Chemistry on the web

15 August 2010 - The blogs published an amusing letter written in 1996 by Erick M. Carreira (Caltech) to one of his postdocs complaining about the post doc's lack of commitment i.e. his refusal to work evenings and weekends in the lab in addition to his regular daytime work hours . Of course this is typically an American problem , in The Netherlands it is strictly forbidden to work evenings and weekends in a lab due to safety regulations! Also see Chembark on the right use of the words postdoc and Carreira in a sentence.

In The Pipeline discusses the apparent lack of challenges in organic chemistry: research is too incremental and too many worthless papers get written. The comments mention lack of funding for fundamental research, over-emphasis on total synthesis (serves no purpose) and organic chemists being service providers to other disciplines such as materials science. The comments are also not very kind to R.B. Woodward: meager publication record in the first 10 years of his career (not acceptable by todays standards) and wasting his time on strychnine total synthesis when he could have discovered DNA.

Henry Rzepa blogs about the recent discovery of cyclobutadiene encapsulated in a calixarene stable enough for X-ray crystallography . Rzepa wonders why this molecule does not simply recombine with carbon dioxide also trapped in the cavity. Staying in the realm of research blogging All Things Metathesis present an update on enantioselective metathesis catalysts and Totally Synthetic one on the Cortistatins.

Drug Discovery Opinion alerts us to a new tool for converting chemical names to structures and they are happy about it and Orgprep Daily alerts us to the molecular editor symyx they are not happy about because this software apparently hijacks file formats.