This Week on CENtral Science: Chemist Arrested, Fear of Stench, That 70s #Chemjobs, And More
Jan25

This Week on CENtral Science: Chemist Arrested, Fear of Stench, That 70s #Chemjobs, And More

Tweet of the Week: Man, it's #ChemistsBehavingBadly Week or something.— Chemjobber (@Chemjobber) January 22, 2013 And now, to the roundup: The Safety Zone: UC Davis chemist arrested on explosives charges and UC Davis chemist arraigned on explosives, waste disposal, and firearms charges and Friday chemical safety round-up Artful Science: When a Rembrandt copy is not a forgery Just Another Electron Pusher: From the archives—a surplus of PhDs Newscripts: Chemical Abstracts Service’s 70 Millionth Substance and Fear Of Stink: A Century In The Making and Amusing News...

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Chemical Abstracts Service’s 70 Millionth Substance
Jan21

Chemical Abstracts Service’s 70 Millionth Substance

Back in September, I posted here on Newscripts about a contest being hosted by Chemical Abstracts Service, a division of the American Chemical Society that collects and organizes publicly disclosed information about chemical compounds. CAS asked participants to guess when the 70 millionth substance would be added to its database. The person who submitted the answer (date and time) closest to reality would take home an e-book reader. Well, I’m a bit behind in reporting the outcome. But better late than never, right? The 70 millionth compound was added to CAS’s Registry on Dec. 6, 2012. The winner? Lucky grad student Tom Pearson of Nottingham Trent University, in England. An organic chemist, Pearson is developing new ways of sticking sugar units together with an eye toward drug synthesis. And he received a Kindle Fire for his correct prediction. Pearson doesn’t normally enter contests, so this is the first time he’s won anything, he tells me. “I had 10 minutes free in my day and thought I’d enter,” he says of the contest. But Pearson’s win wasn’t complete luck. Like every true science nerd, he used some math and logic to arrive at his winning entry: “I basically just stared at the counter for a couple of minutes and tried to work out the average rate at which substances were being added. After working out the rate, I then determined the date that the 70 millionth substance would be added.”   CAS added the 50 millionth substance to its registry back on Sept. 7, 2009. On the basis of these dates, and doing a little math of my own, I estimate that CAS adds about 16,900 new chemical substances to its database per day. That’s about 1 new compound every 5 seconds. Yowza!! The 70 millionth substance, given CAS Registry number 1411769-41-9, is a pyrazolyl piperazine disclosed in a patent filed with the Korean Intellectual Property Office. It’s a calcium-ion channel blocker with potential applications in treating pain, as well as conditions such as dementia.   A few fun facts from CAS about its registry: In 2012, 63% of patents covered by CAS originated in Asia. More than 70% of new substances added to the registry from the literature come from...

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Science-y Contests: Put On Your Dancing Shoes & Take A Lucky Guess
Sep18

Science-y Contests: Put On Your Dancing Shoes & Take A Lucky Guess

Two contests are afoot that chemists—particularly grad students—shouldn’t miss. Why? Well, there’s the eternal glory that comes with being victorious. But there’s also some cash and an iPad in it for the winners. And let’s face it, grad students can use all the free cash and prizes they can get. Contest 1: Dance Your Ph.D. Newscripts publicized this competition, sponsored by AAAS, earlier this year. The deadline is fast approaching. If you want to enter, you need to translate your Ph.D. project into a dance by October 1. There are four categories into which twinkle-toed grad students can place their submissions: chemistry, physics, biology, and social sciences. The top entry in each category gets $500. But that’s not all! The overall winner gets another $500 as well as travel and accomodation to attend TEDxBrussels, in Belgium, on Nov. 12. There, the danciest dancer—the Gene Kelly of Ph.D.s, if you will--will be crowned for all to see. The Newscripts gang would like to see chemists once again take the top prize, proving without a doubt that the central science is where it’s at, so get your submissions in soon! Contest 2: 70 Millionth Substance Contest According to the counter here, Chemical Abstracts Service--the division of the American Chemical Society that finds, collects, and organizes chemical information--has now entered more than 68,447,000 substances in its registry. To celebrate the day when the organization will add its 70 millionth chemical substance to the database, CAS is holding a little guessing competition. The division thinks the organic or inorganic entity in question will be registered either at the end of this year or early next year. Your job is to predict the date and time the lucky substance gets added. Prizes vary depending on when you submit your answer, but you could potentially win an iPad, Nook, or Kindle Fire. If the precise date and time isn’t guessed correctly, CAS goes into “The Price Is Right” mode and gives the award to the guess closest to the date and time the substance was added without going over. Take a look at the rules for entry here. And study them closely, Daniel-san. You MUST put your guess into the contest form by Nov. 16 or by the time the counter reaches 69.8 million substances—whichever comes first. CAS’s registry hit 50 million back on Sept. 7, 2009. You can read about that milestone here.   Do us proud, Newscripters. And if you win, do let us know (we’ll only take a little bit of the...

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