Archive for the ‘Conferences’ Category

ACS Meeting in Denver: Who Went to Bergman’s Talk?

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

I’m here in Denver for the 2,745,456th national meeting of the American Chemical Society.  Denver is a great city: very compact and walkable, especially without any snow.

Anyway, I’m told that the Sames–Sezen story was a major focus of Bob Bergman‘s HIST 005 presentation titled “Irreproducibility in the scientific literature: How often do scientists tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth?”  I’m also told that he and Ron Breslow had an exchange in the question-and-answer period.

Does anyone know what, exactly, was discussed?

Oh, and I’m giving a talk tomorrow at 3:30 in CCC 108.  If you are one of the three people who stays at national meetings past Wednesday, please come!

Nomadic Professors and Other Thoughts from Anaheim

Monday, April 11th, 2011

I jotted down a couple of things from the recent ACS conference in Anaheim, where on the whole, I had a good—but not great—time.  I think there is one big thing that is missing from ACS conferences, but that will be the subject of a future post.  In the meantime…

Giving Total Synthesis a Fair Shake

I decided the program was a good opportunity to reassess my disdain of total synthesis.  There is good total synthesis, and there is bad total synthesis; both were on display in Anaheim.  Baran gave an excellent talk on palau’amine and some interesting chemistry that followed.  At a later session, I sat through a 45-minute talk (by a huge name in synthesis) that was easily the most dull presentation (on insipid work) that I experienced during the entire conference.  The student talks in total synthesis did a good job of framing the common trials and tribulations associated with the sport…in which I have no desire (or ability) to compete.

Dreadful Attendance

I attended most of a session on reaction methodology that comprised talks from grad students and postdocs.  At one point, the room contained 14 people—yes, I counted.  Why pay hundreds of dollars to travel to California when more people would hear your talk if you opened your office door and shouted down the hallway?  And it’s not like this was one of those late Thursday sessions…it was on Monday afternoon.  Yes yes, these students are gaining valuable experience in public speaking and they get to attend the other talks at the conference, but still…14 people?  That is just sad.

Nomadic Professors

Aside from the science he presented, Stephen Buchwald‘s talk contained two interesting tidbits of information which were not necessarily new, but were new to me.  First, I was unaware that his ligand RuPhos was named after his cat Rufus.  Second, Buchwald casually mentioned during his talk that John Hartwig is moving from Illinois to Berkeley.  That struck me as peculiar, since it seems just like yesterday that Hartwig moved from Yale to Illinois.  Perhaps it was fitting that Buchwald’s talk was in a symposium honoring David MacMillan, whose career saw him move from Berkeley to Caltech to Princeton in a span of 7 years.  On one hand, you can’t fault someone for working his way up in the world (Illinois is an upgrade over Yale, Berkeley is an upgrade over Urbana-Champaign).  Also, sometimes tenure, promotions, and lab upgrades play a role.  On the other hand, such rapid movement has got to wreak havoc on all of the students/postdocs/families caught in the wave.  I imagine there could also be frayed nerves among the faculties of the spurned schools, who probably went to great lengths to recruit the jumpy professors in the first place.  When you live by the sword, you die by the sword, I suppose.  Perhaps the most interesting case of professorial movement is that of Jonas Peters, who moved from Caltech to MIT in 2007, then back to Caltech again in 2010.  And yes, I know of at least one student who made *both* moves.

ACS Anaheim

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Hi there.  Sorry for ignoring the blog of late; I’ve been swamped.  What’s new?

Well, this week, I’ll be commuting daily to the ACS conference in sunny Anaheim, California—a city that my undergrad advisor has dubbed the “armpit of America.”

Monday and Tuesday nights, I’ll be presenting the same poster at the Sci-Mix and Organic Division poster sessions.  Stop by the convention center from 8-10 pm!  We can talk science.  We can gossip.  We can sing Disney songs.  It’s going to be grand.

For bite-sized updates, check out the @ChemBark Twitter feed and everyone else using the #acsanaheim hashtag.

ChemBark Monthly!

Monday, November 12th, 2007

Happy Veterans’ Day, Gentlepersons.  Here are some items for your consumption:

– I recently registered for the Spring ACS National Meeting in New Orleans.  My talk will probably be the worst disaster to hit the city since…uhhh…nevermind.  In all seriousness, I look forward to the four days of wall-to-wall chemistry, since I really didn’t get the chance to consume that much in Boston.  It will also be interesting to see what’s going on with the reconstruction efforts following Katrina.  I assume that all of the debaucherous elements of the city will have been restored by April.  Is anyone else going?

–  The Crimson got to this story about a month late.  Someone’s moving to MIT…or not (?)  I really don’t get why there is any confusion here; the people being quoted are seemingly the ones who should know exactly what’s going on.

–  Later this week, Prof. Dr. E.J. Corey will sell and sign copies of his newest book in Harvard’s historic chemistry library.  I wonder if he’ll take personal requests.  “Professor Corey, could you please make this one out to ‘the greatest chemist of all time’?  Thanks.”

–  Retread has passed along the next installment of his Rip Van Winkle series, and I shall post it in short order.

Thanks for reading,
Rudy Paul


A Quickie Update

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

So, I’ve been ignoring the blog a little bit. Or, rather, a lot. You understand, right?

Two things:

1. The ACS is coming. Lots of good talks. I previously floated the idea of a ChemBark BBQ, and after further thought, that will not be happening. It has zero to do with money. It has something to do with time/organzation. And it has lots to do with the fact that while 98% of you are probably great people, 2% of you probably can’t be trusted. That means if 20 of you were to come, there’d be a 33% chance of something really nasty happening to the Dawghouse. That’s too risky.

1a. Drinks or dinner at a neutral location is a much better option. Everyone’s got to eat, right? I’ve got no problems treating fellow 98-percenters to pitchers of beer in Harvard Square or whereever people fancy. And I have no idea what other meet-ups the blogosphere has planned. It’s probably easier if we combine forces. How does Wednesday sound?

2. I can easily see this semi-blog-hiatus continuing for a while. I realize that stinks, but those are the breaks. As Retread is gone for a spell as well, that will mean posting will be sparse. If anyone wants to join Retread in taking a turn at posting, feel free to send a prospective post my way. You needn’t use your real name so long as you keep the gloves on.

That’s it. And…commence complaining…now.


Creepy Internet Meet-up details are here.  Tuesday night, 11pm around the Convention Center.  Wednesday evening, 7:30pm, in Harvard Square.

The special C&EN Boston blog is up.  Nature’s Sceptical Chymists, Chemistry World, The Chem Blog, and Mitch are here too (links on sidebar at right).