Chemistry Bumper Cars, 2019

Hello everyone! I’m happy to be able to help facilitate this year’s New & Relocated Faculty List, also known as Chemistry Bumper Cars. This has been a tradition since it first appeared on Chembark and, most recently, Just Like Cooking — since SAO is getting a little busy these days, I figured I’d step in and host the list until he has the bandwidth to resume.

Alright, so here’s how it works: we’re looking to keep track of new hires in chemistry departments worldwide, both at the assistant faculty level and for senior hires. Please do leave a comment or DM me on Twitter if you hear about such a new hire and I’ll add it to the list!Image result for new arrival

 

Things I will be doing differently this year:

Since hiring decisions, especially at the senior level, are such a sensitive subject, I will be a little more judicious about what constitutes “confirmation” than in years past and what bar something has to pass to be put on the actual post. If there’s a webpage stating it, I can confirm with the actual candidate, or I have a suitably authoritative source, I’ll put it up there, otherwise I’ll do a little more digging!

Also, if you would like me to include a link to your lab webpage, please let me know!

Last updated Thursday, Feb 21, 2019 – those added in most recent update are in bold.

Moves

 

New Hires

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My Personal Top 10 Preprints of 2018

Alright, I’ve done the count-up to preprint #1,000 and the quantitative, metrics-based rankings for which preprints were the “best” on ChemRxiv — however, today it’s Saturday, I’m off work, and I’m taking off my ChemRxiv hat to write about my *personal* favorite preprints of the past year. Yes, this list is subjective, intentionally avoids overlap with the preprints I listed in the Medium post and is not based on what I necessarily thought were the biggest advances of the year (I did a whole podcast on that), but rather which preprints I enjoyed reading the most, inspired the most discussion, or brought a smile to my face for some other reason. It helps that they’re all legitimately excellent scientific contributions as well.

Without further stalling and hedging, here’s my favorite preprints of 2018:

Continue reading “My Personal Top 10 Preprints of 2018”

Announcements

Dear readers, friends and friendly visitors,

Some updates and news:

  1. As no small number of you have heard, I will be leaving Springer Nature next week. Ultimately it was a difficult decision, but I have a unique opportunity to make an impact on open access publishing that I couldn’t pass up (more on that in a moment). The team at Nature Chemistry has been phenomenal to work with and I have been blessed to have the chance to learn from some really brilliant people. Of all the things I’ll miss about the job, that will really take the most getting used to.
  2. Starting Monday, September 25th, I will be taking up my new role as the Publishing Manager for ChemRxiv. If you haven’t heard, the American Chemical Society and its strategic partners have recently launched a preprint server, and honestly the response already has been great. I’m looking forward to working with Darla & co to develop ChemRxiv into a truly powerful tool for research dissemination!
  3. This blog is officially retiring. As part of a way to stop making excuses for not posting more often and to centralize my online identity, I will be launching a new blog as part of an upcoming personal website, so more content will be forthcoming, just in a new home. I’ll post here one last time once it’s ready for you all to check out!

 

Thank you to everyone who has supported me in the past 18 months with Nature Chemistry, and I hope I can make you all very proud as ChemRxiv continues to grow!

–Marshall

I am currently running a marathon

Dear all,

I have made the questionable decision to participate in the Illinois Marathon today back in Champaign, IL (home of my alma mater). I say “participate” because I “run” much in the way that a wounded water buffalo “runs” from a lion, but I digress.

By the time this post goes live, the race will have started, or will have nearly started, and so if you would like to tweet at me (@organometallica) or send text messages, I will be able to view these on my smart watch during the run. I can’t promise that I’ll respond in a timely fashion, but I will read them.

Wish me luck, as I think I’ll need some quantity of it. More to come later.

Magic: the Gathering

[[Happy April Fool’s Day everyone! I’ll be resuming making decisions on Nature Chemistry papers that are not at all based on the outcomes of digital card games on Monday. Have a nice weekend!]]

Let’s talk card games—specifically Magic: the Gathering. At this point, I imagine some number of my readers/Twitter followers have discovered that I do enjoy playing the nearly 25 year old card game. Magic is one of the most popular card games worldwide, and so it’s not entirely surprising that I’ve built a deck or two. In fact, I have had the opportunity  to attend major tournaments in multiple countries and have had modest success at these events. My connection with the game is a bit deeper than that, though.

homecover

In particular, I got really into Magic about the same time that my career in chemistry was just barely kicking off. While I had played as a child on the school bus, it was April 2013 when my now-colleague David Schilter bumped into me in the UIUC NMR room and casually asked me if I would like to go play some Magic over the weekend — at the time I thought he meant he was going to a magic show, but I had jack all to do and really, really needed to get out of the lab, so I agreed to go. After getting past the initial confusion, I was hooked. Over the next few years, Magic went from being a way to socialize and blow off steam to a real competitive endeavor and an actual revenue stream, as it turns out people are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for individual Magic cards. While most people characterize the game as a needlessly complex diversion from Dungeons & Dragons, I believe that it is really an important distraction from life itself — I mean, seriously, if your reaction doesn’t work, what’s more satisfying than using a giant, book-loving Elder Dragon to kill a legendary flying hippo?

So, given my tradition of announcing career transitions on this blog,  I am proud to announce that I am leaving my position as Editor of Nature Chemistry to become a professional Magic: the Gathering player. I realized that this announcement was important to deliver before the ACS meeting, for the sake of transparency (and the hope of the odd pick-up game of Commander). The transition really makes sense for me; upon reflection, my favorite part of my transition to editorial work is the increased amount of time I had available to play Magic. Indeed, most of my decisions recently have been made by logging into Magic: the Gathering Online and playing a game of Legacy with Goblin Charbelcher — if I win, the paper goes out to review, and if I lose, the authors get a reject letter. By taking on Magic full-time, I realize that I can detach my success rate from this fickle game called “science” and really focus on honing my craft, a craft which I expect will bring me far more recognition than I ever had for my endeavors in chemistry. I look forward to working with the Magic community and you, dear readers, in this new role. I hope you’ll take a moment to visit the website for my newly formed Magic team (I’m still looking for new members, if you’d like to join Team FeCoNi!) and leave a comment here.

Tweet up at ACS San Francisco!

Hey everyone,

If you’ll be at the ACS National Meeting next week, consider dropping by Ginto (gintosf.com) on 658 Market Street on Monday April 3rd Sunday April 2nd at 7 pm. Some of us from the chemistry Twitter/Blogosphere will be getting drinks and chow and would love to meet some of you guys in person.

EDIT: By popular demand, moved to Sunday! Sorry for any confusion!

If you think you’ll go, drop a comment here or message me on Twitter so I can get a head count and I’ll see if they can reserve a table for us. Don’t be shy about dropping in, though!

I’ll be around the ACS Meeting all week, so if you want to chat and can’t make the tweet up, just hit me up and we can see if we can sort something out!

One year as a doctor

Hey all,

I’m emerging from my now-typical silence to mark a special occasion. If you have wondered why the blog hasn’t been getting all sorts of new content to accompany my newfound free time, it’s largely because the topics I would have otherwise been writing about here are now appearing with some amount of frequency over at Nature Chemistry. I’m still interested in keeping this blog going, but I think I might change up the format a bit so that it is a little more philosophically separate from my day job. Keep your eyes peeled, I suppose!

So the special occasion – as I mentioned on Twitter the other day, today is the one-year anniversary of my PhD defence1.

congrats_dr_brennan

Continue reading “One year as a doctor”