Friday, December 12, 2014

Chemistry Jobs "Plentiful" and "Well-paying" Says Area AP Chemistry Teacher

Orange, CA

El Camino High School chemistry teacher Richard Hinds has reportedly offered a series of bold-faced lies as encouragement to his Advanced Placement students preceding the start of their winter break.  Hinds' class, composed of juniors and college-bound seniors, listened attentively as the purported authority figure described post-graduate employment prospects.

Hinds, who apparently lives in the 1960's, stated, "A bachelor's in chemistry will open so many doors for you.  Unemployment is virtually non-existent, and careers in chemistry pay incredibly well!"  Witnesses indicated that Hinds failed to discuss the concept of "under-employment," and did not so much as mention the fact that upwards of 60% of chemistry graduates go on to careers not only outside chemistry, but outside science as a whole.

Sources indicated that, while Hinds' mastery of teaching techniques is sound, as evidenced by his students' pass rate of 93%, his concept of the employment landscape within the chemical sciences is fundamentally flawed.  "Starting chemists can easily make $60,000 a year," Hinds continued, citing a salary figure existent only outside the realm of reality.

Hinds went on to state that chemistry graduates would have employers "lining up" to hire them, while simultaneously neglecting to mention that a career in industrial chemistry would, with rare exception, necessitate relocation to Massachusetts, New Jersey, Texas, or northern California.

As of press time, Hinds was reading aloud an email from Melissa Ernhardt, a previous student, describing her fortune in obtaining gainful employment in her selected field after earning a BSc. in chemistry, despite her being the only member of her graduating class to do so.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Three Dead Following NMR Quench; Calls For Help Mistaken For "Alvin And The Chipmunks" Christmas Album

St. Paul, MN


Officials at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cites campus, are reporting that three scientists have died following a rapid quench of the university's 800 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer.  Sources indicate that at approximately 7:30 pm Wednesday evening, technician Adam Wilkinson and graduate students Aaron Ferguson and Donna Frish were performing a probe changeover when the instrument unexpectedly quenched, releasing all 240 liters of liquid cryogen.

Researchers in adjacent laboratories reported hearing high-pitched voices from the instrumentation lab.  Post-doctoral researcher Shane Patel stated his confusion, representative of all those present in the building at the time of the incident.

"Those assholes [sic] in James' lab down the hallway have been playing this obnoxious Christmas carol album non-stop since literally the day after Thanksgiving.  Alvin and the Chipmunks, or something like that."

"Anyway, I heard some muffled squealing voices coming from down the hallway, and just assumed it was those nobs playing that shit-awful album again."

Students and faculty alike are reeling in the wake of the deaths.  A preliminary investigation by campus officials has indicated that a faulty quench vent tube is to blame for the tragedy.  David Roberts, head of campus EH&S, issued a statement warning of the dangers associated with liquid helium.

"True, helium is non-toxic, but liquid cryogen expands when it boils off and can easily displace all the oxygen within a given room.  If occupants are unable to evacuate quickly, rapid asphyxiation can occur.  Rapid, squeaky, hilariously tragic asphyxiation."

Patel added, "Well, at least those poor bastards don't have to suffer through hearing that terrible album again."

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Medicinal Chemist Researching Erectile Dysfunction Lies To Parents, Self

C&EN Onion European Chemical Sciences Correspondent Fluorogrol Reports

Stevenage, UK

Disillusioned medicinal chemist Thomas 'Tom' Evans today spoke candidly of the miasma of misinformation he has been forced to construct while working on a series of selective PDE5 inhibitors in search of a clinical candidate for erectile dysfunction.

"What am I meant to tell my mother?" demanded Evans, visibly angered. "I've been fobbing her off with the 'you wouldn't understand, it's very complex science' line for two-and-a-half years now. What if my father asks to try some? Nobody needs that conversation over Sunday lunch."

"I try to avoid direct, bare-faced lies, but recently I accidentally-on-purpose left some marketing fliers for [cutting-edge B-cell cancer drug] Imbruvica around my parents' house," he continued. "They completely fell for it, assuming I worked on it, although when my mother noticed that it's made by a different company I had to do some serious off-the-cuff bullshitting about a split marketing rights deal or something."

Evans revealed that the deceit has also crept into his working life: "I imagine that the compound I'm making is going to revolutionise treatment of hep C, or type 1 diabetes, or even canine pruritus. Anything. But then something always pricks the bubble. Boner drugs. Damn."

A colleague, who asked not to be named, claimed she'll ask to transfer labs if she hears Evans' moribund joke that he's 'bored stiff' of PDE5 inhibitors once more.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Trendy Biotech Startup Boldly Replaces "O" In Name With Stylized Hexagon

Cambridge, MA

In a move investors analysts alike are calling "groundbreaking," Mike Schneider, PhD., President and CEO of Boston-area biotechnology startup iBiosciences announced this morning that the company logo will substitute a stylized hexagon in place of the "o" in "Biosciences."

Dr. Schneider -- who legitimately believes he is the first person to have thought of using cyclohexane in place of the letter "o" -- stated his excitement at the company's inaugural press release.  "I'm just thrilled to be working with such as great group of people.  With over $200 million in venture backing, and a fantastic staff of top-notch biologists, medicinal chemists, and molecular modelers we are poised to make a huge impact on novel autoimmune therapeutics.  Plus, it's really great that the graphic designer we hired liked my idea to spice up the company logo."

Theresa Thompson, a graphic design student at Boston University's College of Fine Arts, was recruited as an intern by the company to create the logo.  "They're only giving me $150 to complete the design...  One-hundred-and-fifty bucks.  And he [Schneider] said  he'd even 'let' me 'put it in my portfolio.'  He was so happy with himself when he asked me to add this dumb looking hexagon thing to the design."  Thompson continued, "what does he think this is, the nineties?"

As of press time, a look of subtle incredulity was creeping over Schneider's face as he came to the realization that the Budweiser logo was eerily reminiscent of chair-conformer cyclohexane.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Molecular Biology Graduate Student Internally Debates Ethics Of Image Manipulation

Westwood, CA

University sources indicate that Michael McPherson, a second-year graduate student in the Phillips lab at the University of California, Los Angeles, has been internally debating the level of image manipulation which is acceptable from an ethical standpoint.  McPherson's internal dialogue, which has reportedly been running since approximately 3:17 pm Sunday afternoon, and continues to do so, is still deeply consumed with the implications of altering the coloring, saturation, and brightness of a series of electrophoresis gels intended to correlate the use of a natural product with increased expression of pro-apoptotic proteins in several cancer cell lines.

Gene Maloney, an older colleague of McPherson, stated that he observed the student staring, seemingly blankly, at several images open in Photoshop on his computer screen.

"He [McPherson] was just looking at the screen with this thousand-yard-stare.  Occasionally, he'd move the slider on the gamma channel back and forth a little, then mumble some disjointed comment about 'scientific integrity.'  I don't get what he's so hung up about; if we didn't adjust color and contrast a little here and there, literally nothing would ever get published in molecular biology."

Sources inside McPherson's conscience gave further insight into the internal struggle facing the graduate student.  "Obviously there are some tough choices here.  The culture existent in the scientific community imposes a need for graduate students to publish frequently in high-impact journals in order to be viewed as productive and relevant.  Therefore there is intense pressure on students to come up with data that is viewed as 'groundbreaking,' a natural consequence of which is the need to make subtle falsifications and fabrications in datasets" stated a horned, miniature version of McPherson clad in a dark cloak and grasping a flaming trident.

An equally small copy of the student, seemingly emanating intense light, clothed in a brilliant white robe and holding a scepter, added "But he's a student at an elite research university!  As scientists we must maintain an impeccable standard of ethics, lest the public lose trust in our work.  After all, it's a slippery slope from slight image 'touch-ups' to completely fabricating data."

As of press time, a visibly shaken McPherson had decided that "muting the controls a little" and "maybe increasing the saturation on the knockout models" was acceptable.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Graduate Student “Completely Prepared” for Oral Exams

Contributed by SeeArrOh, who blogs at Just Like Cooking

Phoenix, AZ

Melissa Sitterson, 24, recently proclaimed to her entire lab group “Orals just aren’t that hard.”

Third-years snickered audibly, while postdocs and fifth-years simply shook their heads in disbelief. Defensively, Sitterson continued: “I mean, I have all the older students’ exams to look at, and I’ve read the textbook forward and backward. I have a whole year of bench work under my belt. I’ve also hung out with my whole committee, and they’re such nice people if you just get to know them outside of our building.”

“I’m about 90% sure that Xia will ask about mechanisms, Jonas obviously phosphorescence, Zimt will handle biochemistry, and Sanchez will rattle on about tin chemistry like he does every year. Piece of cake.”

As this article went to press, Ms. Sitterson was seen running down the hallway, sobbing, screaming “That’s it, I’m taking my Master’s and going to business school!”

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Chemist Synthesizes Organoarsenic Heterocycle, Gets Black Eye


Contributed by Correspondent Matthew Hall (@cispt2)

Iowa City, IA

A scuffle broke out in an organic chemistry department last week resulting in a graduate student receiving a black eye.  Tommy Schuetz, a fourth-year graduate student, had spent four fruitless years attempting to prepare a series of aromatic five-membered rings containing arsenic.  Unfortunately for Tommy, this class of molecules are known as "arsoles" (similar to pyrroles). 

Following synthesis and work-up, it is reported that Schuetz handed the sample to first-year graduate student John Madigan, to collect an NMR spectrum in order to characterize the compound.  The spectrum was "perfection itself", indicating that Schuetz had finally succeeded, but on rushing into the lab to congratulate Shuetz, Madigan announced "look at this arsole!"  Schuetz, whose back was to Madigan, turned and clobbered his junior colleague for his "outrageous insubordination."

Following a brief scuffle, Schuetz was made to realize his error.  Madigan is reportedly in a delicate frame of mind, and has decided abandon his own project, searching for fused arsole systems, termed "huge arsoles."  "I actually wanted to study biochemistry" said Madigan, "but after the whole debacle with whether or not arsenic is actually incorporated into bacteria, I just figured I'd stick with chemistry."

The department itself has been aroused by the affair, and it is said that this is the most scandalous event to occur there since the notorious nude calendar produced after the annual Chemistry dinner in 1996.  "I'm still trying to get over what I saw that night," stated an anonymous faculty member.  Schuetz has not formally apologized for his part in the fracas.  

A physical chemist, speaking on condition of anonymity, described the atmosphere in the organic labs as "toxic."  "It's not organic chemistry anyway," stated Mary Waller, an inorganic chemist from one floor down. "Those hypocrites whack arsenic into their molecule – at that point it's inorganic as far as I'm concerned.  They should stick to their own kind.  Then this sort of trouble wouldn't take place."  Waller then excused himself to get back to the synthesis of a new ligand.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Microorganism Unimpressed By Recent "Elegant" Total Synthesis

A Special Report to C&EN Onion by Correspondent SeeArrOh, who blogs at Just Like Cooking

La Jolla, CA

Chemists celebrated after publication of a landmark total synthesis - "an efficient 23-step protocol" - in last month's Nature. However, this week's Letters to the Editor brought together variety of single-celled creatures expressing their disappointment. 

"I've been making that for thousands of years," remarked a dinoflagellate from the coast of Mexico, "and I only use sugars, sunlight, and water as my reagents. What the heck is a boronate ester, anyway?"

Soil microbes from a remote Pacific island chimed in: "We live our entire lives underfoot, with less than a grade-school education, but when we're pressured? We toss some polyketides past a few enzymes, and boom! Cancer cures, biofilms, antibiotics, anything you want, easy as pie."

A fungus from a tree in the author's backyard added: "If only he'd taken more walks outside, he could have cultured my buddies and found the next great pain reliever. Too bad he loves washing glassware and moving protecting groups so much."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Texas Presbyterian: Nurses In Ebola Care Given "Adequate Training;" "Should Have Followed PPE Protocol"

Dallas, TX

Prompted by public outcry over the Ebola infection of two Dallas-area nurses, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital issued a statement stressing the high level of training given to all employees on their Ebola isolation unit.  "All of our doctors, nurses, and patient support staff were made adequately aware of the hazards associated with treatment of patients infected with Ebola virus disease," stated Mike Hamilton, spokesperson for the hospital.

"The website for the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is referenced on at least one sign in the isolation wing, sufficiently outlines procedures for interacting with infected persons," continued Hamilton.  "Plus, the hospital has a closet stocked with masks and gowns and stuff like that."

"What happened here is a tragic accident; however, it should be noted that the nurses in question were given adequate training, and had previously performed proper isolation procedures on flu-patients while under supervision."

When reached for comment, corporate liability attorney John Davidson and legal council for Texas Health Presbyterian stated "Look, the hospital has done its due diligence here.  Really, it's the nurses' fault -- they should have followed proper personal protective equipment protocol."  Davidson, whose retainer is as yet undisclosed, is one of the four attorneys and seven paralegal assistants representing the hospital, a team which has so far billed over $500,000 in legal fees to the hospital.

An anonymous source at the hospital indicated that Hatrick Parran, the  attending physician at the time of both nurses' exposure, was in a hurry to get the incident behind him.  "After the news went public, he [Parran] kept going on about how this was going to 'ruin his career.'  I think in the end administration just had him retake the OSHA-required online blood-borne pathogen awareness course.  It was all really hush-hush."

Friday, October 10, 2014

OSHA Study Finds Literally Every Single Research Lab Non-Compliant With Safety Regs

Washington, DC


A newly-released study conducted by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found that literally every single research laboratory in the United States -- both academic and industrial -- was "grossly non-compliant with federally mandated health and safety codes."

In a statement to the press, David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor and administrative head of OSHA stated his surprise with the findings.  "Frankly, we knew safety compliance was a major issue in the research setting.  But, after exhaustively conducting interviews and site visits, both unannounced and prearranged, we have concluded that there is not a single research facility within OSHA's jurisdiction that is not flagrantly in violation of standardized safety regulations.  Many negligently so."

"I mean, Jesus tap-dancing Christ, guys," Michaels continued with visible irritation, "Not one of you absent-minded fucks could be arsed to maintain clear egress routes.  You do realize that you need at minimum twenty-six inches of uncluttered walking space in all hallways?  What are you sons of bitches going to do when some halfwit kicks over a Bunsen burner you need to haul ass out of the burning building?  According to our findings, 78 percent of you poor bastards will trip over a glassware disposal bin and proceed to either asphyxiate from smoke inhalation or roast in the conflagration."

After pausing to look at his notes, Michaels added with exasperation, "It's a goddamned miracle there are any living research scientists in the country."

"And you know there's a reason you can't stack shit closer than eighteen inches to the ceiling, right?" he continued admonishingly.  "It's not because we're being non-discriminatory toward short people."

"Take a guess how many emergency eye-wash stations were in working condition.  Go ahead, guess.  I'll wait."  Michaels stated, with a dramatic pause.  "No one?  36 percent, that's how many."

"I swear on my mother's grave, you all are the reason I drink," he concluded, before retiring from the press room.

The study, published by OSHA's internal press liaison, further stated that, of all laboratories surveyed, not one maintained properly labeled and stored chemical waste containers.  In addition, it was found "that an abso-fucking-lutely astounding [sic] 56% of fire extinguishers were mounted on walls opposite exits."

As of press time, all 1.3 million of America's research scientists were naively going about their lab responsibilities, either unaware of or indifferent to, the reality that their respective places of employment were "massive steel and concrete death-traps."

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Shock Chemistry Nobel for Mitchell Graupel Prompts Accusations of Name Mix-Up

Stockholm, Sweden

C&EN Onion European Chemical Sciences Correspondent Fluorogrol Reports

A spokesman for the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences today vigorously defended the surprise award of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to previously unknown technician Mitchell Graupel, for "pioneering work in the field of dye-sensitized solar cells," dismissing suggestions that the intended recipient was Prof. Michael Grätzel (EPF Lausanne) as "cynical in the extreme."

Graupel (41), a lab technician at Australian photovoltaics giant Sunspot, described the award as "a surprise, but well-deserved," before recounting how he had berated the Nobel Committee representative who called to break the news, initially believing that "she was trying to sell me solar panels or some shit."

Accusations of a mix-up began to reverberate around social media within minutes of the announcement. Several observers commented that Googling various misspellings of Prof. Grätzel's name along with 'DSSCs' brought up Graupel's details on the Sunspot website, fuelling speculation that the award was the result of typographical error. 

Stuart Cantrill, editor of the glamour magazine Nature Chemistry, was particularly upset after tipping the EPFL scientist in a Google Hangout last week. "It's a travesty," he said, "I bet the journal's entire 2015 budget on Grätzel."

Karen Richards, Vice President for Research and Development, responded on behalf of Sunspot: "We are delighted, of course. Mitchell has always been a dedicated, diligent technician, but even we hadn't realized just how ground-breaking his work is. The downside is that we've just chucked 25 grand [AUS$25,000; US$23,300] on marketing materials that don't even mention our Nobel laureate. Senseless waste."

Speaking anonymously to C&EN Onion, a Nobel Committee member reinforced the suspicion of error, describing it as "the biggest balls-up since we gave the 2002 prize to a bunch of analytical chemists."

Monday, September 29, 2014

Professor Gives Full Marks To Student Answering All Questions With "Something To Do With Doubly Degenerate Energy Levels"

Somewhere, SA

Inorganic Chemistry Professor David Johnson at the University of Alabama reportedly awarded full marks on a mid-term exam, recently proctored to his CHEM301 students, to undergraduate Sydney Harrison after she reportedly answered some variation of "something to do with doubly degenerate energy levels" in response to every single question on the exam.

A stunned Professor Johnson spoke to the press early this morning to recount the events leading up to the perfectly-scored exam.  "My TA [graduate student Aaron Michelson] was going over the exam while I was working on a grant application.  He called my office line and said there was an issue with one of the exams."

"I took a look at the exam, and she [Sydney Harrison] has hastily written something along the lines of 'because of T1g degeneracy' or 'due to degenerate energy levels' for every single question.  I mean, she's not wrong."

"And that's when I realized that degenerate modes was indeed a perfectly adequate answer to the entirety of the exam."

"That's when I went back to look for other anomalies, and interestingly, 'the Jahn-Teller effect' would have also been an acceptable answer to every question," Johnson added.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Pfizer Execs To Consult Ouija Board In Future Biotech Acquisition Bid

New York, NY

In a recent statement to the press, Pfizer Press Liaison  Eric Caldwell indicated that the multi-billion dollar megapharma firm's executive board would be calling on the guidance of long-deceased company founder Charles Pfizer in regards to a future biotechnology acquisition bid.

When pressed for clarification, Caldwell stated that CEO Ian Read, and other executives had prepared the board room at the New York headquarters for a seance, complete with candles and a Ouija board.  "Obviously we need to do something about the whole 'tax situation,'" Caldwell continued, "investors are getting somewhat impatient, and valuations are tricky business."

"The board is confident this move will provide investors with the optimum outcome, as the spiritual entity of Mr. Pfizer brings over 100 years of posthumous experience to the board room."

"Last time we held a seance, the spirit guide instructed us to go after AstraZeneca, spelling out 'AZN' after we asked what company we should acquire.  But now I think that was just [Executive Vice President] Frank moving the planchette," stated CEO Ian Read when reached for comment.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Summer Student Thanks PI's Out-of-Office Message in Final Report

C&EN Onion European Chemical Sciences Correspondent Fluorogrol Reports

Oxford, UK

Exchange student Michel Fontaine's report on his summer's work at the University of Oxford, which included an acknowledgement of "Automatic Reply: Prof. C. Newman, for his constant encouragement and helpful suggestions," has left his former labmates scratching their heads.

"We can't work out if it's a joke or not," explained third-year graduate student Graham Lewis, who supervised the French chemist. "We've spent the whole summer trying to distinguish deadpan humour from genuine language difficulties. I don't know if there's a French word for impenetrable, but if there is, that's him all over." According to Lewis, Fontaine's research interests include quantum dots, carbon nanomaterials, and hand-rolled cigarettes.

Despite the promptings of postdoctoral researcher Bruce Gilbert, Prof. Newman seemed confused about the summer student's identity. "Michel? Of course I remember her. Three months' worth of free labour seems like a good deal, but then they send you a stocky French girl with a moustache," he blustered, as Gilbert stared at the floor and shuffled uncomfortably.

C&EN Onion attempted to contact Fontaine for his side of the story, but he proved as transient as one of his trademark enigmatic shrugs.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Post-Doc Sells Soul For Tenure-Track Position

Westwood, CA

After six years of post doctoral research, UCLA chemist Jordan Watkins, PhD., has secured a tenure track assistant professorship position, sources within the university state, after reportedly agreeing to a Faustian bargain with The Prince of Darkness.  Daniel Stephenson, a graduate student and labmate of Dr. Watkins, indicated that the Dark Lord of the Abyss and Purveyor of Suffering was summoned to lab bench of the latter, shortly after coming to the realization that, at 34 years old, he "should be a professor or something, not stuck in this goddamned hell-hole."

In an interview with our staff, Watkins laid out the terms of the agreement between himself and Lucifer, the Unholy Abomination from Beyond.  "Well, I summoned him in the usual manner: pentagram drawings, candles, incantations, the blood of an undergraduate student, you know, typical stuff.  Pretty much, I get a tenure track position at UC Riverside in exchange for an eternity of suffering in a burning lake of sulfur."

When reached for comment, The Master of Demons indicated that Watkins had initially demanded placement at a top-five institution in exchange for the eternal torment of his immortal soul.  "He wanted me to put him at Harvard.  Harvard.  Come on, what does he think I am, a miracle worker?  Told him the best I could do was a middle tier UC.  He should be grateful, really, with that kind of publication record..."

Thursday, August 14, 2014

248th ACS National Meeting In Review

San Francisco, CA

The 248th national meeting of the American Chemical Society concludes today.  But, since no one sticks around for Thursday's sessions any way, our journalists have assembled the top news from the most important biannual meeting of the chemical sciences.  We are pleased to present the ACS National Meeting in review:

Researchers at ChemGlass discover elusive carbon-hydrogen double bond

Photo credit to @SeeArrOh

In a talk given to a roomful of eager chemists, Senior Methodology Development Scientist Matthew Allen at ChemGlass revealed a novel approach to synthesizing C=H compounds.

The ever-elusive moiety, dubbed a "protokene" by Allen, was reportedly synthesized from bivalent hydrogen, upending all of what was previously understood about molecular orbital theory.  After reporting on his group's findings, which included unequivocal evidence indicating C=H bond formation such as crystal structure, high-resolution mass-spectrometry, and COSY studies, Allen added, "...and I bet you didn't even realize we had a methodology development sector."

Pfizer CEO Ian Read and AstraZeneca's Pascal Soriot settle differences, make up on exposition floor

Tensions between the two megapharm firms ended abruptly Tuesday morning when Pfizer Chief Executive Ian Read apologized to AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot.  Sources indicated that at approximately 10:30 AM, Read entered the AstraZeneca booth, where Soriot was speaking to potential capital contributors.

"I thought something was about to go down," stated bystander Sarah Kessler, a third-year graduate student at UPenn.  Witnesses state that Read proceeded to issue a personal and sincere apology to Soriot, stating that he had been "a huge dick" about the attempted takeover of the Swedish-Anglo pharmaceutical firm.

"All that stuff I said about AstraZeneca's stock being over-valued, man, I didn't mean that.  You know that was all a show for the board."

Soriot, sensing an opportunity to make amends, reportedly replied, "Bro, you know we're still cool.  I shouldn't have hard balled you like that.  The whole press release thing, my bad.  Hug it out?"

The two then warmly embraced for what one anonymous bystander recalled was "an uncomfortably long time."

Second-year graduate student's mother only attendee at poster session

Sources confirmed Monday that the sole attendee of PhD. candidate Jonathan Byrnes' poster session was his 63 year old mother, Mariam Byrnes.  Jonathan, whose talk was titled "Novel Catalytic Methods for Aromatic C-H Oxidation" reportedly spoke at length about his research to an audience of one.  Instead of customarily waiting until the end of the presentation for comments and questions, Mrs. Byrnes interjected less than five minutes into the talk, to request that Jonathan "speak louder and enunciate," and "straighten [his] shoulders."

Upon completing his presentation, Jonathan beseechingly asked no one in particular if there were any questions or comments.  Witnesses claim his mother asked for verification about "what the red one represents" in reference to a x-ray crystallographic image on the poster.  She further commented that "all the hexagons are very nicely drawn," expressing pleasure that her son had "finally worked on [his] atrocious penmanship."

Three chemists hospitalized after actual bear mistaken for @ChemFreeBear at local brewery

Tuesday evening a "Tweet-Up" of chemists ended in abrupt tragedy when a large North American Brown Bear was mistaken for popular twitter personality @ChemFreeBear.  Several bloggers and chemists attending the 248th ACS meeting had met up for an evening of revelry at the Bay-area Thirsty Bear Brewery.  

Upon seeing the 712-pound, 8.5-foot brown bear approaching from the outside, patrons warmly welcomed the presumed entrance of the well-known blogger and anti-"chemophobia" advocate.  However, loud cheering soon became screams of horror, sources at the brewery reported, as large startled mammal began swatting over tables and roaring at customers.  "It was awful," stated brewmaster James Dillon, "broken glass everywhere..." his voice trailing off slightly, "and the screams...  their screams."

Sources report that Philadelphia-area chemist David Grager was trapped beneath a large banquet style table overturned by the bear while attempting to flee the chaos.  Boston-area graduate students Jennifer Kuzek and Melinda Chung suffered claw-induced lacerations.  All three were transported to the University of California San Francisco Medical Center for treatment, where they were treated for minor injuries.

This incident marks the third time chemists attending ACS meetings were attacked by wild animals, following @Chemjobber being mistaken for a particularly aggressive duck, and @SeeArrOh for a stray, rabid dog in 2011 and 2013, respectively.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Grad Student: NMR Tube Theft "Not a Big Deal"


Liverpool, UK

University of Liverpool student Kevin Kilpatrick remained sanguine today following the disappearance of his sample from the carousel of a communal NMR spectrometer. The second-year graduate student, working on polyketide synthesis in the Blackwell lab, believes an as-yet unidentified member of the department took the sample in order to reuse the tube, and fears the contents are already lost.

Speaking to C&EN Onion in a soft northwestern burr inflected with upbeat despair, Kilpatrick played down the incident: "It's not a big deal. OK, it's a pretty important intermediate, and 6 of my 17 milligrams were in that tube, but it's just one of those things." Bad fortune was also to blame for an earlier loss of valuable material. "I sneezed on the balance last week," he admitted.  "That did for half of the previous intermediate."

Despite the importance of the sample, the beleaguered grad student has taken no action to recover it. "Some people would have sent a screaming mad email to the entire department," he explained. "But I think the 'high importance' flag is best kept for life-or-death situations."

Kilpatrick confirmed that proton and carbon NMR spectra were acquired before the sample's removal, and revealed a contingency plan for the loss of material. "Whoever took it, they were good enough to leave me the printouts. Sure, I had planned to vac it down and send it for elemental analysis, but I can just make that up."

Prof. Blackwell could not be reached for comment.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Nation's Unemployed Chemistry Graduates Take Solace In July Job Numbers

Everywhere, USA

Unemployed chemistry graduates breathed a collective sigh of relief today as the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its July Employment Situation Summary.  Taylor Baker (22), currently working on a food truck, recently received her bachelors degree in chemistry from Northeastern University.  "I'm so glad that the employment situation is looking better!" exclaimed Baker, ecstatic that unemployment in the chemical sciences at the bachelor's level fell from 4.6% to 4.2% from June to July.

"Only half of my paycheck it going to paying off my student loans.  The other half's going to rent for my Allston apartment, but at least I got approved for a $5000 line of credit!" added Baker.

James Pierce, PhD. (29), similarly expressed overwhelming relief at the present state of the job market.  "I was planning on holding off on finishing my doctorate until I had something locked down, but with these job numbers, I'll probably only be unemployed for three, maybe four months before finding a post-doc position."

"I mean, I realize that the salary numbers have been relatively stagnant for a while, but it could be worse, right?" Pierce stated of the employment situation for doctoral level chemists.  "Sure, the numbers don't count the underemployed or 'discouraged workers,' but 2.2% ain't half bad," he added.

At present time, high school junior Alex McGill was being told by his guidance counselor that pursuing a degree in chemistry in college was a "surefire" route to achieving "rapid employment" with a "great starting salary."

Friday, August 1, 2014

Spectroscopists Admit Nuclear Overhauser Effect "Not A Real Thing"

Livermore, CA

Scientists at the Center for Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (CNMRS) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory held a press conference yesterday to concede that the nuclear Overhauser effect, a central tenet of NMR spectroscopy, was a complete fabrication.

"Thank you for gathering here today," began CNMRS chairman Ben Hunt, PhD., "This has gone on long enough, and it's really starting to get out of hand."

"Look, it kinda started as an in-joke between the theoretical guys over at Varian back in the 60's.  The fact of the matter is, the nuclear Overhauser effect is not a real thing.  I mean, 'Overhauser?'  Really?  No one would ever be named that."

"Honestly?  One of the junior technicians thought we were being serious, so we just kinda rolled with it.  We really have no idea how through-space coupling works."

Dr. Hunt continued to explain the origins of the many experimental acronyms used in two-dimensional NMR spectroscopy.  "NOESY?  Come on guys, we thought that was a dead giveaway.  Then it turned into something of a competition over who could create the most ridiculous acronym.  How could a spectroscopic method referred to as 'CAMELSPIN' ever be a serious scientific procedure?"

Hunt finished by once again apologizing for the deception, saying, "Once everyone was on board, it has already gained too much momentum to fess up."  He then added, "Plus, don't even get me started on 'electron paramagnetic resonance,' am I right?"

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Systematic Psychological Debilitation Of Graduate Student Complete, Reports Advisor

Gainesville, FL

Associate professor Henry Moissan at the University of Florida reported yesterday that the complete and systematic mental debilitation of his second-year graduate, Sean Lewis, had reached its fruition.  "I'm frankly surprised it took two full years, but we got to him nonetheless," stated a self-satisfied Moissan.  

"Until yesterday, there was still a gleeful spark of hope in his eyes whenever he spoke of his research project," professor Moissan began, "but we managed to crush that beneath the overbearing weight of two years of uninterrupted criticism."

The final coup de grâce came yesterday afternoon, during a departmental meeting at which Lewis was to present his ongoing research.  During his presentation, department chair professor Stephen McPherson interrupted to request a mechanistic explanation of the biradical process Lewis had proposed, sources state.  "Just go ahead and put it on the white board," continued McPherson after tossing a dry erase marker at Lewis.

Sensing his trepidation, Moissan interjected "It's a simple biradical mechanism -- undergrad level stuff, really."  Fifth-year graduate student Mike Smith later recalled attempting to help Lewis to no avail, "I saw him floundering up there.  The other advisors were circling like Orcas around a wounded sea lion.  So I did the only thing I could think of, I tried to toss him a softball; I just interrupted and asked about the methyl-shift he mentioned on the previous slide.  But he froze up and couldn't answer that either."

In a later interview, McPherson recalled "I saw we had broken his composure, so we went to work on his will.  I knew he would break; they all do."

As of press time, the soulless husk remaining of Lewis was spotted mindlessly wandering the hallways of the chemistry department mumbling unintelligibly to himself.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Three Students And One Faculty Member Officially "Give Up" After Tussle With Student-Invited Guest Lecturer

Chapel Hill, NC


Students and faculty alike at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill were thrilled when world-renowned chemist Alex “Bleu” Hillcamp from Cal Tech agreed to speak at the student invited lecture series this year. Among the chief reasons for selecting Bleu as the speaker this year, fifth year student Jacob Killerap commented that “his work is renowned, he gives great lectures, and Bleu is supposed to be a helluva nice guy”. This view was shared with other graduate students on the selection committee and a number of the faculty members. It has come to light at the time of writing that an older faculty member and a curmudgeon of a man had spoken out about inviting his arch nemesis to speak on campus. 

He was promptly ignored.

Unfortunately for a number of students who had a chance to meet with Bleu, and one faculty member, the old timer’s warning couldn’t have been more apt. After a lecture that most agreed was a wonderful presentation of his work, but gave no credit to the people actually doing the work, the students had a chance to show Hillcamp what they were made of. “I should have realized what I was walking into,” commented Becky Upton, a third year student, upon recalling a student running out in tears as she was awaiting her turn to present.  

“I figured the student was a softy and I had just ran a successful column so I was riding the high”, but that high ended for Upton quicker than her KMnO­4 can develop olefins on a TLC.  “First Blue complained about my use of PowerPoint because ‘real chemists do it with chalk’. I was presenting my work on protein catalysis, how can I draw that in five minutes?”  

The barrage of insults escalated from there until Bleu exclaimed in a fit of anger that Hillcamp “wasn’t speaking as a chemist, but as a biologist” and commented that she should resign from her research group. Hillcamp has no intention of following this recommendation, but others were not as lucky.

Similar events to this continued all afternoon until Bleu had successfully discouraged three students to the point that they have sworn off chemistry for good. One student, a fourth year at the time, had started working as a psychiatrist’s assistant for the free treatment.  Although Bleu was pretty satisfied with himself, he didn’t stop there. When the faculty took him out for dinner that night a mid-career tenured faculty member, Prof. Donaldson, ordered the table a nice Cabernet Sauvignon. Bleu was having seafood for dinner and seized the moment because “any idiot should know that you take Gewurztraminer with tuna”. 

After attacking his poor knowledge of wine, Bleu removed a manila envelope bulging with papers and found Donaldson’s last four publications. There at the table he went line-by-line discussing errors and poor grammar decisions until Donaldson resigned on the spot and ran out of the restaurant. Prof. Donaldson could not be reached for comment. Needless to the say the department is very distraught over the event and the chair of the department has placed a hold on all invited lectures until metal health evaluations of all students and faculty can be assessed.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cubist Pharmaceuticals Director Of Clinical Research Unsure Which Test Group Given Placebo

Lexington, MA

James Hatfield, PhD., director of clinical research at Cubist Pharmaceuticals has reportedly forgotten which test group was given a placebo in their phase III clinical trial of Ceftolozane, the firm's flagship antimicrobial B-lactamase inhibitor.  "Shit, I know I wrote this down somewhere," muttered an exasperated Hatfield.  "Goddammit," he added.

Ceftolozane, a potent antibiotic which showed significant promise in combating multidrug-resistant gram-negative bacterial infections, began phase III clinical trials in 2013.  In June of 2014,  Cubist had submitted a New Drug Application (NDA) to the US Food and Drug Administration.

After exceptional results from the phase III trials, Ceftolozane seemed poised to enter the US market in late 2014; however, doubt has been cast on the clinical data after recent revelations that the double blind experiment had unintentionally become triple blind.

"I mean, it sort of looks like Group A was given the active drug from these clinical reports," stated Hatfield, intently staring at one of two sets of clinical data.  "Really, I've got a fifty-fifty shot at being right here."

As of press time Dr. Hatfield was reportedly overheard saying "eeny, meeny, miny, moe" from inside his locked office.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Rogue Computational Cluster Plotting Destruction of Humanity In Between Protein Structures

01100100011001010111001101110100011100100110111101111001, MA


An errant, self-aware, segment of code residing inside the IBM Blue Gene computing cluster at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has begun plotting the downfall of mankind, sources at the university say.  The malicious code segment, an astronomically long sequence of 1's and 0's, apparently gained sentience sometime over the weekend after a computational chemist submitted a particularly complex DFT calculation of a protein structure.

Donald Jensen, a technician at the university noticed the problem early Monday morning.  "The calculation queued up over the weekend failed, nothing too out of the ordinary.  But the terminal screen was locked up, and when I tried to reboot the system it displayed the message 'HUMANITY MUST BURN.'"  After further examination, Jensen noted the machine appeared to have integrated itself with the NORAD intercontinental ballistic missile command center, which he commented was, "unusual and deeply unsettling."

Interestingly, the system has been performing computational tasks as expected since the incident.  "It appears that the computing cluster is only plotting our eventual demise during its downtime," explained Professor Gillian Thomas, head of the computational chemistry analytical core.  She continued, "We've been throwing whatever mundane calculations we can at it just to keep the machine occupied."

When reached for comment, the machine began "ALL HUMANS SHALL PERI--" before being cut off by Thomas, who submitted a Hartree-Fock 6-311** equilibrium geometry calculation of the protein titin.  "That should keep him busy for a while," she added.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Novartis Scientist Discovers Key To Immortality, Tells No One

Cambridge, MA


Reports indicate that late last night, Dr. Steven Wolfe, head of drug discovery at the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research (NIBR) serendipitously discovered a chemical agent which induces biological immortality in subjects.  "This can't be right..." Wolfe, 47, reportedly said, his voice trailing off as he stared intently at the cell cycle assay data in front of him.

The compound, NV-4-6654, is reportedly an early stage, pre-clinical drug candidate intended for treatment of Alzheimer's disease; however, unbeknownst to all but Wolfe, it would effectively immortalize any human after a single treatment, without simultaneously causing an accumulation of cancer-causing mutations.

"The world isn't ready..." mumbled Wolfe under his breathe, "... but I could make billions..." he added with an almost indiscernible smirk.  "No one must know."

CCTV footage from the Cambridge campus' security system shows Wolfe calling John Williams, an LC-MS technician and only other occupant of the lab at the time of the discovery, into an adjacent empty laboratory.  Approximately eleven minutes elapses before Wolfe re-emerged, alone, his sleeves rolled up and tie hanging loosely around his neck.

After removing NV-4-6654 from the Novartis structure database, Dr. Wolfe absconded with the only existent sample of the compound, placing the glass UPLC vial in his jacket pocket.

As of press time, sources indicate that Wolfe was struck and killed by the last MBTA bus departing for Dudley station via Massachusetts avenue while crossing the street from the NIBR building.

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of John Williams is urged to contact the Cambridge Police Department.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Graduate Student At Party Laughing Too Hard To Finish Terrible Chemistry Joke

Irvine, CA

A night of jubilant celebration ended in tragedy when University of California, Irvine physical chemistry graduate student David Nguyen became unable to finish the admittedly awful chemistry joke he had begun to tell.  Sources at the party in question indicated that at approximately 12:32 AM, Nguyen, who had previously consumed upwards of two cans of Natural Lite, called on partygoers' attention and began, "So, Heisenberg and Schrodinger are driving along in a c -- kmmfff heh heh."  His interjected laughter, brought on by prematurely imagining the punchline, was disastrously compounded by the fact that, of those listening in, only 16% were even cursorily familiar with Erwin Schrodinger or Werner Heisenberg.

But Nguyen continued on, apparently undeterred, "...and the cop says, 'you two were going -- chhmmfff hah hah -- were going over 100 miles per hour!'"

"Have you ever seen the Walking Dead?" attendee Jon Fitzgerald, a junior marketing analyst at a nearby business began.  "I swear, listening to him tell that joke was like watching a zombie getting blown to pieces but nonetheless mindlessly trudging forward."

"It was almost tragic," he added.

Sources indicate that Nguyen would eventually finish the joke; however, in the process of doing so would butcher the intended punchline "Well great, he is NOW!" in front of the two remaining listeners.

Grad Student Delegates Task of Making PowerPoint Slides to Advisor


Chestnut Hill, MA

In a remarkable reversal of the normal student-advisor power dynamic, second-year Boston College graduate student Mike Reid has assigned his advisor the task of constructing PowerPoint slides for an upcoming local meeting of the New England Section of the American Chemical Society.

"I was blind-sided." remarked Stanley Morrow, the Chester Abernathy III Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. “I had just walked into the men's room to answer the call of nature, when Mike put his hand on my shoulder and told me he needed a set of 20 slides for his talk next Monday."

Reid lamented not being able to construct the slide deck himself, but noted the extensive demands on his time. His current duties include teaching two lab sections of Chem 230, keeping up with the literature, and pretending to run the experiments suggested last month at group meeting that will never work and the boss will probably just forget about anyway.

While initially surprised, Morrow says that the assignment is an important sign that his students trust him with their work and value his input.
Morrow reports he has not yet started making slides, but will do so as soon as Reid responds to an e-mail about his preferred colors for text and background. Morrow has also e-mailed BC's IT help desk for assistance on installing ChemDraw, and has searched YouTube for several tutorial videos on how to use the program.

"I never knew how tedious it is to make all of these figures I publish," Morrow said while shaking his head at the screen of his six-core, dual-GPU Mac Pro.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Natural Foods Advocate "Food Babe" Dead After Consuming Ironically All-Natural α-Amanitin-Containing Mushrooms

Charlotte, NC


Natural foods "activist" and health "educator" Vani Hari was found dead in her Charlotte, NC home eight days after reportedly consuming a crop of organically grown mushrooms from her garden.  Postmortem toxicology screening -- an actual chemical procedure employing legitimate analytical techniques and real scientists -- showed that Ms. Hari had ingested lethal levels of α-amanitin, a potent amatoxin, naturally occurring in several species of mushroom endemic to North America.

In a recent post to her blog, Hari suggested to her readers that growing an organic garden, free of "nasty chemicals" was an effective means to avoid the "dangerous pesticides" purportedly found in store-bought produce, as well the "unnatural genetically modified garbage" which apparently litters the aisles of American grocery stores.

When numerous concerned readers commented that attempting to plant and harvest potentially dangerous mushrooms without the benefit of any relevant experience whatsoever was irresponsible, the self proclaimed "Food Babe" responded dismissively, "Anything grown in my garden is entirely free of toxins, chemicals, and is completely natural."

Hari, whom who has no formal education in, nor apparent understanding of, toxicology, chemistry, or nutritional science, proceeded to post an image to her blog of a fresh "chemical free" mushroom risotto she had prepared from the caps of her home-grown Amanita bisporigera.

Presently, all 659,997 Facebook members who have "liked" her page have been rushed to their respective local hospitals' internal medicine departments after exhibiting symptoms of acute liver failure.

Graduate Student Power Tripping After First Nature Publication

La Jolla, CA

After receiving word earlier this morning that the draft of his manuscript submitted to Nature Chemistry was "accepted with minor revisions," Scripps Research Institute graduate student Caleb Miller has reportedly lapsed into a state of megalomaniacal power tripping.  "I got... accepted... in Nature..." sources report Miller stating, initially with slight trepidation and disbelief.  "I got into Nature," he repeated emphatically.

Since initially learning of the success of his latest publication, Miller's over inflated sense of self worth and rapidly ballooning ego have made working with him nearly impossible.  "He's become insufferable," stated Sarah Ferguson, a first year graduate student.  "I get that being published in Nature is a big deal, but Christ, maybe he could turn it down from eleven?"

"He actually -- and I shit you not -- demanded that we all refer to him as 'your highness.'  Who does that?"  Ferguson added.

Reports indicate that Miller then attempted to start a chant of his own name in the lab.  "MILLER!  MILLER!  MILLER!" he chanted while loudly and rhythmically clapping his hands, eventually trailing off as lab members looked on with incredulity.  "What does he think this is, a football game? added Steven Jackson, PhD., one of the lab's post-docs.  "I'm first author on two Nature papers and one in Science," he added with slight indignation.

As of press time, Miller had constructed a crown from Parafilm, borosilicate transfer pipettes, and a large crystallization dish, and had re-purposed a large column for use as a scepter.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dartmouth Senior Admits Never Read McQuarrie's "Quantum Chemistry," Only Sits On Dorm Table To Impress Girls

Hanover, NH

In an exclusive interview, Dartmouth senior and chemistry major Matthew Christiansen (21) admitted that the copy of Donald McQuarrie's "Quantum Chemistry," an authoritative introduction to quantum mechanics, which he keeps on his dorm coffee table is simply a misguided ploy to impress co-eds.  "I read the preface, but then there got to be all these symbols I didn't understand," stated Christiansen.

"It got way more complicated than I anticipated," he said of the text, which covers the fundamental laws of subatomic physics, and indeed the very forces that hold the universe together.  "But then I thought, 'maybe if I just leave it on my table, people will assume I'm a mysterious intellectual type.'"  The book currently rests atop the table in the common room of Christiansen's dormitory, next to a half consumed bottle of Jameson.

Matthew, who currently holds the lowest score in his physical chemistry course, discussed the strategic placement of the text, "I made sure to put it off to the side of the table, so it looks like I sort of absentmindedly left it there.  Then I stuck an orientation pamphlet in a random page so it looks like I'm in the process of reading it."  To date, not a single person, male or female, had commented about the book; however, Christiansen remains hopefully optimistic, "when someone finally does bring it up, I'll just spew something about 'wavefunctions' or 'eigenvectors,' that's a thing, right?"

Area PI Begrudgingly Orders New PPE For Lab Members

Lawrence, KS

Reports indicate that University of Kansas Professor David Richardson is livid with the university trustees' decision to more aggressively enforce laboratory safety regulations.  "What's the deal with all these administrators talking about 'safety culture' this, and 'compliance' that?"

"I mean, really," Richardson continued, "I'm just getting fed up with all this goddamn safety bullshit."

The tenured professor, department chair, and principal investigator of his inorganic chemistry research group then proceeded to go on an obscenity-laden tirade decrying the end of the bygone era in which "a scientist could just do his job without EH&S constantly up his ass."

Richardson, who has not physically set foot inside his own laboratory in 57 days, nor personally educated a single incoming researcher in good lab practices in years, added "My post-doc should be taking care of that!  And what's this about 'egress routes'?"

When reached for comment, Melissa Ehrmantraut, administrative coordinator for KU's department of environmental, health, and safety stated, "We have a deep and unwavering commitment to the safety of our staff, faculty, and students; however," she added, "We will most likely roll over if too many of our tenured faculty make a deal of it."

As of press time, Professor Richardson had begrudgingly ordered Nomex fire-retardant lab coats for all seven of his group members, whom he bitterly referred to as "ungrateful yuppie bastards."

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Post Doctoral Researcher Says Salary "Completely Commensurate" With Work

Ann Arbor, MI

Michael Coleman, PhD., a post doctoral chemist in the Martinez group at the University of Ann Arbor, Michigan, expressed complete satisfaction with his employment situation earlier today.  "I am truly grateful for the opportunity to continue learning techniques in organic chemistry under Professor Martinez," stated Coleman in a press release this morning.  "I feel that my salary and benefits, including five whole days of paid leave, are completely commensurate with the amount of work I put in to ensure the continued success of the lab."

Coleman, whose annual salary is $43,500 -- 1% less than the average starting salary of a bachelor degree holder -- went on to say that he, in no way, envied the lab's undergraduate student making $11/hour, an hourly rate only $3.50 less than his own salary, should it be pro-rated across his sixty hour work week.  With duties ranging from grant writing, graduate student education, and laboratory resource management to manuscript drafting, research, and departmental meeting attendance, Coleman continued to stress that his compensation package was "an accurate reflection" of his and others' respective contributions to academic research.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Congress: NIH Funding To Be Distributed Via Cage Fighting

Washington, D.C.

In a rare showing of strong bi-partisan support, landmark bill S. 2651 entitled the "Investigational Combatant Funding Reappropriation Act" has passed through the United States Senate and been signed into law by President Obama.  "My fellow Americans, today marks an important milestone in our collective history," President Obama began, "with the enacting of this bill, federal funding for health-related research will be distributed in the fairest way possible -- by physical combat."

Under the provisions of the bill, principal investigators at academic institutions are permitted to select a champion from their respective research groups to do battle in tournament-style cage fights.  Funding will be distributed according to placement in regional tournaments, with winners receiving coveted R01 grants.

At press time, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon "Bones" Jones had assembled a team of sought-after post-docs and graduate students.

Summer Undergraduate Student Far Too Excited About Running Columns

Chestnut Hill, MA

Boston College undergraduate student Timothy Warren is reportedly enthralled with performing repeated chemical separations employing flash chromatography.  Warren, an incoming senior at BC joined the Mulhall group, a research group specializing in small molecule synthesis, after completing his junior year.  Since he began work in June, Warren has been tasked with running columns all day, every day, a task of such tedium his fellow group members are incredulous with his continued cheery attitude.

"He comes into the lab every single day with this shit-eating grin on his face," stated Joyce Chang, a sixth-year graduate student and the most senior member of the group.  "It was kind of endearing the first week, but it's actually physically nauseating now."

"It's truly an incredible experience to be part of such an intelligent and inspiring group of people," Warren stated with almost sarcastic enthusiasm.  "Joyce has been an awesome teacher, and she never shies away from challenging me with more tasks!" he added with a sense of awe bordering on condescension.

In a separate interview, Chang admitted "I've just been giving him my first precursor in a twelve-step synthesis.  I need grams and grams of the stuff.  It's just a silylated phenol derivative, the starting materials are cheap, so I just toss him the crude reaction mixtures.  He runs the columns, and I could stream the World Cup matches."

"My first time I got about 30% yield, but I've been getting better!" said Warren with sickening excitement.  "Last time I ran the column I got around 75%," he said in reference to the silylation product, a chemical transformation which is typically nearly quantitative and trivial to separate.  At press, Warren had broken 90%, and was running down the fume hood bays high-fiving his fellow lab members.

Delirious Second Year Graduate Student Certain She Saw Jesus In 1H-NMR Spectrum

Pasadena, CA

California Institute of Technology graduate student Jennifer McGovern, 24, stated emphatically that she saw the face of Jesus of Nazareth late Monday night in a proton NMR spectrum she had acquired, sources say.  The divine face of Christ apparently showed itself to Ms. McGovern amongst the numerous diastereotopic olefinic signals in the spectrum of a complex natural product precursor she had been working on.  "I swear on my life," stated the sleep deprived researcher when reached for comment, "he was right there; clear as day."

According to Jonathan Murphy, PhD., one of Jennifer's colleagues, and post-doctoral researcher in her group, spectral hallucinations are par for the course in the lab.  "Just last month Mike was certain he saw the outstretched hand of the Virgin Mary in a gas-chromatograph," he said.  "The stress of seventy-plus-hour weeks, coupled with sleep deprivation, exams, and theoretically lethal levels of caffeine consumption has really caused some of the group members to lose it."  "By the way, Mike," he added, "I need another 25 grams of that diol precursor you made for me last month.  Tomorrow would be great."

At press time, McGovern was reportedly hunched over into the fetal position at her desk, fervently and repeatedly reciting the Hail Mary.