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  • Analytical Chemistry

    More on Crystal Formation (This Time With Proteins)

    I realize that I was just talking about crystal formation here the other day, but there’s yet more news in the area, and it comes in the fiendishly difficult area of protein crystallography. All you have to do to appreciate the horrors of this field is to step into a lab that does it for… Read More
  • Blog Housekeeping


    Traveling, so no chance to do a decent post today. But that gives me a chance to ask a question that I bring up once in a while: are there topics, recent papers, news, that haven’t come up here (or not recently) that deserve some attention? I’d welcome suggestions (as always), with the proviso that… Read More
  • Chemical Biology

    New Chemistry, And Its Limits

    Here’s an article in Nature Chemistry on organic synthesis and drug discovery, from a distinguished group of drug-industry chemists. The authors are going over a number of areas where medicinal chemistry could make use of more advanced synthetic techniques, and they’re good ones. For example, “From an industry perspective, the mos… Read More
  • The Scientific Literature


    “Beall’s List”, as a way to keep track of predatory publishers, has been officially offline for some time now. Jeffrey Beall himself has said that it was taken down under “intense pressure” from his employer (the University of Colorado at Denver), although his employer says no, not at all, this was his personal decisio… Read More
  • The Scientific Literature

    Which Will Sprout and Which Will Bear Fruit?

    Back in 2013, I mentioned the “JACS Challenge”, an interesting attempt to see if papers that eventually got cited a lot were obvious prima facie. Given a selection of older papers from the journal that readers were unfamiliar with, could they pick out the ones that ended up getting cited more? Now this work, revised… Read More
  • Chemical News

    The Rise of the Rise of the Machines

    There’s yet another paper on computer-devised retrosynthesis out today – it and the previous one make an interesting pair. I have a Nature “New and Views” comment on this one (free access link) for a broader audience, but I’ll expand on my thoughts here. (Update: I’m also going on about this on a Nature podcast… Read More
  • Chemical News

    Down At the Crystal Surface

    If you’re at all involved in producing solid forms of compounds, you’re familiar with the concept of a polymorph. That, put simply, is a different crystalline form, and any given substance can have several. Or a lot more than several. I don’t know what the record is for any single compound, but it’s way up… Read More
  • Analytical Chemistry

    AFM Marches On

    We must be getting close to the future that people have been foreseeing, because here’s a whole review on the topic of using atomic force microscopy to elucidate structures. It’s from the IBM Zürich group that has pioneered so much work in this area. Over just the time I’ve been writing this blog, that idea… Read More
  • Graduate School

    Depression and Anxiety in Graduate School

    According to this new survey, depression and anxiety are far more common among graduate students than in the general population. This should surprise no one at all, but it’s good to have some quantitative data on the problem. There are limitations to the study – for one thing, it’s quite possible that (self-selected) respondents w… Read More
  • Chemical News

    Single Atoms, On Demand

    We chemists spend a lot of time doing things in the solution phase. It makes sense – if you want things to react, getting all the partners dissolved in some medium where they can roam around and contact each other is surely the way to go, most of the time. But it’s also true that… Read More