This Week on CENtral Science: XPRIZE Science, Nanotech Safety, and more
Sep20

This Week on CENtral Science: XPRIZE Science, Nanotech Safety, and more

Tweet of the Week: OH: OMG, she LOVES biology. When she gets drunk, that's all she talks about. — LeighKrietschBoerner (@LeighJKBoerner) September 20, 2013 To the network: Cleantech Chemistry: Cool Planet Wraps Up $60 Million Funding Round Fine Line: ChemOutsourcing: Day Two and ChemOutsourcing: Day One Newscripts: XPRIZE Competition Poses Ocean Acidity Challenge and Amusing News Aliquots and From Unknown Bacteria To Biotechnology Breakthrough The Safety Zone: Nanotechnology: Small science can come with big safety risks The Watch Glass: Tiny Solder and Gas Masks for Three Year Olds and Women in Cleveland’s Chemistry Labs during WWII and The Orion Nebula and Detector Dogs for Forensic...

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This week on CENtral Science: Tacky ancients, Solar upswing, and more
May24

This week on CENtral Science: Tacky ancients, Solar upswing, and more

Tweet of the week: “In discrepancy is discovery” – Lesson learnt from scientific research. — Curious Wavefunction (@curiouswavefn) May 20, 2013 To the network: Artful Science: Was antiquity really so tacky? Cleantech Chemistry: Never Mind All That: Solar on the upswing Newscripts: In Print: Toys Will Be Toys and Amusing News Aliquots The Safety Zone: Dow launches Lab Safety Academy website The Watch Glass: Teflon: Newcomer to heat exchange and What’s That Stuff? Chicken Eggs and Texas City: Portrait of a Chemical Town and C&EN Talks With Mae Jemison and Chemist tried in Chicago riot...

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This Week on CENtral Science: #Nobels, #SheriSangji
Oct12

This Week on CENtral Science: #Nobels, #SheriSangji

CENtral Science was a cornucopia of Nobel commentary this week: Just Another Electron Pusher: Awarding nontraditional chemistry Newscripts: A Nobel In Chemistry, Through The Eyes Of “Families” Terra Sigillata: HHMI and Duke Celebrate the Lefkowitz Chemistry Nobel, Lefkowitz and Kobilka win 2012 Chemistry Nobel for GPCRs, Gurdon and Yamanaka share Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2012, and Lefkowitz Nobel: “There’s a lot of love here.” (video goodness!) Plus, an update and some perspective on the Sheri Sangji case: The Safety Zone: Harran hearing in #SheriSangji case postponed and Chemjobber and Janet Stemwedel discuss #SheriSangji case and academic lab safety culture And the usuals: Newscripts: Amusing News Aliquots The Safety Zone: Friday chemical safety...

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ACS Mole Checks Out DC Cherry Blossom Parade
Apr23

ACS Mole Checks Out DC Cherry Blossom Parade

The ACS mole mascot put in an appearance at last weekend’s National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade in Washington, D.C. Doug Dollemore, a senior science writer in the ACS Office of Public Affairs, manned the mole suit. Would-be moles need to be 5’7″ to 5’11” to fit in the suit, which has a fan in its head to keep the “mole”nteer cool. The mole was part of the USA Science & Engineering Festival delegation, which also included the Math Tree, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, a robotics club from Rockville, and a large mechanical spider from Vancouver,...

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Learning From UCLA
Oct05

Learning From UCLA

The six columns of letters in this week’s print edition of C&EN and several more columns in this week’s edition of C&EN Online all pertain to the death of Sheharbano (Sheri) Sangji, a 23-year-old research assistant in a chemistry laboratory at the University of California, Los Angeles, and C&EN’s coverage of the accident that led to her death. Associate Editor Jyllian Kemsley has written extensively about the accident, culminating in a major investigative article that appeared in the Aug. 3 issue (page 29). To recap, on Dec. 29, 2008, Sangji was scaling up a reaction she had carried out at least once before to produce 4-hydroxy-4-vinyldecane from either 4-undecanone or 4-decanone. The first step of the reaction was to generate vinyllithium by reacting vinylbromide with tert-butyllithium, a pyrophoric chemical. The experiment went terribly wrong when the tert-butyllithium spilled and ignited a spilled flask of hexane. Sangji suffered extensive burns on her upper body. She died on Jan. 16. The letters C&EN has received on the accident focus on several themes. A common one is that the laboratory shower should have been used to extinguish the fire that had engulfed Sangji. James W. Lewis writes that Kemsley’s article “tells me that many chemists need to better understand the importance of laboratory safety showers. Immediate use of a safety shower is the best option in a clothes-on-fire situation.” Stephen T. Ross writes: “The safety shower that could have lessened her injuries was used neither by Sangji nor by either of the two fellow-chemists who responded to her cries. Why? Possibly it was because chemists are never trained to use the shower because it produces a huge volume of water of uncertain quality without a drain and is, thus, too messy to demonstrate.” Ross makes another point, observing that the behavior of “instantly pyrophoric compounds can’t be appreciated until it is seen.” Potential users should be shown what happens when a small volume is exposed to air and ignites, he writes. “It is important to prepare the mind.” Other letter writers wondered why Sangji was scaling up the reaction at all. James T. Palmer writes: “Nowhere, however, did I see anyone ask why an extremely dangerous reagent was used to generate an organometallic compound … that can be purchased. I have supervised synthetic chemists for more than 20 years. … Whatever their level, there is one common rule: Buy your bonds rather than make them whenever possible.” Peter Reinhardt points to stringent regulations governing the use of radionuclides in academic labs, with the requirement that before an experiment can be carried out, a project-specific plan must be submitted to the institutional Radiation...

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