers of the blog.] 

My family and I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving and if you're not in the United States, a happy Thursday and Friday! 

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Did you learn about the Bhopal disaster?

Poster of "The Railway Men" 
Credit: Wikipedia
I'm spending more time on BlueSky these days, and less time on Twitter. I was struck by this question by a reporter the other day (undoubtedly brought on by the Netflix series "The Railway Men"): 

"Do people in the US still learn about the Bhopal disaster (in a not specialized course) or has it been memory holed?"

First, I want to quibble with the premise. As someone who basically remembers quite a bit about middle school and high school, I genuinely don't understand the concept of 'the memory hole' - we don't live in a world where facts are destroyed, so what do you mean? Do people mean "people forget about stuff" or do people mean "this fact that I think is important isn't talked about enough, in my opinion" or do people mean "this bit of news has been deliberately suppressed"? 

The other question is "what do you mean, 'learn (in a not specialized course)'"? We don't really have a place for learning about industrial disasters, other than history courses, and we don't really tend to cover industrial disasters in regular history courses, which tend to be about the formation of nation-states and the history of their governments. Chernobyl, for example, is a pretty grim instance of a Soviet-era industrial disaster, and the only place I could imagine seeing it in a US history course is in the "late Cold War" section as a part of the demise of the Soviet Union. While I consumed article after article in National Geographic about Chernobyl, I imagine that the average high schooler these days gets about 10 minutes. 

Setting that aside, I noted that I felt like the Bhopal disaster gets talked about in organic chemistry. I feel like, but I don't exactly remember, that I learned about methyl isocyanate either in undergrad, but definitely in graduate school. I have become quite the enthusiast about the work product of the Chemical Safety Board, so I certainly remember watching the Bayer CropScience video, which also talked about Bhopal. I'm probably both the exact right person to make the query ('is our children learning about Bhopal?') and exactly the wrong person to answer the question. 

So, reader - some questions for you: 

  • How old are you? (You can be vague) 
  • Did you learn about the Bhopal incident? 
  • When did you learn about it? Random reading, or in a class? 
  • Did you learn about methyl isocyanate in organic chemistry? 
  • If you're a professor of chemistry, have you taught about Bhopal? If so, what do you say? 
Thanks for your help. 

Monday, November 20, 2023

C&EN: paper mill absconds with scholarly identities

In this week's Chemical and Engineering News, this fascinating story (article by Dalmeet Singh Chawla):

Earlier this year, Michael Fischer peer-reviewed a study for a journal, and the publication’s editor copied him on the decision letter and the reviewer reports. Then he came across something odd.

Fischer, a geoscientist at the University of Bremen, noticed that the referee report of another peer reviewer included a long list of suggested citations. Most of the recommended citations were for articles published by a single journal, Experimental and Theoretical Nanotechnology (ET Nano), whose website says it is published by the Arab Science and Technology Foundation.

Fischer had never heard of ET Nano and decided to check it out. “I was expecting it to basically be some kind of predatory journal” trying to unethically boost its reputation through unwarranted citations, he says.

But when Fischer began to look at ET Nano’s published papers, he was surprised to find that they were authored by prominent and well-known researchers from across the world. He found this strange, given the journal’s relative obscurity. In addition, some researchers weren’t at the universities the journal said they were....

...After seeing papers authored by some legitimate and some nonexistent researchers, Fischer decided to reach out to authors he knew to be real. Most of the academics who responded told him the papers listing them as authors were not theirs and that they had never heard of ET Nano. Many of the researchers were also listed as members of its editorial advisory board.

“The papers didn’t seem to match their research profile at all,” Fischer says. “Also, they were often not well written or contained really low-quality figures, which were of very poor resolution.”

I don't really understand what paper mills really do (other than shovel loads of low-quality papers onto the internet.) It seems to me these journals seem to exist solely to collect publication fees from scholars from developing countries whose insitutions really care about publication count? What a strange world we live in. 

Reuters: German medicines regulator considering export ban on Ozempic

Via Reuters: 

FRANKFURT, Nov 15 (Reuters) - German regulator BfArM is considering banning Ozempic exports as Europe's health systems grapple with shortage of the diabetes drug, which is in high demand for its weight-loss benefits.

Use of Novo Nordisk's (NOVOb.CO) Ozempic for weight loss has caused shortages across Europe, where Britain and Belgium have temporarily banned its use for weight loss to secure availability for diabetics.

Novo's launch of anti-obesity drug Wegovy, a high dose version of Ozempic, in Britain, Germany, Norway and Denmark, has so far done little to temper the craze for Ozempic as volumes of Wegovy have been limited due to production bottlenecks... 

...BfArM's Broich said some Ozempic was being moved out of the country because it is cheaper there than elsewhere, and demand was driven by use for weight loss.

Broich cautioned that export restrictions can only be rarely used and legal hurdles were high because of the European Union's single market.

Nothing has stopped me from being convinced that Novo Nordisk badly underestimated demand for Ozempic and failed to ramp up manufacturing sufficiently to meet both current and future demand. It will be interesting to watch the race between Novo and Lilly to see who will ultimately capture the most market share for GLP-1 drugs.  

Chemicals plant in Louisiana to receive government funds to retool for battery chemical manufacture

Via the Louisiana Illuminator (a non-profit news website) this news:
ST. GABRIEL — A chemical plant in Louisiana that faced possible downsizing or even closure is now expanding to become America’s first domestic manufacturer of critical lithium battery materials thanks to new federal infrastructure investments.

Koura Global, which has a plant that makes fluorine refrigerants at its facility just south of Baton Rouge, will retrofit its facilities to manufacture lithium hexafluorophosphate (LiPF6), a primary component in lithium-ion batteries. At full capacity, the plant will produce enough of the chemical to make more than a million electric vehicle (EV) batteries a year.  

U.S. Rep Troy Carter, D-Louisiana, who represents the 2nd Congressional District between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, told Koura’s employees Friday that their work will address a “critical gap in our domestic supply chain” for lithium-ion batteries.

The plant currently manufactures a fluorine refrigerant that is being replaced with a more environmentally friendly chemical. Koura will retrofit its current operations to produce the new refrigerant, but a $100 million U.S. Department of Energy grant will allow the company to construct new facilities at the plant to pivot into the battery industry, according to Koura executive Erick Comeaux.

The grant is one of thousands made available under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that President Joe Biden ushered through Congress in 2021. Also known as the Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act (IIJA), the plan is the country’s largest federal infrastructure investment in decades. It includes money for investments in domestic manufacturing, transportation, energy, drinking water systems, environmental remediation and broadband internet expansion, among other things.

It sure feels like the number of active fluorochemical manufacturers isn't growing in the US, so this is a clever shift. Here's hoping it works out for them.  

Friday, November 17, 2023

Have a good weekend

Well, this was a pretty kooky week, but we're almost done with it. I hope that you had a less kooky week than mine, and that you have a great weekend. See you on Monday for a short week. 

NYT: Platinum from catalytic converter theft can end up in chemotherapy drugs

Via a commenter, this fascinating New York Times investigative piece on catalytic converter theft and how the metals can end up in the manufacturing supply chain. 

...The subject arose repeatedly at a recent conference of the International Precious Metals Institute in Orlando. Lee Hockey, a consultant formerly with Johnson Matthey, a specialty chemical company, addressed culpability head on.

“Most people in this room will see petty thefts and say, ‘Oh, we’re not involved in that,’” Mr. Hockey said. “But everybody is. If you’re a refiner, even if you are dealing with a smelter, you are getting the metal, so you are liable. If you are an insurance company and you are insuring people on the site, you are liable. If you are doing an analysis of the sample, you are liable.” He added, “You are along the supply chain, and you are involved.”

I'm not surprised that Johnson Matthey is involved, but I am very surprised that the Times seems to think the main involvement of catalytic converter theft is in actual APIs: 

Over the past decade, the Stillwater plant processed more PGMs from the used devices than from its Montana mines, Heather McDowell, a company official, said during a recent tour. To keep the pipeline of recycled devices flowing, she said, Stillwater relies on 28 suppliers.

All of the PGMs are sent for final refining to Johnson Matthey for use in, among other things, “the vital compounds — known as active pharmaceutical ingredients,” it said in its 2021 annual report.

Pfizer, for example, uses platinum for chemotherapy treatments. “Pfizer has a diverse supply chain network and has not relied on a sole supplier,” the company said in an email response to questions from The Times about Stillwater. The company declined to say whether Stillwater is one of those suppliers.

It seems to me that far more palladium ends up being used as catalysts (hydrogenations of various sorts) as opposed to platinum and the like that ends up in chemotherapy drugs, but what do I know. Nevertheless, a fascinating article - read the whole thing! 

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Job posting: assistant professor, quantitative biosciences, UC Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA

From the inbox: 
The University of California Santa Barbara invites applications for a tenure-track faculty position at the Assistant Professor Level. The position is a part of a multi-year, multi-departmental initiative to establish an interdisciplinary research effort and graduate training program in the area of Quantitative Biosciences, emphasizing experimentation, computational and theoretical approaches to the study of living systems, on scales from molecules to entire organisms. Subjects of interest include, but are not limited to:
  • ·      biophysical mechanisms underlying emerging properties in living matter;
  • ·      chemical approaches (e.g., proteomic, spectroscopy) to elucidating biological phenomena;
  • ·      organizational principles of subcellular and subnuclear dynamics;
  • ·      quantitative studies of development and tissue mechanics;
  • ·      metabolism and energetics of biological processes;
  • ·      neural computation for sensation and behavioral control.
We are especially interested in experimental scientists who combine modern tools from multiple disciplines to understand biological organization and function on multiple scales. Candidates who focus on theoretical aspects may be considered, but a demonstrated record of effective interactions and collaborations with experimentalist is expected.

The successful candidate's faculty appointment will be split between the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Biomolecular Science and Engineering and the academic department(s) most closely corresponding to the candidate's research focus and teaching qualifications, including, but not limited to Chemistry & Biochemistry; Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology; Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology and Physics. Preference will be given to candidates with broad scientific interests, a record of research excellence and creativity, and a strong commitment to undergraduate and graduate teaching. Interdisciplinary educational background combining biology with physical and mathematical sciences and/or a strong record of active interdisciplinary collaboration will also be valued. Applicants must have completed all requirements for a PhD (or equivalent) except the dissertation at the time of application, in the areas of physics, biology, chemistry, or related fields.  Appointment begins July 1, 2024.
Applicants should submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, a statement of research and teaching interests and arrange for three letters of recommendation. Materials should be submitted electronically via The current base pay range is $90,000-$120,00. Other components of pay are offered when necessary to meet competitive conditions. Complete applications received on or before November 27, 2023 will be given full consideration.

Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested.  

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Science: USC neuroscientist faces research integrity questions

Via Derek Lowe, this rather shocking story: 
In 2022, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) placed a large bet on an experimental drug developed to limit brain damage after strokes. The agency committed up to $30 million to administer a compound called 3K3A-APC in a study of 1400 people shortly after they experience an acute ischemic stroke, a perilous condition in which a clot blocks blood flow to part of the brain.

The gamble seemed warranted. Lab studies, most by a longtime grantee, prominent University of Southern California (USC) neuroscientist Berislav Zlokovic, had generated promising data. A small safety study of the drug, sponsored by a company Zlokovic co-founded called ZZ Biotech, was also encouraging. Analyses of data from the phase 2 trial hinted that the treatment reduced the number of tiny, asymptomatic brain hemorrhages after stroke patients received either surgery to remove the clot, the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), or both.

...But a 113-page dossier obtained by Science from a small group of whistleblowers paints a less encouraging picture. The dossier, which they submitted to NIH, highlights evidence from the phase 2 trial that the experimental remedy might have actually increased deaths in the first week after treatment: Six of the 66 stroke patients who received 3K3A-APC died within this period, compared with one among 44 in the placebo group, although the death rate evened out after a month. Patients who received the drug also trended toward greater disability and dependency at the end of the trial, 90 days after treatment....

...But speaking to Science anonymously, four former members of Zlokovic’s lab say the anomalies the whistleblowers found are no accident. They describe a culture of intimidation, in which he regularly pushed them and others in the lab to adjust data. Two of them said he sometimes had people change lab notebooks after experiments were completed to ensure they only contained the desired results. “There were clear examples of him instructing people to manipulate data to fit the hypothesis,” one of the lab members says.

Seems real bad! 

Monday, November 13, 2023

C&EN: "Chemical industry profits evaporate in Europe"

In this week's C&EN, the continued grim news (article by Alex Scott): 
Many of Europe’s biggest chemical producers—including the German firms BASF, Covestro, Evonik Industries, and Lanxess—have reported declining sales and net losses for the third quarter. Europe’s chemical sector is now firmly in cost-cutting mode, and some companies are closing manufacturing plants because of ongoing soft demand for their products.

BASF, still the world’s largest chemical company, recorded a loss of $264 million for the third quarter, compared with earnings of $962 million in the year-earlier period, and sales of $16.2 billion, down 28%. The German major cites considerably lower prices for products sold by its materials, chemicals, and surface technologies businesses and lower sales volumes across the board.

BASF announced measures to cut costs by about $215 million annually, adding to plans to cut costs by more than $750 million per year by 2027. The firm plans to reduce its capital investments over the next 5 years by about $4.3 billion, to $26.5 billion. “We have more projects than money,” CEO Martin Brudermüller said in a press briefing.

Lanxess also lost money in the third quarter. “We see no signs of recovery for the rest of the year,” CEO Matthias Zachert says in a press release. The firm plans a one-time savings of $107 million in 2023 and annual savings of $160 million starting in 2025. The cuts will eliminate 870 jobs, including 460 in Germany. The company says it has initiated the sale of its urethane chemical division and will use the cash to help pay down debt.
Full article here. It doesn't seem like there's any end in sight, which might be a sign of the bottom *(one hopes?) Here's hoping things turn around. 

Friday, November 10, 2023

Have a good weekend

What a nutty week for me, but it's not a bad one. Let's hope that you had a great week, and that you have a great weekend. See you on Monday. 

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Job posting: formulation associate scientist, Rockville, MD

Via C&EN Jobs: 

Formulation Associate Scientist, Guidehouse Digital LLC, Rockville, MD. Collaborate with various teams to coordinate formulation and stability studies. Conduct tests and evaluations stable formulations for the vaccine candidates. Generate samples for analysis using standard laboratory techniques buffer prep, dialysis, dilution. Analyze samples using spectroscopic, calorimetric, and other instrumentation. Collect and analyze data. Develop assays for biological product characterization, formulation development and stability testing of recombinant protein-based vaccines, proteinaceous nanoparticles, and virus-like particles. Write and review technical reports and protocols documenting formulation, stability, and method development studies.

40 hrs/week, Mon-Fri, 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. 


Master’s degree or foreign equivalent degree in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, or a related field, and two (2) years of related work experience.

Must have one (1) year of experience with/in:

  • Analyzing protein spectroscopic analysis using: UV-Vis, Fluorescence, or Circular Dichroism spectroscopy;
  • Industry, government, or equivalent in protein formulation
  • Biophysical and bioanalytical properties of proteins and biologics;
  • Classic protein biochemistry sample handling and analysis using UF/DF, SDS-PAGE, or Western Blot; and
  • Utilizing Excel, Prism, and SigmaPlot data software.
Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Ars Technica: "“Extremely high” lead levels sicken 7 in 5 states"

By amazing health reporter Beth Mole, this news: 

At least seven children across five states have suffered acute lead poisoning linked to at least three brands of apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches marketed to children and sold nationwide, the Food and Drug Administration announced in an updated safety alert Friday.

The brands include WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches, Schnucks brand cinnamon-flavored applesauce pouches, and Weis brand cinnamon applesauce pouches. All three have been recalled. Consumers should not buy, sell, serve, or eat any of these products. Any pouches that have already been purchased should be thrown away. Parents or guardians of any children who may have eaten the purees should talk with health care providers about blood lead tests....

...The FDA said it is working to identify additional cases and other products that may also be contaminated, and to understand the source of the lead. In its recall notice, Schnucks reported its supplier, Purcell International, notified it of "elevated levels of lead found in the cinnamon raw material used by Austrofood SAS, the manufacturer of the applesauce cinnamon pouches."

I am a bit of a lead level fanatic, so I am really appalled at this. I would be pretty enthusiastic about making an example of these suppliers, and perhaps setting up some kind of system to actively screen food and food products for lead. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

The 2024 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 424 research/teaching positions and 40 teaching positions

 The 2024 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 424 research/teaching positions and 40 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 November 8, 2022, the 2023 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 497 research/teaching positions and 31 teaching-focused position.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Here's the first open thread. This post will serve as the second open thread. 

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

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 108 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 108 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, November 6, 2023

EPA to consider banning tire chemical

Via the Associated Press: 
U.S. regulators say they will review the use of a chemical found in almost every tire after a petition from West Coast Native American tribes that want it banned because it kills salmon as they return from the ocean to their natal streams to spawn.

The Yurok tribe in California and the Port Gamble S’Klallam and Puyallup tribes in Washington asked the Environmental Protection Agency to prohibit the rubber preservative 6PPD earlier this year, saying it kills fish — especially coho salmon — when rains wash it from roadways into rivers. Washington, Oregon, Vermont, Rhode Island and Connecticut also wrote the EPA, citing the chemical’s “unreasonable threat” to their waters and fisheries.

The agency’s decision to grant the petition last week is the start of a long regulatory process that could see the chemical banned. Tire manufacturers are already looking for an alternative that still meets federal safety requirements.

“We could not sit idle while 6PPD kills the fish that sustain us,” Joseph L. James, chair of the Yurok Tribe, told The Associated Press. “This lethal toxin has no business in any salmon-bearing watershed.”

6PPD has been used as a rubber preservative in tires for 60 years. It is also found in footwear, synthetic turf and playground equipment.

As tires wear, tiny particles of rubber are left behind on roads and parking lots. The chemical breaks down into a byproduct, 6PPD-quinone, that is deadly to salmon, steelhead trout and other aquatic wildlife. Coho appear to be especially sensitive; it can kill them within hours, the tribes argued.

The structure of the molecule is so simple - it's pretty interesting to understand that the oxidation product is deadly to salmon. 

Friday, November 3, 2023

Have a good weekend

This has been a nutty week, but not a bad one. Here's hoping you've had a calmer week than I, and that you have a great weekend. Getting to see old friends this weekend, so that's worth it. See you on Monday. 

Rainbow fire teacher in Virginia back at work

From a Google News alert, this follow-up from last year's incident that hurt a student: 

DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. — A Dinwiddie High School Chemistry teacher is back at work one year after an explosion in their classroom during a science experiment, according to a spokeswoman for Dinwiddie County Public Schools. The explosion, on October 12, 2022, happened during an experiment using methanol.

Four students and a teacher were treated for injuries. One student was so badly injured, they were hospitalized in the intensive care unit.

CBS 6 learned the Dinwiddie Sheriff’s Office and the Dinwiddie County Division of Fire and EMS presented the findings of their investigation into the incident to the former Commonwealth’s Attorney for Dinwiddie County, Ann Cabell Baskerville.

Both said it was up to her whether she wanted to press charges against the teacher.

She opted not to press charges.

We reached out to Baskerville to learn more about why, and we are waiting to hear back.

Since then, Dinwiddie County Public Schools told CBS 6 the teacher is back to work at the school.

It seems to me that if we continue to have a lack of consequences for running this demonstration poorly, we will continue to have hurt kids. 

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Job posting: research analytical chemist, Milliken, Gainesville, FL

Via Twitter, this position: 

POSITION TITLE: Research Analytical Chemist, Fine Chemicals Business


This position is responsible for supporting R&D projects by executing and coordinating qualitative and quantitative testing, developing, and validating methods.  The individual will be located at the R&D facility in Gainesville, FL and report to the R&D Manager.  Occasional visits to external customer facilities, the company headquarters in Spartanburg, SC, and other production sites within the USA is possible.


  • Perform ICP-MS analyses and interpretation of data for research and development and production samples, and maintenance of related equipment.
  • Participate on process development project teams and support teams in the following ways:
    • develop and validate analytical methods that support products in various industries, including semi-conductors
    • lead the correlation of analytical methods with customers as necessary
    • lead implementation of analytical methods in internal production Quality Control labs.
    • perform method analysis studies such as MDL determinations, and Gage R&R for analytical methods.
    • lead the startup of online analytical methods for new process startups
  • Provide analytical problem solving and support for Milliken manufacturing sites, sales, and marketing functions as well as external customers.
  • Develop collaborative relationships to successfully work in multi-disciplinary teams of chemists, engineers, and associates in the areas of environmental/regulatory, purchasing, and business.


  • PhD in Chemistry.
  • 1+ years of industry experience.
  • Experience in analytical method development.
  • Experience in use and maintenance of an ICP-MS.
  • Experience with GC and GC-MS maintenance and method development.
  • Strong creative and analytical problem-solving skills.


  • PhD in Analytical Chemistry.
  • 3+ years of industry semiconductor analytical experience.
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Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Dorothy Phillips has been elected ACS president-elect

Via Chemical and Engineering News (article by Sara Cottle): 
Dorothy J. Phillips, retired from the role of director of strategic marketing at Waters, has been elected the American Chemical Society 2024 president-elect by members of ACS. Phillips will serve as society president in 2025 and immediate past president in 2026. The appointment also includes serving on the board of directors from 2024 through 2026.

A total of 11,428 votes were cast for president-elect. Voter participation was 12% of all eligible voters.

With 6,653 votes, Phillips won the president-elect race against Florian J. Schattenmann, chief technology officer and vice president of research and development and innovation at Cargill, who received 4,775 votes. ACS, which publishes C&EN, also elected four other people into ACS positions and voted on a petition that was up for approval in the fall 2023 election cycle.

Full article here.  

Ohio man explodes blender while experimenting with fireworks ingredients at home

Via a Toledo based TV station: 

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (WTVG) - A loud explosion in the city of Bowling Green Friday night prompted police to investigate, eventually calling the Toledo Bomb Squad to assist.

“A very loud like pop, clap, bang, and it startled me,” Shana Bentley, who lives just a few houses from the explosion said...

...Police interviewed a resident in the 200 block of Reed Street, where they believed the explosion came from.

“He has an infinite and interest in mixing different chemicals and powders and stuff like that to make homemade explosives, slash, fireworks,” Skaff said. He also told police he just passed an online class for a pyrotechnics license and has been using a detached garage to mix powder chemicals together to form an explosive compound in a blender.

Lt. Skaff said the man was using a blender to mix components to build fireworks. He told police he was mixing the powder chemicals together to make the explosive compound in his blender as he always does. He also told police that he ran out of standard aluminum powder, so he decided to use Magnalium instead, a mixture of aluminum and magnesium. He went on to tell police that when plugged in the blender, it immediately exploded.

“Thankfully for him and the citizens, there was no one in the area, he was a decent distance away when the blender exploded,” Skaff said.

I'm glad the home experimenter is all right, but I guess that he learned the classic lesson of needing to start small regarding new reagents and new techniques...