Articles by: noel

n-doped: a semiconductor anthem

I don’t know if anyone has posted this video before, but it’s worth reposting for those who haven’t seen it.

This YouTube video is a song based on the Justin Timberlake hit “Lovestoned/I think she knows”.[1] As the title suggested, it’s a full 5:25 song about n-doped semiconductors. If you are familiar with this particular JT album like I am, you would probably be extra amuse that this guy got every line of his version to rhyme exactly like the original. Anyway, enjoy the sexy tune, while I return to the frantic world of first year grad students.[2]


[1] You can find the original here. For what it’s worth, I think it’s a great song from a great album.

[2] I’m picking a group in 3 weeks! Life is INSANE right now.

By October 8, 2009 3 comments Uncategorized

What not to wear (to work); updated

Edit: In response to the comments on how I feel about lab coats, this is absolutely not to undermine the importance of PPE. Closed toe shoes, safety goggles, gloves and long pants are worn at all times, in addition to clothing with only natural fiber. Face shields and the likes are always in order when needed. I guess the lab coat culture at the company I worked at just was not very prominent.

In a 2001 interview[1], George Eads was asked to comment about his character, the ever so adorable Nick Stokes from CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. “I like the fact that my character is a scientist for the new millennium, in that, why does the scientist have to be a nerd?” he said, “I mean, why is it that when we think of a scientist we often think of coke bottle glasses and chalky white skin?”

What he said here inspired me to write this post about one aspect of social aptness: fashion. The stuff you wear as a chemist.

Last year I graduated from college and returned to work for a research lab that I had interned for the summer before. Armed with a diploma and a hefty pay raise, I was determined to make a more significant impact both in my work and my appearance. I didn’t want to look like an intern anymore.

Over the next months I started filling my wardrobe with knits, cardigans, dress shirts and the likes. My goal was youthful business casual (I hope). My mother especially welcomed the change. Right about the time I started to dress better than my post-doc, I left the job to go to grad school.

Now I’m searching for another identity. This time, I am trying to dress somewhere between my old self, the California beach bum, and the polished research associate that I was playing. Although it seems clear that some of my colleagues have more important things in mind (i.e. the boys definitely weren’t watching what they’re wearing), I was determine to figure it out.

The interesting thing is, stereotype aside, dress code and the sense of fashion really does have something to do with your field of discipline.[2] I was in awe when my boyfriend put on his suit jacket to teach his “Faith, Doubt and Fanaticism” class[3], since he would acts like he it’d kill him to wear long pants. I, on the other hand, really can’t afford to buy nice clothing just to ruin them with organic solvent.

After all, there is no store that caters to chemists and sells tasteful, business casual, inexpensive to a point of almost disposable clothing that is made of 100% cotton (bonus points for being chemically inert and a fire retardant). Or is there? Does any business-minded readers out there want to start something like that?

And seriously. When you cross from being a student (undergraduate, grad, whatever) to a young professional, a change in the way you dress is definitely something to consider. But where do you start when fashion is a totally new territory? And considering the nature of our jobs, how do you do it in a reasonable and affordable manner?


P.S. A comment on lab coats: I don’t know who is that diligent in wearing those. I only wear them when I’m dealing with really nasty things. It gets really warm inside the lab sometimes.


[2] One’s reluctance and sheer cluelessness of dressing up for anything at all can be seen at ACS conference. Where I must say women seem to have more trouble with formal wear.

[3] Humanities people get the best course titles

By September 22, 2009 12 comments Uncategorized

A new school and the inevitable fear of public speaking

Hello readers!

After 8 months, what seemed like an endless hiatus from school is finally over for me. Like many other schools that run on a semester system, my fall semester officially began as of today. And I’m terrified. Of teaching.

I was assigned to teach an accelerated gen chem course. And I will have about 80 students distributed among 3 sections. The upside is that I don’t have to teach lab and make sure kids don’t accidentally kill themselves and everyone around them. Downside is… I have to come face to face with my stage fright.

Throughout college, I paid my bills by overcharging wealthy Californian parents for tutoring their kids without shame. One-on-one, I am an excellent teacher. But due to the lack of experience to group teaching, I fear that what can go wrong will go wrong.

And as someone who had just gone through freshman year not too long ago, I feel that we (as TAs) have a moral obligation to perform the best we can to help and mentor these kids. They are not taking this class because they have to. They are all aspired budding science students like we were. Like I was. It’d be unfair to them to give them anything but our best after the hoops they had to jump through and the money their parents paid to support my education.

Anyway, I am terrified. I meet the class on Wednesday. Any suggestions on how to be an effective teacher/public speaker is wholeheartedly appreciated.


P.S. I had the pleasure of sitting through MANY “don’t sleep with your undergrad” lectures in the past two weeks, but what I enjoyed the most is still how to evacuate in the event of a tornado. Hello midwet! Hello corn! I love corn.

By August 24, 2009 5 comments Uncategorized

Supramolecular chemistry win and in other news

Hello everyone!

I’m not really sure what happened to the rest of the fellow bloggers, but I have been going through some interesting incidents myself. Long story short, I am shipping out to the Mid-west in a couple of days with all of my belongings (road trip, yay). Between finishing my project at the current job and preparing for the move, life is pretty hectic around here. Among other exciting updates is that Jes (Ψ*Ψ) from CBC came visit me from the sunny Santa Barbara.*

ANYWAY. Yes, Chemistry Blog… I found this gem on the science Reddit, and thought I really had to share. (Inorg. Chem., 2004, 43 (11), pp 3521–3527)


Ahh, supramolecular chemistry win.

Another chemistry news flash, the folks at GSI has formally submitted “copernicium” (Cp) as the name request for Element 112, in honor of Nicolaus Copernicus, to IUPAC on July 17. The Union will approve in six months, pending discussion in the “community”. So I guess we all need to talk about this. In my opinion, all is well, except now cyclopentadienyl “the bun” ligand needs a different name.

I guess I’ll return to the blog full time (?) once I arrive and situate myself in the new town. Until then, hope everyone is having a wonderful summer!


*Then there as the Harry Potter premiere and the Final Fantasy Concert performed by the San Francisco Symphony… Composer Nobuo Uematsu himself was there and I seriously cried when I saw him.

Via, source 1, 2

By July 25, 2009 11 comments Uncategorized