Join “Countdown to the Chemistry Nobel!” Google Hangout #chemnobel – UPDATED
Oct02

Join “Countdown to the Chemistry Nobel!” Google Hangout #chemnobel – UPDATED

Who's going to take home the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry? Will chemistry's most coveted honor go to (GASP!) a biologist? Is there any point to all this pre-Nobel speculation? Maybe not, but there's no denying chemists enjoy taking part in the conversation. That's why we hope readers will tune in to C&EN's first Google Hangout, "Countdown to the Chemistry Nobel!" this Thursday, October 3, at 3PM Eastern US time. For those new to Google Hangouts, they are video chats broadcast live on the web. You can watch from Google Plus or YouTube. After the chat is finished it is archived on YouTube for anyone to view. Join the Hangout here. Carmen Drahl and Lauren Wolf will speak with Neil Withers and Paul Bracher about the runup to this year's prize, which will be announced Wednesday, October 9. What predictions are out there already and how reliable are they? Why did so few people predict that Dan Shechtman would win the Nobel Prize for quasicrystals? Watch for a discussion about these and other questions. Follow the conversation, and ask questions to the speakers on Twitter using the hashtag #chemnobel. UPDATE 10/2: I'm excited to announce another guest has joined the hangout: Simon Frantz. Simon Frantz is Editor of BBC Future, and a former senior editor of Nobelprize.org. Follow him on Twitter @simon_frantz Neil Withers is Features Editor for Chemistry World magazine. Follow him on Twitter @neilwithers Paul Bracher blogs at Chembark, and is Assistant Professor of Chemistry at St. Louis University. Follow him on Twitter @Chembark Carmen Drahl is a senior editor at Chemical & Engineering News. Follow her on Twitter @carmendrahl Lauren Wolf is an associate editor at Chemical & Engineering News. Follow her on Twitter...

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Behind the Story: Cheryl Hogue on Chemists’ Environmental Awareness
Sep09

Behind the Story: Cheryl Hogue on Chemists’ Environmental Awareness

Cheryl Hogue wrote one of the many fascinating stories in today's 90th anniversary issue. Hers has a title that will certainly appeal to the Muppets fans out there: "It's not easy being green." Chemists have become more environmentally sensitive during the last half-century, she writes. But the work Rachel Carson kick-started when she published "Silent Spring" is far from over. Watch my interview with Cheryl for more context on her reporting and the...

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C&EN Editors in Boston, Day 1
Aug21

C&EN Editors in Boston, Day 1

After several attempts, I'm delighted to post the first blog item from the ACS national meeting in Boston. The meeting of C&EN’s editorial advisory board ended at 8:35 AM yesterday, Aug. 20, much earlier than usual. This meeting is scheduled for two hours, 7:30-9:30 AM on the Friday before every ACS national meeting. It is the venue through which C&EN’s editor-in-chief informs ACS governance about the state of the magazine. The board is chaired by the chair of ACS’s Joint Board-Council Committee on Publications, and its members include the chair of the ACS Board of Directors and the ACS president. C&EN Editor-in-chief Rudy Baum reported several items of good news, including C&EN’s extensive coverage of the BP oil spill leading up to the June 14 cover story, which has elicited much positive feedback from readers. Traffic to C&EN Online is increasing; a major driver is C&EN’s Latest News postings, which now have significantly increased to about 20 per week. C&EN launched the Environmental SCENE in July, the first of a series of news feeds to the web sites of ACS journals aimed at enlivening and adding relevant content to the homepage. Four ACS journals are now receiving this news feed: Environmental Science & Technology, Energy & Fuels, Chemical Research in Toxicology, and the Journal of Agriculture & Food Chemistry. According to preliminary statistics, this news feed has tripled traffic to ES&T’s home page Every year C&EN conducts a survey to gauge how well the magazine is doing. I described major findings of C&EN’s 2010 annual survey of reader satisfaction: Overall, satisfaction remains high, with respondents saying they strongly agree that C&EN is generally well written and presented, keeps them abreast of significant news, and keeps them adequately informed of ACS. Respondents continue to rate us highly in the tasks we do to fulfill C&EN’s mission. The survey respondents’ demographics caused some lively discussion: 87% are male, 48% work in industry, 39% work in academia, 80% have a Ph.D., 84% are age 45 or older, mean age is 54, 78% subscribe to the print edition. Where were women, the B.S. and M.S. readers, and those younger than 45? If you belong to any of these underrepresented groups in our survey, we would like to know what we can do to encourage you to participate. Another survey result that caused considerable discussion was the differences between subscribers to the print and the electronic edition: Those receiving the print were more likely to have higher satisfaction, to have read the past four issues, and to regard C&EN as good as or superior to other profession-related publications. We speculated about the causes of...

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C&EN In The Blogosphere
May03

C&EN In The Blogosphere

C&EN and the Editor's Page have been the subject of some interesting blogging of late. Instead of responding on the blogs themselves, I want to use a couple of Editor's Pages to comment on the substance of blogs and the comments they elicited. C&EN recently held a meeting of its editorial advisory board. Advisory board members are listed on the masthead on this page. The proceedings of the meetings are off the record so that board members can speak freely on topics relating to the chemistry enterprise and the performance of the magazine in meeting its mission. That said, advisory board members know that we use the ideas expressed at the meeting to inform our reporting and commentary. This was the first advisory board meeting for Derek Lowe, a pharmaceutical chemist who created the influential blog "In the Pipeline" in 2002. Before coming to the meeting, Lowe posted an entry in which he stated that he was attending the advisory board meeting and asked, "What do you think [C&EN] does well, and what do you think it does poorly?" At the meeting, Lowe told C&EN's staff that he thought he would get eight to 10 responses. As of April 27, there are 114. The comments range from "C&EN is servile to industry management frauds. Its cheerful tone makes me puke" to "I love the mix [C&EN] has now of academic, government, and industry reporting. They also do a great job of balancing boosterism appropriate for a trade journal with the recognition that the spin of the chemical industry is often neither scientifically valid nor honest." More of the comments tended in their tenor toward the former comment rather than the latter comment I have quoted. Many of the critical comments focused on the career prospects for chemists. "Why such an enthusiastic tone about a profession that is basically going down the tubes as a lifelong career?" wrote one commenter. "It could be due to edicts from upon high at ACS, it could simply be enthusiastic young reporters who have no idea about chemistry and probably no perspective of trends over decades with respect to chemistry as a career." I can assure you that the tone of C&EN's reporting is not a result of edicts from anyone; C&EN's editorial independence is codified in the society's governing documents. It is due to genuine enthusiasm for chemistry among C&EN's staff, young and old. We interact with and report on many chemists in academe and industry who retain a similar deep enthusiasm for our science and believe in its continuing potential to benefit humanity. I understand that consolidation and changing dynamics in the...

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