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.


  1. Once again, we deeply regret the tragic accident that happened in 2011 at the Bitey Duck Pub. It should be noted that all of the injured chemists were very experienced in avian handling and should have performed proper Lock Bill/Tag Bill procedures, but somehow failed to do so.

    We are establishing the Institute for Wild Avian Handling here in Shell, Wyoming to prevent future incidents and share our learnings. Chemjobber is pleased to note that the IWAH is now considered a national leader in wild avian handling.

  2. Rapid dogs are easily the most dangerous canine creatures.