The short answer is: science is performed by people. Not all people are trust-worthy, but we have to assume they are otherwise no progress would be made.
I’m sure you know by now that the details of the Sames-Sezen case have just been discovered by people who thought it was worth the trouble of obtaining the 2010 report on the investigation of Sezen’s methods of purposeful deceit, and made public on at least two blogs and in C&EN. At this point, I think whatever details of the case that are out there are all that’s going to be made public. People will have to continue to wonder about the rumors circulating about the other circumstances surrounding the situation. At least one person appears to be quite obsessed with the case beyond the bounds of investigative reporting, which is a bit odd to me and probably not very healthy, but at the end of it all, the information is out there, and science once again is self-correcting one way or another.
Image courtesy of quinn.anya on Flickr
So what to take away from this, besides some sensationalism about this being the worst case of deceit in chemistry? (I’d just like to point out that there may be worse cases out there in history…. but at any given time, the deceit could have be so good that no one ever knew it happened. Keep that in mind.) There was clearly a breakdown of roles between the PI and the graduate student. Conversations I’ve had with people in labs from a bunch of...
Apparently, laboratory instructors and undergraduate mentors aren’t the only ones with the bane of reading insanely terrible research papers – the editor of the ACS journal Analytical Chemistry, Royce Murray, clearly has had his fill as well, according to his editorial in the current ASAPs.
His humor is very similar to that found in The Onion, and reminded me of How to Write a Scientific Paper on Improbable Research.
Brilliant. The only thing that has made me laugh out loud this hard lately was catching a part of the show ‘Ancient Aliens’ on the History Channel last night in which someone said that “one possible explanation of why the Mayans vanished was because they were aliens.”
In all seriousness, though, it is an understatement to say it’s quite obvious that scientific writing isn’t emphasized as well as it should be, it should be addressed at the undergraduate level as early as possible.
I am continuously impressed by the publications that have appeared since Prof. Keith Fagnou’s shocking passing a little over a year ago. The chemical community still mourns; it is clear from these post-mortem publications that Fagnou’s – and his clearly dedicated and talented graduate students and post-docs – brilliance lives on. (Note – this is the same article that appears on Chemical Crystallinity.)
The chemistry that Fagnou has truly spearheaded, direct C-H functionalization, is a method of forming C-C, C-N, C-B, etc bonds without having to prepare one of the coupling partners, as in traditional transition-metal catalyzed cross-coupling reactions. Palladium, rhodium and ruthenium are commonly used catalysts in direct C-H functionalization reactions. Fagnou has published a great deal on arylation reactions of a wide variety of substrates and even a bit on direct benzylation reactions. Some fairly recent reviews are linked in a previous post at my own blog.
A recent publication in Journal of Organic Chemistry (doi: 10.1021/jo102081a), “Predictable and Site-Selective Functionalization of Poly(hetero)arene Compounds by Palladium Catalysis,” published by David Lapointe and coworkers, explores the development of two approaches to selectively functionalizing multi-ring systems – 1) using site-selective reaction conditions, and 2) a pathway with a particular order of reactivity according to a concerted metalation-deprotonation...
The Maker Faire is a “World Science Fair” event conceived and organized by those who produce Make magazine, which is described as “a do-it-yourself technology magazine written by makers.” It was held in three cities this year – NYC, Detroit, and the Bay Area. The Faire happened in NYC at the New York Hall of Science in Queens last weekend and was a fantastic, energetic composite of things going on. Well worth the trek to get out that far into Queens!
The event embodied the “do-it-yourself technology” theme, featuring exhibits with a heavy focus on science, cool demonstrations, and lots of do-it-yourself booths where “makers” hosted hands-on activities for children and adults alike. Naturally, something like this was irresistible to me, and I was able to attend for free since I was volunteering at a booth (unrelated to science or technology – I was with a group of a different kind of maker). I didn’t get too much of a chance to spend time at many of the huge number of booths and exhibits, unfortunately, which was a huge bummer.
The schedule was overwhelmingly packed – definitely intended for people to spend an entire day there. There was a demonstration stage, multiple craft tents, a huge food area, a beer tent tucked in there (which seemed to result in me getting security to throw out one guy who was harassing one of the women I was working with), and a large handmade craft sale section hosted...
The most recycled waste is not glass, aluminum cans, plastic, or electronics, according to the EPA’s Municipal Solid Waste Report, last compiled with 2008 data, which I was referred to from a recent Scientific American article. It is car batteries, almost all of which are recycled. I actually have wondered what happens when they die, but I’m so glad to know that they ARE recycled. Just a nice tidbit of knowledge for you there. Recycling is more or less on the rise overall (see graph from the EPA report), thank goodness, despite the persistent folk out there who firmly believe that recycling has no net benefit and therefore don’t even try.
Recycling is obviously on the minds of environmentally-conscious chemists (and other people, I hear other people exist) – but when you think of recycling and trying to green up your daily work life, what do you think of? Recyclable catalyst, acetone recycling, reading articles on your computer screen instead of on paper (including opting-out of C&EN’s print issues which, consequently, has decreased the degree to which I use it as a procrastination tool and the depth in which I read the non-science concentrates). But what do YOU do? I’m really curious to know. Do you just shrug and carry on?
Guilt about the waste that we generate – and I can only attest to synthetic organic chemists and those who deal with tissue culture when it comes to the byproducts of science – is so,...