Archive for the ‘articles’ Category

The Guardian comments on a paper that states that one half of all STEM grad do not get a job in science.

I like that this comment ends with:

…what’s the problem if Stem graduates end up in careers outside science and engineering? If anything, we need more of it. We’re crying out for more scientists and engineers to teach in schools, get into politics and the civil service, and become involved in running companies. The scientific method should be more embedded in society, not less.


Read Full Post »

I went to the American Chemical society meeting in Anaheim last week and listened to a fascinating talk by Alfredo M. Ayala Jr. He studied chemistry as an undergrad also with a interest in engineering and physics. At the end of his undergrad, he discovered that Disney Imagineering was looking for interns. He parlayed his organic chemistry knowledge into a solution to a problem they were having and got the job. He has been there ever since.

He has moved on from doing chemistry these days to doing robotic animation for the different rides. He said that at Disney people are not pigeonholed but can try new areas that interest them.

I guess that makes sense in a company that is all about creativity and imagination!!

Read Full Post »

Here is a link to a C&E News story about a polish grad student who was badly hurt working with nanomaterials…

February 27, 2008
Laboratory Safety
Explosion Injures Student
Accident involved nanostructured explosive materials

Jyllian N. Kemsley

Read Full Post »

February 22, 2008
Indian Chemist Is Found to Have Plagiarized and Falsified Articles

A professor at Sri Venkateswara University, in Tirupati, India, has been found to have plagiarized or falsified more than 70 research papers, according to an article in the magazine Chemical & Engineering News.

Wow! 70 papers in four years (2004-2007) – that is quite the body of work to have completed – I am surprised no one was suspicious before…but with the number of journals out there and the amount of work it is to just keep up with one’s own narrow subject area, fraud is hard to identify for reviewers.
The original C&E NEWS item describes the tough work reviewers and editors have:

CHIRANJEEVI’S PLAGIARISM of other scientists’ work was discovered by Purnendu K. (Sandy) Dasgupta, a chemistry professor at the University of Texas, Arlington, and U.S. editor of Analytica Chimica Acta. He says a reviewer, a former student of his, pointed out that a Chiranjeevi submission on measurement of arsenic(III) was similar to a published paper from a Japanese group on chromium(III). In fact, Dasgupta says, but for the change in the name of the chemical being measured, the papers were identical.[emphasis added! ed.]

Dasgupta also says editors and reviewers are overwhelmed and reliant on the honor system at the heart of scientific publishing. “Plagiarism can be guarded against,” he says, “but out-and-out fraud is hard to guard against.”

ONE TOOL that Dasgupta has used to find reviewers—and that might be useful in discovering plagiarism—is a Web-based tool called eTBlast. Developed by computational biologists at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, the free service does a similarity search of text that someone inputs with papers in Medline or other online databases. Dasgupta and others say it could be a powerful tool for weeding out plagiarism in journal manuscript submissions.

The developers of eTBlast have now developed a duplicate submission database called Deja vu. Both are available for free, eTBlast at invention.swmed.edu/ and Deja vu at spore.swmed.edu/dejavu.

So, boys and girls, as I said at the start – this is not the way to do research and if you are tempted – it IS the time to look for another job!!!

Read Full Post »


Sounds like some toy manufacturers could really use a chemist on staff!! They probably do in many cases but sometimes missing information could be deadly…

Note the last few months worth of lead contamination in toys and now the latest – Aquadots poisoning!

The very highly advertised craft product has just been recalled due to the fact that when children ingest the beads (which kids are wont to do!) the chemicals on them change into gamma hydroxy butyrate – a drug that can leave you comatose…

A quick search of Scifinder and Medline (by one of my online colleagues – thanks, Ben!) pointed to this research:
Lora-Tamayo, C.; Tena, T.; Rodriguez, A.; Sancho, J. R.; Molina, E.
Intoxication due to 1,4-butanediol.
Forensic Science International (2003), 133(3), 256-259.

The parent company is now blaming the Chinese manufacturers for cutting corners:

Australian officials told Reuters that instead of the safe chemical 1,5-pentanediol, the potentially dangerous chemical 1,4-butanediol was used during manufacturing. When ingested, 1,4-butanediol becomes GHB. It can cause drowsiness, unconsciousness, seizures, coma and death.

Scary stuff!

Read Full Post »