Now Accepting Nominations for the 2010 Chemmys

December 18th, 2010


I’m resurrecting the Chemmy Awards from the old site, but this year I actually plan to finish what I started.  In order to keep things simple, the categories will be as follows:

Outstanding Achievement/Paper in Organic or Biological Chemistry
Outstanding Achievement/Paper in Physical, Materials, or Analytical Chemistry
News Story of the Year
Chemical Hero(ine) of the Year
Chemical Villain of the Year
Accident of the Year

Please use the comments to make nominations.  The award winners will be announced in the first week of January.

30 Responses to “Now Accepting Nominations for the 2010 Chemmys”

  1. Matt Says:

    No inorganic?

  2. Paul Says:

    Oops…meant to group that with the second award. Basically, bio/org is one, everything else is the other.

  3. J-bone Says:

    I’ll start:

    Outstanding achievement: Baran (let the flame war and arguing about how overrated he is/isn’t begin, dude still completed some awesome projects this year)

    Chem hero of the year: Heck/Negishi/Suzuki. Brought the chemistry Nobel back to pure chemistry.

    News story of the year: I don’t think any single topic garnered more attention or vigorous discussion this year as the aggressive layoffs/restructuring in the pharma industry

    Accident of the year: Duh. Texas Tech.

  4. Chemjobber Says:

    Second TTU for Accident of The Year.

    Suggest News Story of The Year: Heck/Negishi/Suzuki. Lots of media coverage of organic chemistry/crosscoupling.

  5. Filthy Labcoat Says:

    Chemical villain of the year – Bengu Sezen, Ph.D., Columbia University garned a fair bit of attention this past year.

  6. Hap Says:

    Alternate for Accident of the Year – the red mud release in Hungary? It doesn’t have the blatant stupidity/cavalierness of the TTU accident, but covering 10 square miles of ground with red ph &gt 10 mud has that je ne sais quoi.

  7. Chemjobber Says:

    Accident of the year: GFAJ-1.

  8. WE Says:

    Nano Letters 2010 pp 2318–2322

  9. Paul Says:

    And Wolfie has outed himself, at last.

  10. Hap Says:

    Are you sure he/she wasn’t looking to self nominate for Chemical Villain of the Year?

  11. excimer Says:

    Accident of the year: Arsenic-based life? (oopsies there’s phosphate contamination my bad~ ^_^)

    Heroes of the Year: Heck, Suzuki, Negishi

    Villain of the Year: Chemistry Bloggers. Just ask Royce Murray.

  12. tt Says:

    1. Science paper on engineered transaminase enzymes for ketones to chiral amines:

    2. ??

    3. Arsenic organism for bogus/hyped news story of the year

    4. Nobel prize winners in chemistry..definate heros

    5. Bengu/Sames never gets old as villains, although the arsenic stuff may qualify as well.

    6. Texas Tech

  13. excimer Says:

    Actually I agree with the red mudslide in Hungary for Accident of the Year. The sheer scale of that disaster pales in comparison to any accident that happened stateside; here’s a picture as proof.

    …well, unless you want to include the April Deepwater Horizon explosion, which may be one of the biggest ecological disasters in human history.

  14. James Says:

    I’ll second tt’s nominations, esp the Codexis / Merck paper. That was good stuff.

  15. bad wolf Says:

    My Villain of the Year: Scott Kern, just beating Columbia University.

  16. Brian Says:

    1. ?
    2. Sunney Xie, for the measurement of the proteome of a single cell, with single-molecule sensitivity.
    3. GFAJ-1
    4. This year’s Nobel laurates
    5. BP (760 “egregious, willful” safety violoations, compared to a combined 19 such violations by its competitors)
    6. Deepwater Horizon

  17. Hap Says:

    What’s a few hundred million gallons of oil between friends? Besides, doesn’t the pretty green flower on our logo mean anything? (Besides it was all the oilworkers’ fault – they’re dead and can’t say anything, so I’m sticking with that.)

  18. J-bone Says:

    I actually will change my accident of the year vote from Texas Tech to BP or the Hungary spill. Both much more significant than a single student incident.

  19. Chemjobber Says:

    Disagree. BP or Hungary are on a scale that’s essentially unimaginable. TTU is something that we can learn day-to-day lessons from.

  20. Tt Says:

    Accident of the year is no doubt BP, but biggest lab accident would be Texas Tech.

  21. excimer Says:

    Paul, do I have to give out the “Douchebag 2010” award? Cause I will. Cast your votes?

  22. Paul Says:

    Yes, Excimer. CBC can take complete stewardship of that award. I’ll return my ballot in that category privately, but I’ll publically nominate Wolfie for troll of the year.

    And thanks for the nominations, everyone. Accident, villain, and news story have so many great contenders and so much overlap. It’s going to be tough to decide.

  23. Venga Says:

    The Villain of the Year (to my mind) indeed finished Maoecrystal V (JACS 2010, DOI: 10.1021/ja108907x) but the story behind it seeems no good (check out both Org Lett 2009 with DOISs: 10.1021/ol9014392 and 10.1021/ol901963v)

  24. Hap Says:

    I don’t really know what to learn from TT, though. “You should probably have safety shields when working with explosives (or potential explosives)” or “Don’t work on a hundred times the recommended scale with potential explosives” or “Don’t carry explosives around in little glass jars” or “Don’t grind up potential explosives on multigram scale in a mortar and pestle” seem to be the operative lessons, but, well somebody should have known those long before this happened. Perhaps a compare-and-contrast to the habits of competent explosives groups (Christe/Klapotke) might be in order, or the lesson of “Don’t let cowboys with not enough intelligence work in your group” might be useful, but I don’t know. TT is mostly useful as a Darwin Award Honorable Mention nominee, but that’s about it, I think.

    I think policy lessons can probably be learned from both Hungary and BP, though not day-to-day lab lessons. In the case of BP, I have no hope that they will ever be implemented (or that BP will be held accountable, really), because we need oil too much, but other companies of a less cavalier nature might learn from it.

    At this point, I’d probably vote for the synthesis of palau’amine as the org awardee – its yield sucks, but it is a neat route, and considering how much effort was spent on it by lots of people, it was a worthy target. I don’t know the phys/anal/etc chemistry enough to nominate their award.

  25. wolfie Says:

    thank you

  26. Gaythia Says:

    I disagree with Chemjobber above. If we want jobs, or even a safe planet to live on, we need to learn day to day lessons about how to deal with the worst of the excesses of certain large corporate entities and develop the means to hold them accountable.

  27. Chemjobber Says:

    Gaythia, I don’t mean that there aren’t lessons to be learned from BP/DwH, it’s just that most of them are not really applicable to lab situations. If you read the latest New York Times account of the accident, it’s pretty clear that it was a complex multi-system failure. While you can draw some typical lessons (do the safer thing, don’t cut corners), the technical details are of a scale that can’t be applied to the lives of a typical laboratory worker.

    By contrast, all of us have dealt with a TTU-like situation, i.e. a coworker that is doing many unsafe things, while PIs fiddle while said untrained worker works without basic safety equipment. I’ll bet that there is a research laboratory within 10 miles of where you’re living right now that is in that realm; I don’t doubt that’s the case for me.

  28. Gaythia Says:

    @chemjobber, You are, of course, correct. Although I would say that the underlying cause of all of the above is short-cutting taken for the sake of financial expedience, lack of appropriate concern for the risks that that expedient behavior creates, and unwillingness on the part of others to regulate these actions. And I wouldn’t call the BP or Hungary events unimaginable. There were warning signs that ought not to have been missed. While we, as chemists, do deal with situations that are potentially like that at TTU, we also do things like drive around without enough thought as to the processes involved in building our car or putting the fuel in our tanks.

    Here, what ChemBark is searching for is undoubtedly Lab accident of the year, not greatest global catastrophe. And publicity regarding the TTU accident can serve as an important wake up call for similar laboratories.

  29. Francis Says:

    Chemical Villain of the Year- a joint award to the CEOs of the major pharmaceutical companies (with a close second place given to the ACS executives for engorging themselves on the life’s blood of their members with lavish salaries.

    Tens of thousands of chemical jobs in the USA gone without so much as a whimper of resistance.

  30. ChemBark » Blog Archive » Now Accepting Nominations for the 2011 Chemmys Says:

    […] We have reached the end of the year, which means that it is once again time to decide who will take home the ChemBark Chemmy Awards for excellence (or the opposite) in chemistry. The categories are the same as last year: […]

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