ACS: Synthetic catalysts, not different, just better

I spent the early part of my first day in the metal-mediated reactions session. I particularly enjoyed a presentation by Andy Thomas from Scott Denmark’s group at UIUC, on rapid-injection NMR studies of Suzuki reaction intermediates.  Read more

The simple life of an editor

Try explaining what you do for a living using only the 1000 most common words in the English language. This is the basis of the so called ‘Up-Goer Five‘ challenge (handy text editor available using that link) – sparked by an xkcd cartoon that tries to describe the Saturn V rocket in the same way. Several others in the chemistry blogosphere have made attempts so I thought I would try to explain being an editor – here is what I came up with:  … Read more

ACS: Rewind

Perhaps the biggest difficulty with ACS meetings is the size. There’s a vast amount of good chemistry on show here, and it can be extremely difficult to choose where to go. I’ll tell you a little about what I’ve seen in the last couple of days in a later post, but first I thought I’d talk a little about my strategy for selecting sessions. I think it works quite well – but I’d be interested to hear about other strategies in the comments.  Read more

ACS: All in good taste

My first highlight of the meeting was Eric Anslyn’s talk ’ Mimicking the mammalian chemical senses using supramolecular chemistry’. Here I learned that, like me, Anslyn is a Coca-Cola man…by which I mean that he doesn’t like the taste of the diet version – I presume this applies to other soda brands as well. It’s not just him though, his chemistry can tell the difference too.  Read more

ACS: Heroes…

I don’t attend too many press conferences at the ACS meeting – because they are aimed at a much more general audience than a chemistry journal editor (that’s not a bad thing – read on). On Sunday, however, I attended a press conference with the intriguing title of ‘New Heroes of Chemistry’. I really had no idea what this was about as I didn’t read the press release in advance.  Read more

Organic chemistry for the YouTube generation

Spoof music videos offer the chance for ageing chemistry geeks such as myself to relive both their chemical and musical past. This video in particular was the cause of much hilarity within the Nature Chemistry team. This video is great – although one of the early lyrics ‘in the lab, working alone’ is a cause for concern – so let’s hope that it is there for artistic reasons rather than anything else. But can such videos serve any useful purpose?  Read more