Friday, December 8, 2017

Samsung chargers

A list of small, useful things (links):
Again, an open invitation to all interested in writing a blog, a hobby that will bring you millions thousands hundreds tens of dollars joy and happiness. Send me a link to your post, and I'd be happy to put it up.

Have a good weekend!

The 2016 Survey of Earned Doctorates is out

The 2016 Survey of Earned Doctorates is out. Here's the data on graduates in the 2016 academic year and their post-graduation plans. I've taken a screenshot, here's the data in PDF and Excel format.

A quick look indicates that the percentage of respondents who have definite employment plans has risen 4% from 2015, the percentage of respondents who have no definite plans has decreased by a similar percentage.

Also of interest is the overall median basic salaries of new chemistry Ph.D. graduates who are not postdoctoral fellows:

Academia: 50,000
Industry: 93,000
Government: 80,000
Nonprofit: 100,000
Other: 58,000

(Do note that the number of chemistry Ph.D.s who have gone to non-profit positions is quite low (1.5% of those with definite employment plans).

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs List: 87 positions

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs list has 87 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, computational positions (this will likely change), academic positions (likely never.)

8 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Over at Common Organic Chemistry, there's 8 new positions posted for December 5.

The Process Chemistry Jobs List: 61 positions

The Process Chemistry Jobs List has 61 positions.

Want to chat process jobs? Try the open thread. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

John Urschel, NFL football player and graduate student

I missed this rather wonderful Sports Illustrated story by Tim Rohan about John Urschel, the former Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman and math graduate student at MIT. Here's something from that story that all of you can likely sympathize with: 
Meanwhile, Urschel was also periodically checking in with [CJ's note: MIT mathematics professor Michel] Goemans about the assignments for his reading credits. But “I’m, like, in season, so I’m busy,” Urschel says. “Michel was like, ‘Send me updates, let me know how it’s going.’ I’m really just skimming things. I’m completely blowing off this other stuff.” And the reading that Urschel was “blowing off” covered topics that would be included on his doctoral qualifying exam, which was coming up in February. If Urschel failed that test and didn’t subsequently pass in a certain period of time, he’d be kicked out of MIT. “Basically I’d be screwed,” he says.
After the Ravens’ finished that 2015 season 5-11, well out of the playoffs, Urschel spent all of January cramming for the qualifying exam. He’d work at the chalkboard in his house for 12 hours a day, reviewing the material, making stacks of notes. Then he’d have Louisa Thomas, his soon-to-be fiancée, quiz him into the night. When the test day finally arrived, Urschel was “nervous like I’ve never been before a football game,” he says. It was an oral exam, so he had to stand in front of three professors who peppered him with questions for three hours.
Also, this hilarious little tidbit, which shows that Mr. Urschel really is a graduate student:
But leaving MIT was still hard. The first time Urschel left for OTAs, he asked an MIT friend to periodically rearrange the things on his desk, to make it look as if he were still there. If anyone asks, just say vaguely that I’m around.
John, don't let grad student secrets out!  

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 456 positions

The 2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 456 positions.

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

On December 4, 2016, the 2017 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 508 positions.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Try the open thread.

Otherwise, all discussions are on the Chemistry Faculty Jobs List webforum.

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 32 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 32 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady. It targets:
  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States
Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Your morning raised eyebrow

Also in this week's issue of C&EN, an article by outgoing ACS Board of Directors chair Pat N. Confalone: 
My watch began in 2007 just when the financial markets were on the verge of collapse and the Great Recession was about to commence. 
Working closely with ACS management, the board of directors had to take immediate action guided by the ACS finance department. Those were difficult days that required hard choices such as freezing the defined contribution retirement plan, capping the society’s financial contributions to the retiree medical plan, calling for a hiring freeze along with a workforce reduction, and eliminating open requisitions for new hires. Without these difficult steps, the society would have become technically insolvent in 2008 to 2009. 
As employment in the chemical industry began to track the downward spiral in the general economy, we ramped up the many services for unemployed chemists and established an entrepreneurial initiative to help members interested in chemically based start-ups. 
Fortunately, those challenging years are largely behind us, allowing for a laser focus on all the wonderful programs that ACS offers.
It's not clear to me that 1) services for unemployed chemists were significantly ramped up, or that spending on these services was dramatically increased and 2) that these challenging years are largely behind us. Naturally, people are going to point to the lower ACS Salary Survey unemployment rates, and I am going to point back to the fact that the median ACS member salary has stagnated when measured against inflation. 'Twas ever thus, including senior ACS volunteer leadership patting themselves on the back for unclear outcomes and NOT preparing the Society's domestic members for the next recession.

*It is AMAZING to me that the only nod to enabling member careers is about entrepreneurship in Chair Confalone's 21 Board accomplishments and responsibilities. If the answer from the American Chemical Society's Board to "help me with my career in chemistry" is "make your own job", then what's the point of the ACS?

This week's C&EN

From this week's issue of Chemical and Engineering News:

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Update on the Senate tax bill/tuition waivers

The Senate early Saturday morning narrowly approved major tax legislation roundly opposed by higher education leaders and student groups... 
The 51-to-49 Senate vote sets up negotiations with House leaders over substantial differences between the two bills. Most in higher education view that House bill as substantially more harmful for students and colleges than the Senate bill, but that doesn't mean they don't have major concerns over the Senate legislation. 
...But the Senate plan does not include provisions stripping many tax benefits for students pursuing a college or graduate degree or paying off their loans, making it a significant improvement over the House bill, said Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education, in a statement. Student and faculty groups mobilized protests across the country this week against the elimination of those student tax benefits. Those protests focused in particular on a provision of the House bill that would tax graduate student tuition waivers as income -- a change that those groups say would make graduate education unattainable for many students....
I suspect the tuition waiver will go away, but my assessment of my ability to predict political outcomes has taken a dive as of late...

UPDATE: Derek Lowe has some good advice on calling your elected representatives.

From ACS' lobbying effort Act4Chemistry:

  • The House voted and passed H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act - the bill does not preserve the graduate education tax waiver
  • The Senate voted and passed H.R. 1 - the bill preserves the graduate education tax waiver
  • Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX-08) stated there may be flexibility on the House's elimination of the graduate education tax waiver
  • Congress will now work to reconcile the different versions of the House and Senate tax bill.

Friday, December 1, 2017

View From Your Hood: morning rotovap edition

Credit: Moses Moustakim
From Moses Moustakim: "A bright winter Saturday morning on the Old Road Campus/SGC, University of Oxford."

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

Interesting aspect of Bay Area startup growth

Other folks probably know more about this than I do, but it's interesting to see the outgrowth of non-pharma/biotech-related startups in the Bay Area: 
Research Scientist I / II - Synthetic Chemistry Asilomar Bio, Inc. - San Francisco Bay Area, CA 
At Asilomar Bio, we’re working to improve agriculture by tackling some of the biggest challenges that farmers encounter. We are a life science company developing chemical and biological products to improve crop harvest yields and resource efficiency. We believe that using chemistry to reprogram plant physiology (including water use, nutrient use, photosynthesis, and development) will enable a ‘step change’ in agricultural productivity and sustainability. 
Asilomar Bio is seeking a motivated Synthetic Chemist to join the company’s chemical discovery and development team. The primary responsibility of this role will be the design and synthesis of novel small molecule active ingredients that meet Asilomar’s technical and strategic goals. The successful candidate will join a dynamic and multidisciplinary team working from the molecular level to the field scale. The position will be based in the San Francisco Bay Area and report to the Director of Chemistry.
Looks to be entry-level-ish. Full details here. Best wishes to those interested.