Friday, September 22, 2017

View From Your Hood: Tower edition

Credit: St. Andrews Lynx
"One of my favourite fume hood views ever, from my former research position at Imperial. Sunlight on Queens Tower makes it look stunning."

(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.)

C&EN seeking sources: ten years after the Great Recession

From the inbox:
C&EN is seeking sources for an upcoming feature 
Were you laid off during the Great Recession in 2007 and 2008? Or, was your career impacted in some other significant way (lost grant funding, lost employees, shuttered your business, etc.)? If so, C&EN would like to find out how you’ve been doing since then for a feature story on the 10th anniversary of the economic recession. We’re looking for chemists from industry, academia, government, and self-employment. Please e-mail Linda Wang at if you’re willing to share your story.   
This is an important topic - I am glad to see C&EN covering it. 

Who is being hired in Big Pharma med chem and process positions these days?

A question, precipitated by a recent missive to the inbox:

What is Big Pharma looking for these days in process/med chem positions, in terms of pedigree/publications? I presume that there are some who are getting in without postdocs, and some who are being hired with postdocs - what is happening more where you are?

Readers, what say you?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs List: 125 positions

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs list has 125 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), academic positions (likely never.)

Is industry better at dealing with sexual harassment than academia?

I haven’t been able to express my thoughts about Linda Wang and Andrea Widener’s cover article in this week's C&EN on sexual harassment in academia. (I should note here that Linda is my editor for the Bench and Cubicle columns that I write for C&EN.)

While we're doing full disclosure here, I should note my opinions on the issue: I don't have any doubt that sexual harassment has and does happen in academia. For any particular case of academic sexual harassment that is brought to light in the public, I am much more inclined to believe the accuser who comes forward.

I thought it was a well-researched, comprehensive and gripping article that forced the reader to confront the reality of sexual harassment in the chemical sciences. Each story demonstrated the impact of sexual harassment:  a woman student who is harassed by an male adviser will find themselves isolated, confused, doubting themselves, unable to communicate these issues easily with confidants, potentially ashamed to go their family and they will face a departmental structure that is incentivized to have that student disappear.

What I am most struck by in the article is the pervasive sense that academic departments and universities will continue to self-police. In my humble opinion, no academic process outside of a court of law can deliver a just outcome. After watching the UC system defend Professor Patrick Harran against the Los Angeles District Attorney to the tune of millions of dollars, does anyone think that universities will step up for those at the bottom of the academic hierarchy? I am not really one that is inclined to legislative solutions to problems, but I am certainly tempted by the article's mention of Rep. Speier's bill that would require substantiated cases of harassers to be reported to the funding agencies. If it's a bad idea, it's a useful one that will introduce some threat of accountability into the system.

Something that I was surprised at was this statement from "Elizabeth":
"Some people think industry is where the harassment happens,” Elizabeth says. “But in industry, creeps get fired."
On Twitter, there were a number of people who found this statement worthy of some skepticism.

I am certainly skeptical as well, but I think that it depends on what she meant by "industry." For the 40% of Americans who work at companies with more than 1000 employees, I have no doubt that HR departments (and the lawyers that birthed them) fundamentally expect and enforce a zero-tolerance perspective on issues of sexual harassment. For smaller companies? I also have no doubt that there are well-run shops where sexual harassment is not welcome, and there are some (many?) that probably have terrible cultures.

So I am inviting industrial readers: do you think sexual harassment happens less in industry? If so, why? (My guess: the power differential between employer and employee is never quite the gulf that it is between PI and student.)

The Process Chemistry Jobs List: 54 positions

The Process Chemistry Jobs List has 54 positions.

Want to chat process jobs? Try the open thread. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

"Psssst, hey kid"

"Got some postdocs, too." 

Nominate a colleague for the prestigious National Chemical Technician Award

From the inbox:
Do you know an outstanding chemical technician who deserves special recognition? If so, please consider nominating that person for the 2018 National Chemical Technician Award.

Nominees must be currently employed as a chemical technician, and must have worked as a chemical technician for at least five years. Technicians hold a range of titles, including process operator, laboratory analyst, technologist, and research associate.

Nominees, who do not need to be ACS members, will be judged on their contributions in the following areas: technical achievement, leadership and mentoring, publications, presentations, patents, quality and safety practices, and professional and community activities.

Nomination packets must be received by the ACS Committee on Technician Affairs by Oct. 18, 2017.

The 2018 recipient will receive a $1000 honorarium, plaque, and a trip to the ACS national meeting in New Orleans, where he or she will be honored at a special luncheon on Sunday, March 18, 2018. 
For more information or to nominate someone, visit Send questions to
Best wishes to those interested.  

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 268 positions

The 2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 268 positions.

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

Want to talk anonymously? Try the open thread.

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

Faculty position: assistant professor of physical chemistry, Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA

The Chemistry Department of Whitman College invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor position in Physical Chemistry, effective August 2018. The successful candidate will exhibit potential for excellence in teaching and will establish an undergraduate research program in physical chemistry. The successful candidate will offer courses in physical chemistry and general chemistry and will also contribute to the College’s general education requirement, with an annual teaching load of five courses. Additional duties include advising and mentoring students and participating in faculty governance at the department and college level. Whitman College is a highly selective liberal arts school that values both teaching and scholarship, offers a generous sabbatical program, and provides support for professional development, start-up funds, and benefits. 
Candidates must have a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry. Postdoctoral experience and/or additional teaching experience is highly recommended.
Full ad here. Best wishes to those interested.  

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 18 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 18 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.that works, too.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? This post will serve as the open thread.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Sexual harassment in academia

In this week's C&EN, a cover story by Linda Wang and Andrea Widener on sexual harassment: 
It started innocently enough. He was a prominent chemistry professor at a major research university, and she was eager to make a good impression. “I was a pretty insecure grad student in my early years, and the fact that he was paying attention to me and interested in my work and how I was doing in his class was kind of flattering,” says Tara (not her real name). 
The professor was not her adviser. Nevertheless, “He invited me to lunch a few times and just sought me out quite a bit. And then he invited me over to his house to watch a movie. He didn’t do anything inappropriate. But after that night, I was like, ‘Something’s weird here; he has a family.’ And his family was away for the weekend.” 
Those seemingly innocent actions became increasingly inappropriate. “The culmination was when he wrote me a love note. It was a proposition note, I guess. It basically said he wanted to have an affair with me. I stormed into his office and said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. This is offensive. I thought you were hanging out with me because I was talented.’ ” 
After that incident, Tara went out of her way to avoid the professor. “It was really hard,” she says, in part because his office was along the hallway she traversed between her lab and desk. Yet she didn’t report the situation to anyone. “I felt guilty, like I had somehow done something to have brought this on,” she says. 
Tara’s story is a common one in university chemistry departments nationwide, echoing the problems of sexual harassment in the larger science community and the nation. While chemistry hasn’t had a sexual harassment case come to national prominence yet, most female chemists can tell stories of harassment or discrimination of themselves or their colleagues. It may be among the reasons women aren’t reaching parity in chemistry Ph.D. programs and faculty positions. 
“It was one of the many factors why I ultimately was unsatisfied and uncomfortable in science,” says Tara, who completed her Ph.D. but decided to leave chemistry and is now working in an unrelated field....
Read the whole thing.

Friday, September 15, 2017

5 inch Draeger tubes

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.

The best skills gap article you will read this week

From Crain's Chicago Business, just a fantastic statistical and anecdotal flaying of the supposed skills gap (emphases mine): 
...But when demand for workers spikes, wages climb, too. Except for a handful of job titles, there isn't much wage inflation in Chicago manufacturing. 
The median manufacturing worker in the Chicago metro area saw wages rise 5 percent from 2012 to 2016 to $33,000 a year, even as wages for all occupations rose 6.9 percent in that period. The average 151,000 U.S. manufacturing workers quitting their jobs each month in 2016, presumably to take higher-paying jobs, was still 27 percent lower than the number quitting before the recession. Taken together, the data suggest that employers aren't so desperate for talent that they're willing to raise wages. 
Yet the companies that have the easiest time attracting candidates are the ones that pay the most, says Anne Edmunds, regional vice president at staffing firm Manpower Group... 
...Employers may not be able to afford to raise wages if they aren't making a high-margin product, or if they need to invest in new machinery, says Jim Nelson, vice president for external affairs at the Illinois Manufacturers' Association. 
Anyway, higher pay won't improve the quality of applicants. Job-seekers need 10th-grade math and reading skills—"Too many people apply for manufacturing jobs who are unable to read a blueprint"—and they need to pass a drug test and show up on time. "Manufacturing is not the consolation prize for an occupation," he says. "It is a high-skilled, rewarding career." 
Except it's a career that in Chicago has a median annual wage of $32,860. That's higher than other occupations that draw from a similar worker pool, like janitorial services or low-skilled health care like home health aides. But unlike in manufacturing, wages in those fields have grown 10 to 15 percent in recent years to roughly $27,000.
It's a good article - read the whole thing.

Daily Pump Trap: 9/15/17 edition

A few positions posted recently at C&EN Jobs:

Topeka, KS: The Kansas Health & Environmental Laboratories are searching for an ion chromatograph chemist. $19.16 hourly; can vary depending upon experience and qualifications. B.S. desired.

Washington D.C.: Applications are being accepted for AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships. $75-100k offered.

Key West, FL and elsewhere: Interesting set of naval positions available with Excet. A corrosion engineer position (FL), an analytical chemist position (DC), a coating chemist position (DC) and a formulation chemist position (DC.)

Beerse (Ville), Turnhout (BE): Janssen is looking for experienced medicinal chemists for neuroscience work. Ph.D. in organic chemistry, 2-5 years experience.

Huh: Not every day you get an Indian position around these parts. Applied Materials (Mumbai, India) is looking for a M.S./Ph.D. senior chemist for semiconductor work.

Ivory Filter Flask: 9/15/17 edition

A few academic positions posted recently at C&EN Jobs:

Urbana, IL: UIUC, conducting an open-rank search focusing on "a special emphasis on analytical, inorganic, and materials chemistry." 

Queens, NY: St. John's University is looking for an assistant professor of medicinal chemistry. 

Austin, TX: Open-field search at UT-Austin for two assistant professors.

Amherst, MA: Amherst College, looking for an assistant professor of inorganic chemistry. 

Terre Haute, IN: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology is hiring an assistant professor of organic chemistry and an assistant professor of analytical chemistry.

Burnaby, BC: Simon Fraser University is searching for an assistant professor of nuclear medicinal chemistry.

Nice name: There's a multi-university Actinide Center of Excellence? They're looking for postdocs at various universities (Notre Dame, Washington State, Oregon State, Minnesota, Northwestern.) Must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs List: 160 positions

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs list has 160 positions.

(So it's been a while since the list has had a purging, so that's coming soon.)

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.)

The Process Chemistry Jobs List: 50 positions

The Process Chemistry Jobs List has 50 positions.

Want to chat process jobs? Try the open thread.