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  • Academia (vs. Industry)

    Differences Between Academia and Industry, Pt. 2

    One of the main things I noticed when I joined the pharmaceutical industry (other than the way my black robe itched and the way the rooster blood stained my shoes, of course) was how quickly one moved from project to project. That’s in contrast to most chemistry grad-school experiences, where you end up on your… Read More
  • The Dark Side

    No Better Than the Rest of Them

    I noticed this post over at A Scientist’s Life on some recent instances of retracted papers and scientific fraud. Those two phenomena aren’t linked in every case, but they’re often seen in each other’s company. People do tend to think they’re a couple. The papers were from Science and Cell, two of the really top-shelf… Read More
  • Business and Markets

    Play It Again

    I’ve had some e-mail from a colleague who says that GlaxoSmithKline is running an ad somewhat similar to the one that I sketched out last week. It ends, he tells me, with the phrase “”Who pays for medicinal research? Pharmaceutical companies do.” Sounds like they’ve taken the results of that opinion survey to heart. Pe… Read More
  • Things I Won't Work With

    Thing I Won’t Work WIth (2): Nickel Carbonyl

    Synthetic organic chemists rely a lot on inorganic chemistry. We let metals do a lot of work for us, particularly when it’s time to do the real arc-welding of carbon-carbon bond formation. I have a pretty typical synthetic background, and over the years I’ve used palladium, platinum, sodium, iron, copper, rhodium, aluminum, mercury, sil… Read More
  • General Scientific News

    A Birthday Worth Noting

    No time for a real update today, but (thanks to Instapundit) I wanted to recognize Nobel winner Norman Borlaug, whose birthday is today. He should be much better known than he is, since (as the man behind the “Green Revolution”) he has beyond a doubt kept hundreds of millions of people from starving to death. Read More
  • Business and Markets

    Tasty New Recipes for the Root of All Evil

    A couple of items from the business and economic side of things: First off, Daniel Gross over at Slate’s Moneybox column has an excellent take on the stupidity of the French government’s meddling in the Aventis takeover. Novartis has been producing bid-making noises, but says that the French government has to get out of the… Read More
  • Drug Prices

    Getting the Word Out, For Once

    Here comes a fine snapshot of the shape that my industry is in with the public. The Sunday-supplement magazine Parade did a cover story last weekend on medical research, and they commissioned a survey to go along with it. Here’s the PDF of the results, obtained in a collaboration with ResearchAmerica, an academic/industrial advocacy group. Read More
  • Business and Markets

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    There’s an interesting piece over at 2 Blowhards (a culture-blog I’m going to have to permalink soon) on business versus craft. Their example is from a Los Angeles Times article on animators. Many Californians in that trade have had their jobs fall victim to new technology (and new lower-wage sources of labor.) You’ll think that… Read More
  • Who Discovers and Why

    The Root of All Results?

    Mentioning well-heeled research establishments that don’t produce results brings up an interesting question: is there a negative correlation between funding and productivity? You might think so, given the example cited in the previous post, and given the cases cited in Robert S. Root-Bernstein’s Discovering. There have been many great s… Read More
  • Academia (vs. Industry)

    Differences Between Industry and Academia, Pt. 1

    A reader’s e-mail got me thinking about this topic. It’s worth a number of posts, as you’d guess, since there are many substantial differences. Some are merely of degree (funding!), while others are of kind. But the funding makes for larger changes than you’d think, so I’ll get that one out of the way first. Read More