Tuesday, August 18, 2015

C&EN 'Talented 12' Compete for "Most Talented" Superlative

Written by C&EN Independent Correspondent SeeArrOh, who blogs at Just Like Cooking.


It's pretty sweet to be labeled an up-and-comer among your professional peers. But, to quote Highlander: "There can be only one!"

This might explain the ongoing competition among the Talented 12 scholars. "It started so innocently," claimed fluorescent probe master Luke Lavis. "Hosea [Nelson] sidled up to me to challenge me to a foot-race, and, next thing I knew, we were sprinting up and down the halls of the Marriott." Synthetic wunderkind Kami Hull has since challenged contact lens pioneer Karen Havenstrite to an arm-wrestling match; Troy Lister and Matt Kanan were last seen engaged in a pie-eating contest. 

Remarked C&EN Editor Bibiana Campos Seijo: "Really, they're all equally gifted, but we'll be keeping close watch to see which one survives the conference with the most street cred."

Baran Invents Time Machine, Returns To 2015 To Report On Maoecrystal V

Boston, MA

To an audience of eager chemists, Professor Phil Baran of the Scripps Institute presented his future self from the year 2019 who in turn presented the results of his present self's eventual optimized total synthesis of maoecrystal v.  Baran, who will have had completed the elegant, 12-step route by late 2018, extolled on the difficulties of the project.

"Optimizing and cutting down on junk steps took almost two full years of work by seven post-docs.  From there, it was a trivial matter of correctly orienting the polarity of several flux capacitors, allowing me to be here with you today," said future-Baran.

Baran did, however, acknowledge some difficulties in implementing his time travel machine.  "It turned out the baryon transistors were exceedingly sensitive to tachyon magnetization.  The result was inconsistent end-points of time travel.  I regret to report that, in the course of debugging, two graduate students were lost, we believe sometime in the mid-to-late cretaceous period."

Upon completion of his talk, the future-present Baran system auto-annihilated, resulting in a singular meta-Baran, which itself transcended both time and mortality, as well as human consciousness.  

All those in attendance were reportedly filled with an overwhelming feeling of tranquility and understanding of the collective human condition. Meta-Baran then disintegrated into pure energy, a sight so beautiful that many were driven insane by the jarring epiphany that nothing in the duration of their metaphysically unimportant lives would ever compare.

As of press time, a small slip in the fabric of space-time had allowed fleeting contact with Professor Yoshito Kishi from the year 2021, who uttered a drawn out "MAIIIITOOOOOTOOOXIIIIIIN" before fading from existence.

ACS Conferee's "Black Sunday" Exposition Hall Camp-out Yields Tchotchke Fortune

Written by C&EN Independent Correspondent SeeArrOh, who blogs at Just Like Cooking.


For some, it's a tradition akin to stalwarts lining up outside Wal-Mart on Thanksgiving eve. "I bring a small pup-tent to all ACS National Meetings," says Susan Ortiz, a safety officer from UNH. "If you want the best free schwag from the top vendors, you'd best be at those glass doors at 5:59PM."

"My advice? Bring tennis shoes, and be ready to sprint."

Ms. Ortiz's haul this year set records: a dozen T-shirts, 58 pens, countless pieces of Halloween candy and myriad USB drives. "Really, I'm set until Christmas - my whole family knows to expect branded sunglasses, KNF keychains, or that special Sigma Aldrich solvent guide under the tree."

Sunday, August 16, 2015

ACS Meeting Provides Boon to Local Costume Shop

Written by C&EN Independent Correspondent SeeArrOh, who blogs at Just Like Cooking.


 With the American Chemical Society's 250th set to kick off this weekend, rentals of mole costumes are up a stunning 200%. 

"Usually, I just have this fuzzy brown shell sitting in the back of a U-Haul" remarks George Sullivan, the lucky entrepreneur of Boston Costume. "I mean, there was that weekend last October, when those guys from Durham College rented out my best suit for 8 hours, but these ACS guys are looking for two costumes for an entire week? Jackpot!"

Mr. Sullivan could not be reached for further comment; the C&EN Onion staff last observed him pitching a potential "Mass Lobster" mascot to ACS past-President Bassam Shakhashiri. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

ACS Official: Entire Meeting Schedule Set To Inconvenience Single Graduate Student

Boston, MA

Sources within the American Chemical Society have confirmed that the entire schedule of the 250th National Meeting was put together with the express purpose of fucking with area graduate student David Weiss.

"We took a look at numerous configurations, schedules, and venues, and decided that the current format of the 250th National  Meeting of the American Chemical Society allows us to dick over Mr. Weiss to the greatest extent possible," an anonymous source within the ACS stated.

The conference organizers poured over metadata from Weiss's journal access over the past year, and combined with a complex sorting algorithm, determined which talks he would be most interested in seeing.  They then scheduled those talks in such a way as to make it impossible to attend more than 50% of them.

"Every meeting we pick one lucky graduate student as tribute, and this time second-year graduate student David Weiss from Tufts got the short straw," stated ACS President Diane Grob Schmidt.  "The organizers really get a kick out of it," she added.

Citing overlapping talks, poster sessions on opposite sides of the conference hall, or in an auxiliary hall all together, and frequent conflicts between the Organic and Biological Chemistry technical division sessions, ACS officials confirmed that they had achieved the ideal level of inconvenience for Mr. Weiss.

As of press time, Weiss was incredulous that both Professors Phil Baran and James Bradner were giving talks at the same exact time on Wednesday.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Boston: A Visiting Chemist's Guide

Welcome to Boston!  You've landed at Logan International Airport, checked into your hotel, and are eagerly awaiting the talks to start at the 250th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.  We've put together a handy list of some basic Do's and Dont's while visiting this beautiful city.


  • See how many family pictures you can photobomb in front of MIT or Harvard.  Boston locals keep a tally, and some even go as far as tagging themselves when these gems later inevitably appear on Facebook.
  • Wear a pea coat.  The thick wool will keep you insulated from the icy August weather, and Bostonians find them quite fashionable.  Remember, it could begin snowing at literally any time.
  • Rent a car.  Feel free to drive around the city as much as you'd like.  Locals will especially appreciate this, as most do not know how to drive and will take kindly to learning by your example.
  • Go to brunch in the South End.  This is not to be confused with South Boston or "Southie."  The former offers a broad assortment of bourgeois dining options;  the latter has an unsettlingly large number of public storage units.
  • Order an "Irish Car-Bomb" at any of the Irish Pubs in Boston.  Many of these establishments have employees of Irish descent who will appreciate your homage to their nation's history.
  • Take a picture with the Benjamin Franklin lookalike at the Union Oyster House.  There are, like, six of them that rotate around.  And they try to charge you afterward.
  • Go to the top of the hub.  In Boston, there are plenty of places to get belligerently drunk that are not suspended 1000 feet in the air. 
  • Pahk your cahh in Havaahhdd Yahhd.
  • Use Uber.  Despite the convenience of this car service, angry mobs of taxis drivers have been known to descend upon unsuspecting Uber patrons.
  • Go to Allston.  Just don't.