I had no idea that this movie existed until I saw an ad for it this morning at the elevator. Apparently there is a PhD Movie 1 and now a sequel. At first I thought to myself how strange that a group of grad students found the time to make a movie…but it is an actual movie and looking into the details, it looks like the actors are also real Caltech grad students.
Archive for the ‘Random’ Category
Posted by naturalproductman on October 5, 2015
The nobel prize in medicine announcement was made and the trio of winners (Satoshi Omura (avermectin), William Campbell (ivermectin), and Youyou Tu) had done natural product isolation work – one was Youyou Tu, the Chinese woman who discovered artemisinin (half of the prize)! An exciting win for natural product research!
Posted by naturalproductman on August 12, 2015
Here’s an interesting Science article with a scary thought: about how academic training is starting to lean towards training students into specialists. I think this leads to under appreciation of science as a whole or “tunnel vision”.
Posted by naturalproductman on July 10, 2015
There’s so much talk out there about how total synthesis is a dying field, and I guess I kind of understand the point. However, I was curious about this so I did a title search of journal articles on pubmed to see what this trend looks like. It seems that since 2005 with 408 articles published, the number of journal articles with the words “total synthesis” in the title shot up from 350 in 2004, and in 1999 there were 120 articles – a jump from 66 articles in 1998. So about the “dying field” statement, I don’t know if it’s just propaganda or if it is indeed a true statement – the numbers seem to indicate that people are still doing research in the field. From a synthetic chemist’s perspective, I feel that we are only limited by our own creativity (and funding).
* *So maybe the proper statement should be that the popularity of total synthesis was exponentially growing since the 1990s but now the number is just maxing out at about 500 “total synthesis” articles published per year with no decline in interest. I am correlating interest in total synthesis with the number of published “total synthesis” articles.
(Below is graph: number of journal articles vs. year up to July 2015)
***It didn’t occur to me that a similar plot has been done but with JACS papers only.
|pubmed – total synthesis[Title/Abstract]|
**I decided to do a similar plot but by searching in Scifinder to see if I get any different numbers, and just like in the pubmed search, the numbers shoot up from the 1990s.
Scifinder results (list form):
|Sample Analysis – Publication Year||Jul 11, 2015|
|Selected terms of 91||Sorted by Year|
Posted by naturalproductman on February 23, 2015
I thought this was an interesting article from C&E News regarding faculty retiring. It has comments from Albert Padwa and Edwin Vedejs, some powerhouses in organic chemistry research.
I know it must be a bitter feeling to have to stop doing research for ~50 years of your life, but I do agree that the younger generation needs to be accommodated in terms of funding and research space, because if an academic stays in his lab space for so long preventing a new generation to enter the university, then wouldn’t there be a gap for the next generation of scientists? It used to be normal for PhD scientists to start their labs at age 27, but now it’s becoming more common for people to have 8 year postdocs even or doing multiple postdocs (I guess this is more for biology too) and they will start their academic position at mid to late 30s. I wonder how the universities hiring new “young” faculty feel about hiring someone so old?
Posted by naturalproductman on December 15, 2014
C&E News had an interesting article on the scents of the season.
Posted by naturalproductman on December 10, 2014
I just thought I’d point some difference in responses between two recent retractions in Science vs. Nature.
There were two Nature papers recently retracted on stem cells from a group in RIKEN and it was all over the news in Japan.
On the other hand there was a Science paper recently retracted on a retro-“click” reaction reported by a group at the University of Texas, which was covered in C&E News.
Because I have been in both countries during the time these retractions occurred, I just thought I’d point out an interesting difference in response by the media (news coverage).
I remember being in Japan around January 2014 and turning on the news on the television and seeing a woman with a face full of tears at a press conference on almost every channel they showed the news. I wondered what it was about, and it was something about making mature cells into stem cells by treating them with acid. It was a big deal and a topic of discussion in probably every news show as well as of course your science news and blogs on the internet.
Meanwhile in the US, I don’t recall as much of the time when I heard about the Science retraction (looking back, it was around June 2014) but I remember seeing C&E News and other blogs (retractionwatch, pipeline corante) about the retraction in the US lab. The article was about reversing the click reaction (azide and alkyne coupling to make a triazole, and the paper was about doing the reverse reaction). I don’t think I have to be a science expert but it wasn’t as much of a big deal in the media – although still a serious debate about falsifying data and getting it published. I don’t remember seeing this story on the television.
I was just wondering, if the research was happening in the opposite countries (stem cell research in US and reverse click reaction in Japan), would a retro-click retraction of a Science paper be as big of a deal in Japan? And the other question: would a stem cell Nature paper retraction be as big of a deal in the US? Is it a difference between: (1) the importance of science in the media in the two countries, (2) the importance of the research areas (stem cell vs. basic science), (3) the genders of the lead authors (male vs. female), (4) a Science paper vs. 2 Nature papers, (5) a combination of all of the above, or (6) something else I did not mention?
Posted by naturalproductman on November 26, 2014
Today I wanted to talk about the undergrad textbooks I had and highlight any interesting ones that stood out and why. Of course, these are all my subjective opinions and I am sure many people have their own favorites and reasons as well, so I invite any comments to talk about other opinions.
Advanced Inorganic Chemistry by Huheey Keiter and Keiter was a great textbook. I remember going to the undergrad library and checking out the book on reserve and spending a few hours on Sunday just to read the book while I was taking my upper division inorganic chemistry class. What I liked about the book was that: it combined molecular orbital theory and practical applications (i.e. Tanabe Sugano diagram), it covered d-orbitals and had a good introduction to transition metal chemistry, which was a good introduction for any organometallic chemist. The problems in the end of each chapter were great.
There was some organometallic textbook by Hegedus as well, but I don’t recall too much theoretical explanations behind the different cross-couplings. But it is a good reference book to have if you want to be able to look up certain cross couplings.
Organic Chemistry by G Marc Loudon was a good one for the straight chemist – the thing I liked about this book was that it flat out gave the explanations of concepts and in some parts of the book, it would have a little section for the practical application of the concept in biology. My memory of this book was that I would read it in the car during the summers just for fun.
Organic Chemistry by Vollhardt and Schore was another book that was pretty straightforward and easy to understand. I don’t recall the little sections that Loudon had though. I would also read this one in the car during summer for fun.
Organic Synthesis – The disconnection approach by Stuart Warren was a really nice book that was full of synthesis problems. I remember I went through that entire book of disconnections/retrosynthetic analyses over a two month period and after going through the entire book, I can safely say that I became a better synthetic chemist.
Mcquarrie’s red Physical Chemistry textbook was pretty good – although I wasn’t too much of a math person in college because the multivariable calculus had given me nightmares. Sometimes it isn’t about the subject though, and it is more about the teacher. I think I just went to a fast paced undergrad competing with other top students. The classes were cutthroat and it was more of an environment where you would be left for scraps if you fell behind.
Lehninger’s book was good it had an online learning tool where you could go through some mini lessons on some topics.
To rank my top 3 books from my personal point of view, which reflects on my interests when I was younger: (1) Advanced inorganic, (2) Loudon’s organic, (3) Warren’s disconnection approach.
Posted by naturalproductman on November 10, 2014
Michael Doyle gives advice about writing manuscripts in his ACIE profile article…basically he says to focus on the main points in the manuscript and all of the other details go to the supporting information. The intro persuades the reader to keep on reading. He started off his career as a professor at undergrad only institutions and moved to PhD ones and commented that at the undergrad only institutions, the resources are not as good but the students are top notch.