Wednesday, September 3, 2008


I went to the ACS national meeting the week before last. It's always nice to get to go see some old friends, schmooze, and get all loaded. Sometimes you even see som new chem, although thats pretty uncommon these days. For example I saw McMillan and was really impressed until a day later I was recalling what I had seen. Then I realized that the guy has built an awesome career one a couple of iminium reactions. They are great reactions and all, but still.

I got to see Nicolaou give a retrospective as well, and it was not nearly as motion sickness inducing as I had hoped it would be. The slides for first half of the talk was taken directly from his Tetrahedron prize talk, which are horrid slides, but I'm inured to them after having seen them already. The slides for the second half were taken directly from his new book, and while pretty garish, they were really not too bad by his standards.

I haven't been to a national meeting poster session in quite a while. Typically the poster sessions are where the best stuff is, so you shouldn't miss them, but I've skipped/missed them or not gone to the national ACS in almost 10 years. This time I made extra effort to see as many of the poster sessions as I could, and saw some stuff that was new to me. Unfortunately the newness was not good newness.

The first thing I saw as not really new, but drove a point home. Most of the medicinal chemistry, which is of course is old and dead if it's being shown, was boring and looked like the kind of shit that would be looked at as a punishment project by many chemists I know. Even better or worse depending on your viewpoint was the throngs of people who were walking from one poster to the next taking pictures of them all. One aisle even had several in a row from a big pharma company that had little printed signs at the bottom that said no pictures.

I don't really know what's worse; crap chem, the desire to copy crap chem, the desire to protect crap chem, the fact that a little piece of paper is expected to protect the crap chem. Interestingly these particular posters were not manned when I was there, leaving the 8.5 x 11 sheet of protection as the last line of defense.

I think I'm going to spend a little more time investigating positions in process and academics.

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