Saturday, September 4, 2010

ACS goodness

Jim will like this one.

I was at the ACS this last week, and saw a few nice typos. First off I'll admit that my boss' presentation had one in it that I apparently missed when I proofread it, but small typos in talks are hardly an issue. As long as they don't interfere with the big picture or fuck up the talk they are gone so fast that most people will never notice them. I think the only reason I noticed the one in his talk was due to my familiarity with the talk.

I'm not going to cover all of them, I don't remember them and it would be even more boring than my usual posts, but I though I might cover some fun ones.

One rather nice girl was showing a pretty good chunk of work on a poster, and I was taking my time to try to read it all. I stumbled a bit when I got to this over an arrow:

I had to think for a second as to what it was, even though I knew exactly what it was for. I asked why she had written out the structure, and she replied to remove confusion for non-synthetic chemists and undergrads. I thought that was particularly odd, since i would think that it was significantly more confusing than putting the name of the reaction or listing the ingredients. I expect she was trying to clarify the reaction more than just writing "Swern", but there is more than one way to make the reagent she had, in fact. It seems obvious to me that if you are trying to clarify it, the reagent list is the way to go.

She wasn't too pleased when I pointed out she was missing the counter ion, and was even less pleased when I pointed out that in two other places on the poster she had written "Swern" over arrows.

Only a few posters later I saw a neat reaction, with a witches brew of reagents. It caught my eye for a few reasons: I have tried things like it before with little luck, and the prior poster girl and I had a nice conversation about it and her successes. This new poster had a deprotonation alpha to an alkene with a Schlosser's base like mixture (aka superbase, LICKOR, and others, KO-t-Bu/nBuLi). The thing that caught my eye was that this particular mix had no nBuLi. When I asked her, pointedly, if the reaction went without butyllithium, and she replied "Yes! ... NO!", and looked at her poster to see what was going on.

In that case I can't really blame her, it was most likely an honest mistake, and there were definitely a lot of thing going on on her poster, so one small detail would be easily lost in the mix. The thing about this one that surprised me was that the two hour poster session was within 15 minutes of being over, and no one had noticed it and mentioned it. It seems that any decent looking girl with a poster that has any reasonable amount of work can slide by just a tad easier than a dude in the same circumstance when she's surrounded by drunk nerds.

Earlier in the week I had a conversation with a friend, this ACS meeting being his first, about how the men hung around the girls at posters like vultures. He laughed when I called it a time honored tradition, he thought I was joking.


Mike said...

I was really disappointed when no hot girls hovered around my poster in DC...or hot guys for that matter.

scientist 1 said...

It seems to be a one way street. It is convenient sometimes when you want to read a girl's poster, who is busy being mobbed, and you can read it in peace.

Jim said...

Did you ask her if it was one equivalent of Swern or two?

I thought it was funny that Bob pointed out in our on campus recruiting overview that cocktail dresses and perfume were not appropriate dress for interviews. I would imagine that depends on who is doing the interviewing.

scientist 1 said...