Thursday, March 7, 2013


So this is what the 100th post looks like. I started this blog so that I could participate in the chemblog culture that flourished back in the early days. I wanted to be anonymous for a number of reasons mostly having to do with my students. Anonymity on the web is of course a delusion (or illusion) as many of the anonymous chembloggers found out. If anything, the anonymity was a paper wall kept intact by an honour system more than anything else.

I made the trek back to my alma mater today and came across my first research lab. 

It was 1982 and the departmental Synthetic Main Group research group had suffered a string of unfortunate explosions the most recent one had mangled the fingertips of the senior graduate student and they needed "a pair of hands" to continue the work. I was the undergraduate student with the highest marks in inorganic chemistry and was offered the job. They had a small lab filled with debris and my first job was to clean it out. That first day I was told to wash out a rack of dirty 1 liter flasks left by a post-doc. I remember one flask went into the sink of hot soapy water and started to hiss and I immediately ducked below the edge of the sink just before a resounding boom that brought the entire floor to the door.

It turned out I had an aptitude for the work and six years later I would have my PhD.

My PhD supervisor is in the process of shutting down. A lifetime of paper, equipment and chemicals must be processed, disposed, stored or given away. I thought I would be more nostalgic than I was even when I looked through the doorway of my old lab and saw back thirty years. I did not even take the chance to pick up a souvenir.

I guess I am in a mood to let things go. Live well.


Chemjobber said...

If this means what I think it means, thanks for some great reading.

Cheers, Chemjobber

P.S. Thanks for "Process Man" by the way; it's a personal favorite now.

Seo Nzr said...

ib chemistry IB & IGCSE Chemistry Tuition – Get high profile IB & IGCSE Chemistry Tutor in Gurgaon, Delhi, Noida, Faridabad and Gaziabad. Our tutors are experts in IB, A/AS Level, AP & SAT, and IGCSE Maths Tuition. ib math studies project

rotate web technologies said...

IbGlobalAcademy provide specialized tutors but also past papers with marks scheme, specimen papers for all subject and assistance in internal assessment, assignments & projects We have tutors for every subject of IB & IGCSE Curriculum as IB Math Hl, Ib Math Sl,Ib Math Studies Project, Math Online.

Ib Math Studies | Ib Math Studies Project

Julie said...

The thing about blogging (like the thing about anonymity) is that you never know when somebody will stumble onto your stuff and love it.
I've got a teen boy with a thing for science. Sending this to him to peruse. You never know....


Stephanie said...

I just found your blog through Chemjobber's blog. Not sure if you still look at these comments, but I just wanted to say thanks for writing it.

Janet Belcher said...

After reading this article I am very impress with this it is very helpful in SAT TEST especially in MATH section. And book is available sat prep boca raton in all formats. And very useful to pass college level tests. How we can succeed in SAT with good result.

IB TUTOR said...

IB World Academy has been helping students excel in IB Math(HL,SL,Studies tutor in Gurgaon , IB Physics(HL,SL)tutor in Gurgaon , IB Chemistry(HL,SL) tutor in Gurgaon , IB Economics(HL,SL) tutor in Gurgaon and Business Management(HL,SL) by providing the right skills for success.

About Me

My photo
For a while it was all about research and then it was all about teaching and now it's all about trying to find a balance while teaching at a small liberal arts and science university.