Finals week has just started and all I can say is "Wow." It was a busy semester for me just as I am sure it was for you our loyal BITeS readers. I've added a few more things to my list of things I wish I had learned about being a professor before I got started as one. Someday that will make for an interesting BITeS, but today is certainly not that day. I've also learned that "because I am stupid" is more often than not a good answer to any question that starts with "Why did you...?" (Followed by "and I'm sorry" when appropriate.)
Chip Nataro, Lafayette College's blog
Once again it is Nobel season and in about 1 day from writting this post we will know who has taken home the chemistry prize. From the variety of predictions this year it seems like the field is wide open. The RSC has put together a nice summary from various sources here.
At the recent Organometallic Chemistry Gordon Research Conference there was a noticible fashion statement being made on Wednesday night. Four people were wearing identical shirts. And just to show how cool the shirts are, a fifth person wore their shirt on Thursday night during a special session. I would give more details, but what happens at a Gordo stays at a Gordo. What was this shirt you might ask?
Perhaps you noticed the poll about element symbols in names and were curious as to the answer. Well, given the need for a new BITeS post and my ability to think at this point in the semester, here are the answers. As a refresher, the question was, how many elements have element symbols in the middle of their names? For elements with an odd number of letters in their names the symbol must be the middle letter while for elements with an even number of letters in their names the middle two letters must be a symbol. I've made the symbols bold and inserted captial letters where appropriate.
Let's face it, it's that time in the semester. The students are sick. They are handing in exams and papers and you just want to run them through an autoclave. Throw on top of that all kinds of other work. This week for me has included 3 sections of gen chem exams, reading through approximately 100 abstracts for our sessions at ACS this spring, and reading through about 100 submissions for various on campus funding opportunities for a committee I am on. So, the fact that I need to get a BITeS post together is not making things easier.
Every snake sheds its skin at some point and we here at VIPEr are no different. While we are thrilled about our latest NSF grant and excited to continue to grow this community, the leadership council also recognizes that the winds of change are blowing. By the end of this grant we hope to see some changes in the composition of the leadership council that will bring in people with great new ideas. We want to get a start on that process now by inviting members of the community to become more active in the day to day maintainance of the VIPEr website.
It's that time of year when there are lots of eager young faces looking at me in my general chemistry lecture. And with those faces comes a long list of names that I have to try and attach to those faces. Of my many faults, perhaps the worst is my ability to remember names. I am very bad at it, especially when I get more than one new name at a time. An additional complication is that I only see these students on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so the long layoff really hurts.
About 1 year ago I was invited to attend an editorial board meeting for Organometallics. It was incredibly interesting to be on that side of the discussion and I got a lot out of it. For me, the most significant was the hatching of an exciting new idea about teaching--a virtual issue with a VIPEr theme. I was very excited that the editor-in-chief of the journal, Paul Chirik, was supportive of this idea and I knew that I needed to make this happen quickly.