You ever have one of those days where you do something in lab that’s totally routine, but then you encounter something that just makes you happy to be a chemist?  I had one of those today.  Most of the compounds I deal with are oils or liquids, but today I made a compound that crystallized after concentrating the organic layer after the reaction.  Nice white crystals with no purification at all.  That freakin’ rules.

I kinda want to try to sublime it now, because sublimation is easily the best part of chemistry.

By August 16, 2006 0 comments synthetic chemistry

Blogging: An Outlet for the New Generation of Chemists.

Maybe I am selling the whole world short, but this blog thing is just exploding in the chemistry community. I’m a pretty avid blog reader, especially the chemistry ones, but that has been a recent development. I have to credit Dylan over at Tenderbutton for that. Dylan has approached his blog in a way that fellow grad students can really appreciate: the day-to-day difficulties in the lab, fascinating little observations, and a healthy shot of irreverant criticism of the chemical literature. This though process is nothing new, grad students have these conversations amongst themselves all the time, but Dylan seems to have made it okay for everyone to write these things on the internet. This is really great because you get to see what other people are thinking about the issues that are out there and see a little slice of how other people perceive chemistry. I like to read a bunch of the chemistry blogs just to get a feel for how new ideas are being accepted.

The blog atmosphere is very different from some of the other chemistry focused sites out there. Most of them are informational (e.g. and some are for teaching (e.g. Chemical Forums), which is all fine and good, but those sites don’t leave a lot of room for discussion with real experts (or aspiring experts) in the field. The key is that these blogs allow chemists to see how to think about problems (and solutions) in chemistry in a very critical way. It’s easy to pick up the latest issue of a journal and talk about how great some newly discovered reaction is, but it is perhaps more important to be able to identify the short comings of that chemistry because in doing so you will identify the next set of problems. Perhaps we chemists should look at these blogs as a way to better our own ability to look at the way we do science so that we can do it better!

Vivo el blogosphere de la química!

By August 14, 2006 0 comments Uncategorized

ChemBlogs is live to the internet public

First, thanks to all the beta testers that helped trouble shoot the ChemBlogs software package for me. So if you haven’t already registered an account at go do it and blog away. We already have over 30 blogs there and more are always welcome. If you encounter a bug post it in the ChemBlogs forum. I’ll start writing useful tips at my blog there


Sorry webqc, I decided to go solo. Sad

By August 14, 2006 0 comments chem 2.0

Photos from the recent Symposium on Current Trends in Nuclear Physics at LBNL

This past Saturday was the 80th birthday bash for Wladek Swiatecki. When you become older birthday bashes involve several hours of seminars from people whose research you contributed to. At the recent birthday bash I was able to get some nice photos with Darleane Hoffman and Al Ghiorso one is shown below. If you do not know them they are most famous for their work in the 5f and 6d row of the periodic table. Al is the world record holder for the discoverer of the most elements and I think isotopes too. Picture is below.

You can also make out half of Peter Armbruster’s face in the background (Santa Claus guy). If you don’t know who Peter Armbruster is, who are you? And why are you reading this? Tongue

And for everyone in the audience, please use power point for talks. I promise its not that difficult to learn.

By June 19, 2006 0 comments Uncategorized