Chemistry Hashtags And Chemistry Communication-UPDATED
Mar13

Chemistry Hashtags And Chemistry Communication-UPDATED

Last week, I sent out a request via Twitter--I asked chemists to send me popular hashtags that they use in their tweets. I don't know that I need to introduce hashtags to the Newscripts audience, but just in case, hashtags are those words you see on Twitter preceded by the # sign, such as #ACSSanDiego. Folks use them to wade through the morass of tweets because they help classify tweets by topic, conference, location, etc. I thought I'd share with you why I sent out said request. Part of the reason is to have a handy list of hashtags for chemists in one place. But it also has to do with my upcoming talk at the San Diego ACS national meeting. I'm part of ACS President Bassam Shakhashiri's symposium, "Communicating Science to the Public", which takes place Monday afternoon in the convention center. Click on the image to get the full lineup from the meeting program. I'll be talking about how C&EN reporters have our collective ears to ground of the chemistry world, and from time to time end up being sources of information for media outlets with a broader reach. For example, C&EN reporter and Fine Line blogger extraordinaire Rick Mullin was a guest on NPR's Science Friday earlier this month, talking about unusual pharma partnerships. And in January I went on SiriusXM's Doctor Radio channel to chat about how drugs get their generic names. We reporters keep tabs on what chemists are talking about in many ways, but I'd like to emphasize Twitter in my talk (even though it is limited to a small group of chemists who are self-selecting to communicate with social media). That's where you and your hashtags come in. I could think of a few hashtags that have become symbolic of issues chemists care about. #chemjobs - chemistry employment #altchemicalfree - chemophobia in advertising and the mass media #SheriSangji - everything related to the lab fire that killed UCLA lab assistant Sheri Sangji and the ongoing case, but I've also seen it referred to in general discussions of safety in chemistry labs And so I decided to put out the call to see if any more such hashtags would pop out at me from the big list. Of course, many hashtags come and go, and some are more active than others. And still others are just for fun, like #chemvalentine, which was a collection of chemistry related love missives timed to Valentine's Day. But I strongly believe that chemists are using social media to talk about issues that matter to them, and the number of issues is only going to go up the longer those...

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Chemists Get Down At #ACSAnaheim
Mar29

Chemists Get Down At #ACSAnaheim

'Twas just before Sci-Mix, and all through Hall B, plenty of creatures were stirring, some of them dressed like a mouse called Minnie. Alright, alright ... I need to work on my poetry skills. But you get the idea. Just before Sci-Mix kicked off tonight in Anaheim, chemists gathered in Hall B of the convention center to do the Chemistry Dance (Note that they did this BEFORE having beer at the poster session). Celebrating the International Year of Chemistry, chemists young and old congregated, practiced, and then performed a dance set to music by 2010 Chemistry Olympiad medalists Richard Li and Utsarga Sikder. The pair hopes video of the dance goes viral, showing people everywhere that chemists know how to boogie. I'm doing my part by posting some preliminary video of the performance here. My skillz with the flip cam aren't that great, so I'll update this post with video produced by the wizards at ACS's Office of Public Affairs sometime tomorrow. If you watch all five minutes of the video, you'll notice among the 100 or so dancers some familiar faces (ACS Board members, including Chair Bonnie Charpentier), some participants dressed in sparkly outfits, one person with some mouse ears (this is Anaheim, after all), and someone starting their child on an early path to science geekery. In addition, most participants had chemical elements pinned to their shirts; the line dance was set up to approximate a periodic table. Here's just a sampling of the lyrics, so you all can sing along at home (I defy you not to get the chorus stuck in your head): "International year of chemistry-- two thousand eleven We’re representing science -- 24/7 We’ve got antimatter, fuel cells and a ton of Nobel Prizes Sustainable energy solves the problem as it arises" "Move to the left, now move to the right We’ll be doing the chemistry dance all through the night Now clap your hands, everybody let’s go We’ll be rocking it out to the chemistry show" Peace out. UPDATE: As promised, here is the official video of the Chemistry Dance from the Office of Public Affairs. Makes my humble video pale in...

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Hollywood Comes To ACS At #ACSAnaheim
Mar28

Hollywood Comes To ACS At #ACSAnaheim

Today's Newscripts post from Anaheim comes to us from Assistant Managing Editor Sophie Rovner: Hollywood writers brought a touch of glamour to a standing-room-only symposium at the ACS national meeting yesterday. Writers for “Breaking Bad,” “Eureka,” “House M.D.” and other TV series admitted they found their audience of chemists intimidating but with self-deprecating good humor shared their philosophy for trying to make their shows scientifically sound. “Breaking Bad” follows a high school chemistry teacher dying of lung cancer who cooks and sells crystal meth to support his family after his pending death. Moira Walley-Becket, one of the show’s seven writers, said that “getting the science right is of the utmost importance to us.” After all, she noted, “we need to know how to dissolve a body in acid.” She said the writers turn for help to “the brilliant and tolerant” Donna J. Nelson, a chemistry professor at the University of Oklahoma, in Norman. Nelson volunteered for the gig after reading in C&EN that the show had to do its research on the Internet because it couldn’t afford a paid science adviser. Here’s a typical knotty problem: “Using the P2P method, how much meth could you synthesize with 30 gallons of methylamine?” (Answer: 223 lbs.) Other scientists have found their way to Hollywood through the Science & Entertainment Exchange, a National Academy of Sciences program that connects entertainment industry professionals with scientists and engineers to help bring cutting-edge science to their stories. Kevin R. Grazier, a research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Lab who clearly relishes his role as science adviser to “The Zula Patrol,” “Battlestar Galactica,” and other TV series, conceded that many scientists hesitate to work in Hollywood because it’s perceived as shallow. But as ACS President Nancy B. Jackson noted in her introduction to the symposium, there are many innovative ways of communicating with the public about science, including...

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C&EN Highlights Sessions In Anaheim
Mar27

C&EN Highlights Sessions In Anaheim

Last week, I posted a sneak peek of a video that will be playing at the conference center in Anaheim at the ACS national meeting today. It contained clips of C&EN reporters recommending specific sessions at the meeting. Without further ado, and to give folks a jump-start on picking the sessions they'd like to attend in Anaheim, here are the clips for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Monday's highlights: Tuesday's highlights: Wednesday's highlights: See you...

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Back By Popular Demand: C&EN Picks For Anaheim
Mar22

Back By Popular Demand: C&EN Picks For Anaheim

Want to see what we at C&EN have selected as newsworthy sessions taking place at the upcoming spring national meeting in Anaheim? Look no further, and watch this video clip of Sunday's C&EN Picks. This is an exclusive sneak peek at the first of a series of videos that will be running daily in the convention center in Anaheim next week (March 27-March 30). We started this tradition last fall at the Boston meeting, and it was so well received, that we've given it another whirl. At the start of the meeting next week, we'll post the rest of the videos so that you can get a jump on picking sessions to sit in on. Have other must-see sessions to recommend to your fellow conference goers? Feel free to comment below. See you in...

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