Friday, May 26, 2017

Radio show: Saturday, June 3, noon Eastern with Carmen Drahl

Looking forward to talking with Dr. Carmen Drahl (formerly of C&EN, and a current science blogger for Forbes) on Saturday, June 3. We'll be talking about West Virginia and its chemistry industry among other things - looking forward to it! 

5/16" flat wrenches

A list of small, useful things (links):
Have a good long weekend. See you on Tuesday morning. 

What communities are you a part of?

From a pretty interesting profile of Secretary of Defense James Mattis in The New Yorker by Dexter Filkins, a passage that might be worth considering: 
When I asked what worried him most in his new position, I expected him to say ISIS or Russia or the defense budget. Instead, he said, “The lack of political unity in America. The lack of a fundamental friendliness. It seems like an awful lot of people in America and around the world feel spiritually and personally alienated, whether it be from organized religion or from local community school districts or from their governments. 
“I come out of the tight-knit Marine Corps, but I’ve lived on college campuses for three and a half years,” he went on. “Go back to Ben Franklin—his descriptions about how the Iroquois Nations lived and worked together. Compare that to America today. I think that, when you look at veterans coming out of the wars, they’re more and more just slapped in the face by that isolation, and they’re used to something better. They think it’s P.T.S.D.—which it can be—but it’s really about alienation. If you lose any sense of being part of something bigger, then why should you care about your fellow-man?”
I don't know about spiritual alienation, but I think unemployment leads to personal alienation, especially if one is cut off from their professional community. I don't often talk about this stuff, but I wonder if society is more atomized, and people are less likely to be a part of communities outside of their families and their work. If that's the case and work is taken away from folks, it's not surprising that people feel alienated. (I wonder if that's what happens to people who leave graduate school?)

So over this long weekend, I guess I have a question for everyone: what real life communities are you a part of? I'll go first: my family, my extended family, my kids' school, our church, my professional community and other friends as well. You? 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs List: 96 positions

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs list has 96 positions.

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions, but if you want to do the traditional "leave a link in the comments", that works, too.

Want to chat about medchem positions? Try the open thread.

Positions I'm not including: positions outside the United States (this will likely change), computational positions (this will likely change as well), process positions (coming soon....), academic positions (likely never.)

Coming soon: a process chemistry version - I promise! (soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooon)

"In 150 characters or fewer, tell us what makes you unique."

Seen in this Achaogen ad for a postdoctoral position, this delightful requirement: 
In 150 characters or fewer, tell us what makes you unique. Try to be creative and say something that will catch our eye!
Amusingly, "screw you" is just 9 characters.  

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The oddest short film about chromatography you will see today

Via Twitter and C&EN editor Craig Bettenhausen, a film about chromatography I had never seen. I won't say that it's laugh-out-loud funny, but it has its moments. 

Warning Letter of the Week: "in their heads" edition

Via an irritated note from the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research to the general manager of Changzhou Jintan Qianyao Pharmaceutical Raw Material Factory, Mr. Zheng Goubin, this terribly amusing comment:
2.    Failure to have adequate written procedures for the receipt, identification, quarantine, storage, sampling, testing, handling, and approval or rejection of raw materials.
For example, when our investigator asked for a list of your critical raw materials and your sampling requirements, you told our investigator that you had no written procedures for testing and sampling incoming materials. Instead, you explained, your warehouse employees accounted for incoming raw material handling, sampling, and testing “in their heads.”

4.    Failure to prepare adequate batch production records and record the activities at the time they are performed.
For example, our investigator found that your operator used process parameter values from previous batches of [redacted] to complete new batch records when she was too tired to immediately record the data and had forgotten the values.    
I keep a lot of stuff in my head, but I try to write it down as soon as I can. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Are you a very recent assistant professor?

Via the inbox from the good folks at Chemical and Engineering News:
We are launching a companion Facebook group for newly-hired and early career chemistry professors. To be eligible for the group, chemistry professors must have had a start date in 2015, 2016, or 2017.
Best wishes to those eligible.  

How many times have you applied for a faculty position before this year?

Please fill out the 2016-2017 Faculty Search Survey

In the interests of understanding the results of this year's academic recruiting, I have created an unscientific survey. I will be sharing results as they come in.

If you were a faculty candidate during the 2016-2017 academic year, please fill out this survey so we can get a better picture of the experience of faculty candidates this past year.

Please leave suggestions for improvements for the survey in the comments. 

Daily Pump Trap: 5/23/17 edition

A few of the positions posted at C&EN Jobs this past week:

Akron, OH: NETZSCH Instruments is searching for a regional sales manager; looks to be an Ohio resident-preferred position. B.S. desired.

Guilford, CT: 4Catalyzer is hiring a Ph.D. surface chemist and a Ph.D. organic chemist.

Ames, IA: The Ames Laboratory is looking for a postdoc; "Experience in one or more of the following areas: novel synthesis techniques for crystalline matter, quantum materials, and catalysts." I imagine it pays reasonably.

Washington, D.C.: C&EN is hiring a multimedia science reporter.

Ivory Filter Flask: 5/23/17 edition

A few of the academically-related articles posted at C&EN Jobs:

Cincinnati, OH: The University of Cincinnati is looking for "several Visiting Assistant Professors / Teaching Postdoctoral Fellows." This is an interesting claim: 
These positions are well-suited for scientists who wish to prepare for a career of teaching at a primarily undergraduate institution that emphasizes excellence in both teaching and research.
I wonder what the track record of program participants is?

Oswego, NY: SUNY Oswego, looking for a visiting assistant professor.

Newark, DE: The University of Delaware, searching for a laboratory coordinator.

Hazleton, PA: Penn State Hazleton is hiring a M.S./Ph.D. chemist to be an instructor of chemistry.

Bristol, United Kingdom: Computational postdoc being offered at the University of Bristol. Offered £32,004 - £36,001 per annum (41k-46.7k)

Monday, May 22, 2017


At the risk of repeating myself, I commend to you Lisa Jarvis' excellent long feature article in Chemical and Engineering News on the 1st year of assistant professors Julia Kalow, Valerie Schmidt and Song Lin. I especially enjoyed this little section from Sunday's installment: 
Another roadblock for new researchers is self-confidence. The interview process, when you’re asked to stand in front of leaders in your field and give a talk outlining the projects you’d like to tackle in your lab, can leave some feeling a bit bruised. You might have gotten a job, but for some, those biting comments remain in their ear, feeding doubts about the merits of their proposals. 
UCLA’s Nelson felt like he was adrift scientifically during his first year. Still stung by criticism that some of his ideas elicited on the job-talk circuit, Nelson lost some trust in his own instincts in the lab. The feedback even made him abandon one particular project altogether. “Scientist Hosea would have just done what I love. But in the context of this job, your mind runs wild and you start doing other stuff,” he says. 
After not feeling happy about how research went his first year, he decided to go back to that project. Six months in, it was working splendidly. So much so that in March it yielded his group’s first publication—in Science. 
Schmidt also felt a bit battered after the job-search process. “It was tough to have people talk about your science and say, ‘Oh, that’s not going to work,’ ” she says. Her strategy has been to work extra hard to get to the paper that shows the harshest critics that she was right after all.
I gotta say, it's very hard for me not to take criticism personally, even as (over the years), I've developed the ability to have a thick skin, or at least a short-ish memory. I imagine that ability to not have one's self-confidence completely broken (while drawing lessons from criticism) is something that distinguishes the very successful from the less-so.  

This week's C&EN

A few of the articles from the latest issue of Chemical and Engineering News:

Friday, May 19, 2017

View From Your Office: New York edition

Credit: @onesleepynerd
From chemTwitter denizen @onesleepynerd, a pretty decent view!

(got a View from Your Hood submission? Send it in (with a caption and a credit, please) at; will run every other Friday.)

Picking up the phone, adviser-style

I would like to commend to you Lisa Jarvis' story that C&EN is running this week about the life of a new assistant professor at a research university. It focuses on Julia Kalow (Northwestern), Song Lin (Cornell) and Valerie Schmidt (UCSD.) I found this little tidbit rather wonderful from a #chemjobs perspective: 
And a new deadline loomed large. UCSD’s master’s students are generally focused on getting a job in industry, a career aspiration that Schmidt needed to help them achieve sooner rather than later. 
“Usually with a Ph.D. student, you have four or five years to worry about those things—to initiate the type of outreach to get folks employed,” Schmidt says. Now, just a few months into the job, she was already making calls and probing contacts from grad school for leads.
Nice to see Professor Schmidt picking up the phone. I wonder how it went for her students?

Probably one of those questions that new/prospective graduate students should be asking professors of all ranks is not only "where do your graduates go?" but also "how involved are you in the process of aiding me in getting where I want to go next?" 

Do these San Diego biotech average salaries look a little high to you?

From a San Diego Union-Tribune article, a link to a Biocom (the biotech trade association) report and a listing of average salaries in various sectors of San Diego County biotech. (PDF)

Do these numbers look a little high for an average salary within the sector? Am I missing something? Also, why are the comparable numbers so low for the Los Angeles area? (PDF)

Trade association numbers - always suspect. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs List: 94 positions

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs list has 94 positions.

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions, but if you want to do the traditional "leave a link in the comments", that works, too.

Want to chat about medchem positions? Try the open thread.

Positions I'm not including: positions outside the United States (this will likely change), computational positions (this will likely change as well), process positions (coming soon....), academic positions (likely never.)

Coming soon: a process chemistry version - I promise! (sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooon)

Job posting: product development chemist, Living Proof, Cambridge, MA

From the inbox, a position with Living Proof:
This Product Development Chemist is an on-site position at our Cambridge, MA office.
  • Formulate hair care products and conduct appropriate product performance and stability experiments to meet objectives outlined in project profiles.
  • Ensure product physical stability, efficacy, consumer appeal, processing capabilities, package compatibility, and cost effectiveness.
  • Lead tech transfer of new products to manufacturing for scale-up and production start-up, including identifying and generating appropriate processes and product/process specifications....
  • BS in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Pharmacy or related science.
  • Minimum of 3 years of relevant industry experience or equivalent preferred.
Best wishes to those interested. 

Daily Pump Trap: 5/18/17 edition

A few of the positions posted at C&EN Jobs:

Clark, NJ: L'Oreal coming in strong with 4 positions. (Anyone know anyone who works at L'Oreal? What's it like there?)

Watsonville, CA: An interesting position from Driscoll's:
The Research Associate (RA) will facilitate analytical chemistry work within Driscoll's Consumer Lab to address fruit quality attributes for plant breeding, molecular genetics, sensory, and postharvest groups. This role will work with a small creative team to develop and perform metabolite phenotyping experiments for all Driscoll's berry crops. The RA will be responsible for an analytical chemistry platform used to profile fruit metabolites associated with quality and flavor. 
M.S. in analytical chemistry and 2 years experience desired.

Berkeley, CA: "Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry Division has an opening for an Organic and Macromolecular Synthesis Facility Staff Scientist."

Alexandria, VA: This is an unusual title for an intellectual property position, I feel: "Chemical Patent Searcher." Advanced degree, 6 years experience required.

Chicago, IL: Sounds like an interesting postdoc for someone at Abbvie...

Raleigh, NC: I can't quite tell what this Bayer CropScience position is, but I think it's an analytical position?

Albuquerque, NM: Well, this sounds fascinating:
The Materials, Devices, and Energy Technologies Department has an immediate postdoctoral research opening primarily in the area of Synthetic Organic Chemistry/Polymer Chemistry at our Albuquerque, New Mexico facility. The postdoc’s primary responsibilities will be in the development and synthesis of new ion and/or electronic conducting oligomers and polymers for applications in electrical energy storage, catalysis and separations.
"Ability to obtain and maintain a U.S. DOE security clearance" needed.

Ivory Filter Flask: 5/18/17 edition

A few of the academic positions posted at C&EN Jobs:

Pittsburgh, PA: The University of Pittsburgh Department of Radiology is searching for a radiochemist. (This position is labeled assistant professor, but it's non-tenure track.)

Springfield, OH: Wittenberg University is searching for a visiting assistant professor; classes include "organic chemistry, general chemistry, and a one-semester introductory chemistry course for nursing students."

Flagstaff, AZ: Northern Arizona University is looking for a lecturer for general and physical chemistry. Offered salary: $50-55k.

Buffalo, NY: SUNY-Buffalo is looking for a general and organic chemistry lecturer.