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Simulating C&EN and JACS

I decided to make a robot that would Tweet fake C&EN headlines and JACS titles. There are many ways one could go about doing this. The way I decided to do it is to use something called Markov chains. This is similar to how your cellphone’s keyboard works: Your cellphone will try to guess which … Continue reading »

Cryo-electron microscopy: A prime example of a tool-driven scientific revolution

Last week I had the immense pleasure again of having lunch with Freeman Dyson in Princeton. One of the myriad topics on the platter of intellectual treats on the table was the idea of science as a tool-driven rather than as an idea-driven scientific revolution. Show More Summary

Where Have All the Trailers Gone?

Ten years ago Hurricanes Katrina and Rita tore into the Gulf Coast and displaced over a million...

Many CHF employees live in West Philadelphia not far from Clark...

Many CHF employees live in West Philadelphia not far from Clark Park, a triangular patch of grass that accommodates Shakespeare, farm stands, sword fighting, and volleyball, depending on the time of year. Previously unbeknownst to me, the building that houses CHF’s museum is connected to the park through a joint owner: Clarence Clark. Show More Summary

Why foxes are more important than hedgehogs in drug discovery

A while ago I wrote about the dominance of foxes over hedgehogs in chemistry. Hedgehogs love to drill deep into one topic; foxes love to leap over interdisciplinary fences. Both creatures have been key to the progress of science: Einstein was a hedgehog, von Neumann was a fox; Darwin was a hedgehog, Crick was a fox. Show More Summary

On live tweeting at conferences

Nature News has an interesting piece on another novel aspect of the collision of 21st century social media with 20th century scientific culture, this time related to the phenomenon of live tweeting from scientific conferences. The piece...Show More Summary

Typing 101

othmeralia: Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press with loose type in the 15th century and...

What would be a "non-intuitive" prediction in medicinal chemistry?

Over the last two decades when computer-aided drug design was in development, one of the most common refrains you heard from medicinal chemists about its utility was that it did a poor job predicting “non-intuitive” structural modifications to molecules. Show More Summary

Blogroll: Better online science

Editor’s note: As we continue to invite bloggers out there in the wild to compose our monthly Blogroll column, Matthew Partridge penned the September 2015 column.  Read more

It’s a familiar scene: while outside city streets bake under the...

It’s a familiar scene: while outside city streets bake under the August sun, inside office buildings, workers, most of them women, are bundled in sweaters and blankets. But if this is such a universal experience, why do office buildings set their thermostats so low during the summer? There may be a scientific explanation for it. Show More Summary

In which I destroy 18 teflon Schlenk stopcocks

A year-long process project with many gallons of boiling conc. HCl came to end. The fume hood wasn’t pretty anymore – metal surface covered with a furry crust, dark ooziness dripping and pooling in the back; I was eager to pull the equipment from that hood and scrub and repair everything. The vacuum manifold glass […]

Robert Oppenheimer, Hans Bethe and the value of balance and compromise

Should you be involved in political causes and activism as a scientist? This was a question that squarely confronted many of the twentieth century's scientists, and it heralded a meld of politics and science that continues to challenge and haunt us today. Show More Summary

Over the past year CHF became the intellectual home to more than...

Over the past year CHF became the intellectual home to more than two dozen enthusiastic, diverse, and publically engaged research fellows. They have taught us about the science and history of taste, told us the stories behind the periodic...Show More Summary

How science lost one of its greatest minds in the trenches of Gallipoli

Tweet Follow @Sci_ents August 10, 1915. The Gallipoli sun beats down on the back of a Turkish sharpshooter. He is patient and used to the discomfort. He wipes the sweat from his eyes and peers back down the sight of his rifle, sweeping back and forth across the enemy lines. He’s hoping to spot a … Continue reading »

Achievements of Chemists Without Borders Bangladesh Arsenic Education Project

Since September 2014, I have been managing the Chemists Without Borders team in Bangladesh. We started with a team of part time interns, all graduates of the Asian University for Women in Chittagong, Bangladesh. We had the objectiveShow More Summary

The enduring legacy of Leo Szilard, father of the atomic age

70 years ago on this day, a flash above Hiroshima silenced a hundred thousand voices and heralded the beginning of a new Faustian relationship between man and his machines. But one man had seen the flash 12 years before at a traffic light in London. Show More Summary

Once again, the problem is not synthesis, it's design

University of Illinois chemist Martin Burke who recently got a lot of press for his automated robotic molecular synthesizer has an interview in C&EN in which he says that his and similar other techniques will help to clear the bottleneck of synthesis that has plagued the pharmaceutical and other industries. Show More Summary

The End of Affair

We first met just over a year ago. I was incredibly fortunate to have you for twelve more months – much longer than they were giving us in the beginning. I will always remember our time together: the stunning saffron, cinnamon and maroon colors of your intermediates, the lustrous flakes when you precipitate. I held […]

Cat Craze

distillationsblog: Do cats make you crazy? This was the question posed at last week’s Science on...

More on gadolinium

Note: Posted on behalf of Pekka Pyykkö, who wrote about gadolinium in our August issue‘s In Your Element article. This post comes in complement to the IYE essay – and is best read after the article. Coincidentally, there is a bit ofShow More Summary

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