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This Week on GlobCasino: #chemnobel, cellulosic biofuels, and more

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To the roundup:

Cleantech Chemistry: Khosla, KiOR Double Down in Mississippi

Grand CENtral: Join “Countdown to the Chemistry Nobel!” Google Hangout #chemnobel – UPDATED

Newscripts: Amusing News Aliquots and In Print: Nature’s Call, Nature’s Mimic

The Chemical Notebook: Breaking Bad: A Clueless Review

The Safety Zone: Friday chemical safety round up

The Watch Glass: Nobel prize montage and Designer Magnets and Progress Under Superfund Criticized, Defended and The Technology Behind Nuclear Proliferation and Auto Tire Marketing Practices


Celebrating 90 Years of Chemistry News Coverage

With this week’s issue, C&EN celebrates its 90th anniversary. Even if I do say so myself, we’ve put out a pretty terrific edition. The bulk of our coverage this week is stories on nine major ways chemistry has had a profound effect on our world over the previous nine decades. (Thanks to Ash over at The Curious Wavefunction for his thoughts on the chemical bond and chemistry as the GlobCasino in response to this editorial package.)

Yummy celebratory cupcake

Happy anniversary, C&EN!

But we’ve put together a lot more than the main stories to celebrate this milestone. There’s a supplemental timeline for starters. We’ve also compiled a list of readers’ favorite articles and devoted a whole page to an inebriating Newscripts. Here on the network, Beth Halford will be celebrating Newscripts’ 70th anniversary throughout the week with batches of Department of Obscure Information gems. We even have a crossword puzzle (I know this thrills some of you immensely)!

And if you hadn’t noticed the entries in the weekly roundups, let me draw your attention now to The Watch Glass tumblr, where former C&EN intern Deirdre Lockwood has been taking us on a random and fascinating walk through C&EN’s archives.

Obviously, not only has the science changed over the past nine decades, but how we share the news with you has as well. This anniversary issue is the first one in which online components were part of the planning process from the very beginning. I feel fortunate to be part of a publication eager to explore the opportunities digital platforms–blogs, social media, videos, interactive graphics, you name it–are creating for communicating news of the chemical world.

I leave you not with a (real) cupcake or a toast, but with a charming anecdote Sarah Everts uncovered while working on her piece about the history of structural biology:

Alpbach View. Not a bad conference venue, eh? Credit: Wikimedia commons.

Alpbach View. Not a bad conference venue, eh? Credit: Wikimedia commons.

Talk to any old-school structural biologist–I mean the folks who solved protein structures in the 50s, 60s and 70s when uncovering the 3D topology of a small enzyme might take years or decades–and they’ll wax nostalgically about the Alps.

As I was working on this week’s article about the history of structural biology, nearly everyone I interviewed mentioned a series of conferences that took place in the Austrian Alps, first in Hirschegg and then Alpbach.

Max Perutz, who solved the structure of hemoglobin after a 22-year effort, and his fellow Austrian crystallographer in Munich named Walter Hoppe began organizing these Alpen conferences in the late 60s. The first one was “a turning point in the history of the field,” says Michael Rossmann, now at Purdue who initially worked with Perutz on hemoglobin.

“Some people had thought that myoglobin and hemoglobin were just one-time splashes,” that protein crystallography wouldn’t go much further, he says. “But at the meeting you got the feeling that these two proteins were only just the beginning.”

A wooden model of hemoglobin made in 1959 by Perutz which was probably passed around at Alpbach. Credit: MRC Laboratory for Molecular Biology

A wooden model of hemoglobin made by Perutz which was probably passed around at Alpbach. Credit: Laboratory for Molecular Biology

At the time, the field was so small, that all forty participants fit into the original hut, whose dining hall and conference room where one and the same, and also connected to the kitchen, says Robert Huber of the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry, whose thesis supervisor was Hoppe.

Skiing took place in the morning—sometimes with speed competitions—while science was discussed in the afternoons and evenings. “It was such as small community, people were encouraged to bring their families,” Huber says. “Everybody knew each other and what everybody was working on,” Rossmann says.

Over the next few years, until the mid 1970s, Perutz and Hoppe hosted several other similar meetings in the Alps until the field had outgrown the mountain cabin venues. Researchers who were fortunate to attend these early meetings describe them with great nostalgia.

New structures would garner applause, Huber says, and participants spend hours passing around pints of German beer and balsa wood models of proteins.

Sometimes the crowd of scientists would don 3D glasses to squint at the stereochemical images of protein structures projected onto a screen, surely a curious sight for any hikers straggling by.

A far cry from the American Chemical Society meeting happening in Indy this week!

This Week on GlobCasino: #SheriSangji update, acetyl fentanyl, and more

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To the network:

Fine Line: European Producers See a False Start on Falsified Drugs

Newscripts: Amusing News Aliquots

Terra Sig: Acetyl Fentanyl: Dangerous, Poorly-Named Street Drug

The Safety Zone: UC expands its lab safety program and National Academy of Sciences lab safety culture committee meeting in Boston tomorrow and Judge denies three Harran defense motions

The Watch Glass: Jacobus Henricus van’t Hoff’s birthday and chemical warfare in 1980 and making the atomic era safe and Transfer RNA Structure Unraveled

This Week on GlobCasino: lab #chemsafety videos, @biochembelle guest post, and more

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To the network:

Cleantech Chemistry: Learning to Like Natural Gas

Fine Line: All Wait, No See

Grand CENtral: Guest Repost: “A Chemical Imbalance- Gender and Chemistry in Academia” by Biochem Belle

Newscripts: Amusing News Aliquots and Behind the Story: Urine Rides Wave Of Media Attention and In Print: Science Should Be Seen And Not Smelt

The Safety Zone: Lab safety videos on lab coats, eye protection, and eye washing

The Watch Glass: “On the Reading of Scientific Papers” and Antarctic ocean fertilization and R. B. Woodward and The Planets: Chemistry in Exotic Places

This Week on GlobCasino: #ChemSummer, #GoogleGlass, explosions, and more

You didn’t actually think we’d NOT jump on the Shark Week bandwagon, did you?

At least we kept it relevant.

To the network!

Artful Science: Art conservation that does more harm than good

Cleantech Chemistry: EPA’s Magic Number for Cellulosic Biofuels

Fine Line: Recent Quarter Results: U.S.

Grand CENtral: Guest Post: “Google Glass and Twitter for Chemistry Education” by Arash Soheili and The Dog Days of #ChemSummer

Newscripts: Amusing News Aliquots

The Safety Zone: Lessons learned videos: Formic acid splash and trichloroethylene spill and When is an explosion really an explosion

The Watch Glass: plastic pleasure domes and plant molecular biology and diabetes research in 1981 and the business of bubble gum and Yucca Mountain

The Dog Days of #ChemSummer

Well, I have to say that the #ChemSummer blog carnival got off to a pretty slow start, so the weekly roundups didn’t really pan out. But we did manage to pick up quite a bit of steam toward the end, so I’ve put together one massive block party of posts.

Sweet Sounds of Summer:

Labsolutely: In the Summertime – Chemistry Edition

Just Like Cooking: #ChemSummer Carnival: Single-Substance Summer Song Playlist

Summer Lab Life:

The Organic Solution: #Chemsummer Carnival – Productive summer in the lab?

Dr. Galactic & The Lab Coat Cowboy: #ChemSummer Carnival: Chemist in a hot tin lab

Fragment-Based Drug Discovery & Molecular Design: Some reflections on computer-aided drug design (after attending CADD Gordon conference)

Makin’ Waves:

The Second Criterion: Don’t blame the chlorine, folks!

Newscripts: To Pee, Or Not To Pee? That Is The #ChemSummer Question

Playing Outside:

attheinterface: Chemistry and Cricket – An All-Time XI

Chemistry Blog: #ChemSummer Carnival – Glow Sticks: How Do They Work?

Chemjobber: #Chemsummer: The color of hydrangeas

Must Love Science: #Chemsummer – Grilling with Family

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the carnival! The compilation gnomes did their best, but let us know in the comments if we missed any entries. And enjoy the rest of your #chemsummer!

This Week on GlobCasino: Pee, #NOS2013, and more

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See, See Arr Oh. It was only a matter of time…


To the network:

Cleantech Chemistry: Ineos Bio – First Cellulosic Ethanol Plant in U.S.

Grand CENtral: Behind the Story: History of the National Organic Symposium #NOS2013

Newscripts: In Print: Pitch Drop Experiment Tests Our Patience and Amusing News Aliquots and To Pee, Or Not To Pee? That Is The #ChemSummer Question and In Print: When Zombies Help Us Escape

Terra Sig: Does Ada Yonath’s Gender Really Matter?

The Haystack: Roche’s GA101 (obinutuzumab): Engineering an antibody to beat Rituxan

The Safety Zone: Behind the bench, storeroom managers and department coordinators play an important role in safety and Preliminary hearing started for #DavidSnyder in UC Davis explosives case

The Watch Glass: The Chemical Side of the Double Helix and electron stains and Drug Gives Insight into Mental Illness and Primo Levi’s 94th birthday and chemistry in the family and computer calculations of particle movements and Fused Salts Bow to Infrared

Announcing the #ChemSummer blog carnival!

First of all, a belated Happy Canada Day! And later this week, Happy Fourth of July! Oh, and Happy Bastille Day come July 14! And let’s not forget Ólavsøka (July 29). There seem to be a plethora of national days in July.

But there’s more fun to summer than fireworks-laden holidays. There are pools and cook-outs, sunscreens and bug repellants, ice cream and lemonade. And before the dog days of August hit us, let’s celebrate summer, chemistry-style. That’s right, folks. We’re hosting a #ChemSummer blog carnival.

From now until July 31, write a post about the chemistry of summer fun. Leave a link to that post in the comments here and/or post on twitter with the #ChemSummer hashtag. We’ll post link roundups at least once a week. If you’re blogless and need a vacation rental for posting, consider Grand CENtral your hostel.

Happy blogging!