Archive by date | September 2008

Look my way

I’ve been chatting with some friends these last couple of days, and we’ve developed a new* theory that could generally be applied to chemistry/chemists, so I thought I’d share. The idea is that there are two kinds of people in the world: those who know things and those who look things up. The first category also includes the subgroup ‘people who don’t know anything but pretend that they do’ (which is a topic for another day).  Read more

NChem Research Highlights: Ultracapacitors, nitrogen cleavage and applied asymmetric catalysis

This week both Neil and Gavin are away, although this time they are both working! Neil is attending the 6th International conference on Inorganic Materials in Dresden, and Gav is yet to return from China, having been at TACC 2008 (computational chemistry) and is combining his trip with some visits to labs close by.  Read more

Materials Girl: Living with chemists

Posted on behalf of Materials Girl The past summer was a highlight for me, not only because of the research I did during my internship at a Large Company, but also due to the people I met there. In addition to co-workers being friendly and helpful (and the building wonderfully air conditioned in the 100+ degree weather), my fellow interns were exceptionally bright, scientifically minded (not just intelligent), sociable and interesting. Rarely have I lived or worked with students who could just as easily and happily talk about synthesis and characterization as they could sports and movies. While attempting to  … Read more

Ernest Eliel

It is with some sadness that I note the passing of Ernest Eliel – a stereochemistry giant in my eyes – and many others I presume. His book – Stereochemistry of Organic Compounds – (later editions written with Wilen and Mandel) was, along with March and Vogel, one of the essential chemical bibles to be found in the lab during my PhD work. My copy is, even now, sitting on the shelf behind me here in the Nature offices… and it still has the price tag on the back – £29.95 apparently, which is peanuts compared with today’s prices!  Read more

RSC Roadmap

As you’re reading this, I bet you’ve also read some of our Reactions interviews. In amongst the ‘Desert Island Discs’/lifestyle questions is number 3: How can chemists best contribute to the world at large? The answers to this weighty question are always fascinating and quite wide ranging.  Read more

Taking solace in synthesis?

Reading my newspaper on the way to work this morning, I was surprised to discover that Jonny Wilkinson – England rugby hero for those that don’t know – likes a bit of quantum physics. Apparently, he was always full of self-doubt until he discovered Schrödinger’s cat!  Read more