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@ 5:47 pm
As mentioned in the last post, something that may be of interest is
for us chemists to learn about our heritage, our familial heritage.
My Academic Genealogy follows the academic paths of my
senior thesis adviser, Bob Alendoerfer, from SUNY Buffalo and
Ernest Grunwald, from Brandeis University.
My career path information is provided in the Linkedin.com
Also, my career path found me involved in a number of
projects and departments for Esso Research/Exxon Research/
ExxonMobil and Polaroid Corporations, the University of
Connecticut Chemistry Department, and as a career
consultant/workshop presenter for American Chemical
Advanced Battery Project Zinc Bromine Flow Batteries
co-workers: Bhaskara M. L. Rao, Paul Malachesky, Richard Bellows
Lithium Ion Batteries
co-workers: B. M. L. Rao, M. Stan Whittingham, Bob Hamlen, Joe Shropshire
Solar Photovoltaic Project: Polycrystalline Silicon - Solar Power Corporation
co-workers: Jim Amick, Paul Maruska, Tom Feng, Amal Ghosh
Shear Thickening Fluid Technology for Oilfield Problems
co-workers: Don Siano, Evelyn Drake
Polaroid Negative Manufacturing: Silver Halide Emulsion Production
co-workers: Ed Brandenburg, Bob Woeller, Mike Riebe, Mary Viola
co-workers: John Cabral, Jackie Pires, Jack Horrigan, Nimi Natan,
Sandy Levine, Don Preissler
Six Sigma Projects
co-workers: Chuck Page, , Brad Pires, Barry Mahoney, Freeman Chen,
Emil Cuiczak, Mike Young, Bonnie Ferreira, Project Bridge Teachers
Health, Environmental And Safety
co-workers: Dick Chandler, Dave Morreale, Mike Walters,
John LeFevbre, Dick
Let me pose an idea for Chemists that builds on the naming of
the Periodic Table as the topic of the year a couple of years ago.
We all noticed that scientists volunteered a story about their
Throughout my career Bromine has been a common
denominator of research, manufacturing and enterprise. So I
have created a document telling its story that I have pulled
together from a number of fields with a 21st century perspective…
that entails knowing about toxicology, ozone depletion,
biochemistry, and even geology and historical uses and abuses.
I encourage others to create their own favorite element story and
I will gladly list their perspectives in this blog. [To my mind,
CEN tried to give one page, edited views that missed a valuable
opportunity to teach about advances and new notions.]
Another opportunity I wish to suggest people learning about is
their “Scientific Genealogy”. That could be not only the
university department from which each of us attended and
graduated from, but also teachers and their teachers, colleagues
and their contributions. Think about it and the value it would provide.
Thanks to the reader who alerted me to USAJobs.gov
website change. It is important to notify authors where
errors that can be corrected are located and what
should be done.
Thanks to the reader of the blog.
Let me start by wishing all readers good health and
patience in the human struggle with the coronavirus
pandemic. We wish it were not in our environment.
Now that it is we need to work together to survive
We each have struggles each day. Face them and
overcome them. We are scientists and technologists,
all. Let me tell you what I faced this morning with
my laptop, quarantined at home like many others. I
was perusing the news and mail and regularly visited
websites this morning when I noticed my lithium ion
battery was getting low state of charge signals. I had
the charger cord plugged in. What was going on?
This battery was replaced two months ago with an unused
one online, not from Dell (They only sold “refurbished”
batteries for this laptop.); it was installed guided by a
you-tube ‘how-to’ video and has been working nicely.
What to do? Go on line and see what others have
faced and done, right! Accordingly, I opened the
computer up to wipe the electrodes clean. While it
was sitting on my lap, I look down and the power cord light
was not lit. the plug had loosed from the socket and was
the root cause.
Lesson: Look for root causes of problems before you go
Electrochemistry in Space
The latest issue in “Interface
” brings us incredibly
thought-provoking articles that should move you to
take several looks.
The first uses the technology of ‘regenerative fuel cells
to explain the details of and action items included in
NASA patent of the utility patent US 7,410,714,
K. A, Burke.
[For all interested in a terrific series of technology
patenting please see
Cordeiro and colleagues show photos and descriptions
of a variety of sensor systems
Bugga and Brandon nicely review the history of
that find their way into the decades
of space programs and pointing out the need for
“beyond lithium” technologies
This is strongly recommended reading for people
interested in the science as well as future career
Trend that I noticed is not including an objective.
I prefer seeing Qualifications which aim specifically at
the job description musts and wants. The article suggests
David Brooks, The Second Mountain: A Quest for a Moral Life,
RandomHouse, NY 2019
Rachel Maddow, Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State
Russia, and the Richest Destructive Industry on Earth, Crown, NY, 2019
David E. McCaw, Truth in our Times: INSIDE THE FIGHT FOR PRESS
FREEDOM IN THE AGE
OF ALTERNATIVE FACTS, All Points Books, NY
THE ROAD TO UNFREEDOM: RUSSIA, EUROPE
Tim Duggan Books, NY 2018
Preet Bharara, Doing Justice: A PROSECUTOR’S THOUGHTS ON CRIME
AND THE RULE OF LAW, Alfred Knopf NY 2019
Doris Kearns Goodwin, LEADERSHIP
IN TURBULENT TIMES, Simon &
Schuster, NY, 2018
Clint Watts, Messing with the Enemy: SURVIVING IN A SOCIAL MEDIA
HACKERS< TERRORISTS, RUSSIANS ANND FAKE NEWS,
HarperCollins, NY 2018
For access to all of 2019 entries with links to the pages please review
the following listing.
Hot Buttons. Trade secrets 9-11
Hot Buttons. Cell phone hacking 8-21
Hot Buttons. Subscription
Hot Buttons. Where do
you get reliable data,
information and conclusions 7-29
Hot Buttons. Stress
in Grad School, Post-doc, and career
Hot Buttons. Women in
Scientific Leadership Roles 7-11
Hot Buttons. Online
Hot Buttons. Motivation underpinnings, Financialization
and Laws 6-3
References following Job Interviews 9-7
Provisional and Utility patent applications
and C-I-P 7-25
Watch-Outs 110. H3+,
High Pressure Elements, Retractions 6-14
Scientific Writing Editing Review
Job Loss, Job Search and Retirement. 5-20
Tax Law Change.
Relocation and :Grosss Up”
Habits. Top Four that
enhance your self esteem 4-17
Best Jobs and Predictions 4-14
Update on Financial Record-keeping 4-12
Professional Profile 7.
4-5 Technology Specialist,
Technology Patent LLC
Professional Profile 6.
2-23 Senior Supervisor
Professional Profile 5.
2-11 Policy and Advocacy Fellow
Society for Neuroscience
Professional Profile 4.
1-21 Pharmaceutical Process
Professional Profile 3.
1-20 Field Application Scientist
Professional Profile 2.
1-19 Medical Science Liaison
Professional Profile 1.
1-15 QUESTIONS. Applied energy
research, Photographic production and process research, Adjunct
New Requirements 3-27
Plan S. OPEN ACCESS
Suggestions from Clint Watts 3-16
End of Year Career Management 2018 12-23
NYT takes up Google-Alphabet-Uber law suit against Anthony
Levandowski regarding trade secrets of files when he left in 2016.
The article reports:
The statute defines the class of proprietary property “trade secret” as
“any form and type of financial, business, scientific, technical,
economic or engineering information, including patterns, plans,
compilations, programs or codes, whether tangible or intangible, and
whether or how stored, compiled or memorialized physically,
electronically, graphically, photographically or in writing….
But for information to qualify as such its owner must take
“reasonable measures to keep such information secret and derive
independent economic value from its not being generally known.
The prosecutor must also show that transfer was done by improper
means, meaning theft, bribery, misrepresentation, breach or
inducement of a breach of duty to maintain secrecy, or espionage
through electronic or other means. The statute does not define
reverse engineering or other lawful means as such.
Toxic chemical ingredient cannot
be a trade secret (Metzger
Withheld toxicological ingredient information
medical treatment pursuit for employee exposure cases (LSU
describes in more detail than NYT some steps that the
owning company must take to protect the trade secret. In rapidly
evolving industries not all the privacy steps are taken and documented.
One of critical pieces of data you must have ready in an interview
is a list of at least three references.
Along with this, please know it is critical to have asked those
individuals whether they are available to provide good references
for you. To help them do their job, it is so critical to provide
a current CV or resume and with whom you have or will be
Recommendation references can be requested via mail and email,
and also via email in a phone call where there is an actual
conversation between an interviewer and your reference.
I have known HC for nearly ten years where we have worked on
her career path search process. Her goal from the beginning has
been to work in a government research lab or federal department
as a scientist/ chemist. After her Ph.D. she gained a post doc position
in a field related to pharmaceutical sciences. A four year R&D role
and academic positions followed. In each, she has come up to speed
quickly and made creditable contribution.
Earlier this year, I strongly recommended her for the academic
role. To prepare me for this we had a telecon to help me develop
an understanding of her motivation and qualifications. The process
followed where I wrote a supporting letter to the search committee.
Since I have not been a supervisor or co-worker, I perform as
a professional personal reference and provide a brief summary
of my background as a manager and interviewer and teaching
professional skills as a consultant and adjunct for many.
Ideal references need to provide your assets and specific examples.
So, it is important that you know he or she will be able to do
this. Rank of the individual is less significant than their ability
and experience supporting your candidacy.
If your reference is asked to conduct a phone reference
conversation, it may be a sign that your quite highly considered
for the opening and the conversation will “close the deal”. So
it was for HC, there was a strong positive reaction to the interview
process. Yet one of the other three references failed to respond.
This could be a situation where you are asked to provide three
references and where you add a fourth, just in case.
References for professional positions, you should:
- Have a list of four four professionals–name, title, affiliation,
address, phone (confirm the right one for interviewers to use), email.
(Senior level positions could require 5 to 7.)
- Obtain permission and availability to provide a good reference
- Keep your references aware of your progress.
- Send current resume, CV, cover letter and related documents to
- Thank your references, letting them know you appreciate their efforts.
- When leaving a position, thank your supervisor in that role for their
role with respect to you.
- Consider greeting references with a holiday card in a personal, more
than casual way.
- Understand providing a reference requires thought, time and know-how.
Find ways of professionally recognizing them for doing more.
Reader, whether on cell phone, laptop, tablet or
desk top, you may have a general preference, or not. Yet,
most will use your cell phones for many communication
and data managing. In fact you may even control
experiments via cell phones.
This post is not offering a recommendation for your choice.
It is aimed at alerting you to the real problem of losing
control of your identity by making public your cell phone
This is something you should carefully limit, like giving
out your id or password.
Online hackers are targeting cell phone numbers increasingly
as their use for many things increases. An article by M.
Stokes highlights a half dozen items that may signal your
cell phone number has been hacked– shorter battery life,
interrupted performance, increased data use, uninitiated
calls or texts from your phone, and mysterious pop-ups and
trapped into a cell phone hacking situation. It is worth
Do you reckon how many situations you “choose” to accept
a subscription? Your yearly membership in ACS– subscription
[how many years have you been a member?] , Marriott hotel
chain ‘elite’ member, Netflix subscription, Amazon ‘prime’,
New York Times online subscription, journal subscriptions
(both personal and institution). Business has adopted the
model that individuals do not ‘own’ things, memberships,
and even personal items. It is evolving to ‘things-as-a service.’
and others have indicated a change to the time
covered the subscription model in some detail showing
how they use AI and collect and parse your personal data for
increased sales without human interaction.
Marketing is different for ownership and subscription models.
Ownership is driven by getting you interested in one time
purchase. Whereas subscription marketing has
-streamlined purchasing, with the company knowing
everything about you
-advertised easier returns and breaking off subscription,
if satisfaction is not met
-with the aim to keep you as a subscriber, there a regular
upgrades and improvements, new content and features
-many subscription services allow you to pick specific
items for your needs and wants.
Know that the chemical enterprise is already deeply
involved in the subscription model. R&D is likely to
be headed there.
It is just as hard now, as it was in the past, to assess reports
of data. In the past, one would have to wait until there was
enough sample size using the specific question. So often
now we need to assess the bias inherent in the source.
[If data is published in peer reviewed journals by a variety
of established authors, it is likely worth using the results and
conclusions. What must be factored in is that publications support
awarding of grants and promotions. Publications represent
a time-honored path. Things can be proven wrong, but rarely
do these kinds of results find the light of day.]
Think about business news or about scientific data, hypotheses
and conclusions in “news.” So much is hampered by bias from
various sources. In science, we speak about the importance of
controls or control charts and sample size. The logic of
conclusions and validity of models also play essential roles.
There is an equivalence in the non-scientific world of looking
at ‘news cycles’ and marketing of ideas. In addition, we are
encouraged to realize the emotional content and repeat frequency
with catchy easy phrases that sway human thinking when there
is not an equally persuasive rebuttal.
There was a time when audiences believed that there was an
editor and fact checker for what is reported in media. It seems
like this is no longer the case as the money driven enterprises
seek ready-viewers and ready-readers. So common now summaries
of habits miss that dimension.
Nonetheless, polls depend on the question raised, options of
answers, the sample size and variety, timing and context.
They are of a different “reality.”
to report, consume and believe the news we pay attention to.
It is of high value to highlight journalism best practices
using the scientific method.
Realizing most scientists and engineers receive little
specific training in grad school or their careers related
to patent applications. It is instructive to see the next
in the series of contributions by
Taylor Jennings and Maria Inman.
Their summary reveals the significant content: contains a
synopsis of the discovery of Lithium - LiMPO4 materials
followed by (1) filing provisional patent applications, (2)
filing of utility patent application, and (3) filing continuation -
in - part patent applications,
The strong article clarifies differences between the two
kinds of applications and the requirements to maintain
Provisional Patent application
-claims NOT required
-will not be examined and not issued as a patent
-cannot claim domestic or foreign priority
-21 year term if nonprovisional is filed in 12 months.
(utility is a nonprovisional patent application)
The Jennings and Inman series of Interface articles is
Debilitating illness related to stress may not happen to you
for a long time. It happened to me, a Ph.D. after 3 1/2 years
of grad school with 3 hot offers a month after my defense and
a meaningful 44 year career in three major fields and an
unbelievable post career retirement.
Working out at a gym on an elliptical machine, I fainted (medical
term syncope) because blood did not get to my brain due to
blocked arteries. Ends up a cardiac cathetarization found
blockage in my main artery in the heart leading to open heart
triple bypass surgery. That was a year ago and resulted in a
major life change. Back to near normal again, thankfully.
What did I learn?
Take care of yourself. Manage your diet, weight, physical exercise,
annual physical. Even that is not enough, for I did that. There are
genetic contributions but it is occurring more and more frequently
as we live longer.
Family and friendships
make all the difference. I believe it is part of taking care of yourself
by looking after others in your
close circle. The stresses I see grad students point out
are real. It
is important to factor that element into your career path choice.
for recognizing this.]
Time management and organization. To me it seems to start with
goal setting and prioritization. Whether it is in grad school, post-
doc, or ina part time or full time career path position, figure out what
it is you wish to attain or grow or benefit from your effort.
Recognize any significant goal requires effort. The higher the goal,
can say something to others about you.
Work hard to develop strong personal relations with your adviser,
supervisor and mentors. Your success is part of what they wish for
as well. Share your goals with them and ask for advice. You will
be surprised by how you can be helped. Then when it is your turn,
pay it forward to others.
Stress is a root cause of diseases. WebMD points our eight stress
inducing medical issues:
- Heart disease. …
- Asthma. …
- Diabetes. …
- Headaches. …
- Depression and anxiety. …
- Gastrointestinal problems. …
- Alzheimer’s disease.
- Other conditions related to stress include:
- The common cold. …
- Weight gain. …
- Slower healing. …
- Sleep dysfunction. …
- Depression. …
- Ulcers and other stomach problems. …
- Back, neck and shoulder pain.
Don’t take things for granted.! Recognize subtle things
happen when you are stressed and it may not happen
In the days in mid-20th century, women were a smaller
fraction of class members in math, geology, chemistry,
and physics classes in many departments. This population
dynamic resulted in fewer women in scientific leadership
Implementation of programs to reach more representative
fraction of balance in leadership can benefit from thoughtful
attention, like Melinda Gates book
She argues that there are unseen benefits by broadening
the equality balance. While many organizations feel it is
nice to do but do not sense the “pipeline” permits more of
the perceived minority. In fact it is quite analogous to people
of non-Americans natives in emerging industries– their
different approaches and perspectives offers great benefits.
It often starts with men and men in families.
Ms. Gates writes about how Bill Gates driving his children
to school a couple of days a week moved other families
to share the transportation task in their families as well.
You are in a faster evolving situation, Readers, than even a
decade ago. Besides needing to learn the latest and critical
tools, trends and factoids of chemistry, biology, physics,
geology, math, statistics and software, the digital world is
transforming at an alarming, hard to keep track of pace.
Eight critical elements for your online presence include:
- your personal information
, including purchases,
apps used, websites visited are critical to accumulators.
- delete unused apps
- review spp permissions, keep them current
What do you share and post online? Avoid exposing
photos, security settings, banking-investment-biometric
data and log-ins
- With your associations changing your social networks,
friends and contact lists will evolve. Periodically review.
- Post only about others as you would have them post
Have an action plan for infections and malware. [I
regularly purchase AV software, but also use my home
owners insurance rider for computer issues
- use multiple passwords
- check your social media privacy setting; they change and
are different on different devices
- check for https:// and tools
2. Personal websites
It is incumbent on nearly all readers to consider and continuously
update their personal website
. It is not a resume or CV and
offers things outside your professional boundary and deeper
meaning of you (In mine I list my genetic genealogy and my
professional academic genealogy.)
Whether you are a student, post-doc or employed in
industry, government or academia, the internet is the leading
element now in marketing. It is both”push and pull,”requires
that technical professionals become a student of the continuously
evolving discipline of marketing
In the digital age, it is replete with the expansion of uses. Mobile
tools are personal assistants in too many to name ways. It includes
remote control of simple and complex devices. Research tools.
Digital tools permit visualization and simulations. Computational
power incorporates statistics.
- from an early age, engage and pursue beneficial uses and solutions
to practical problems. Learn from others.
- practically bring statistics into your daily, professional and practical
existence. Others are doing it to you.
5. Networking and Communication
6. Chemical Information and Government Resources.
Too often academic institutions seek originality and avoid
resources that are publicly available. It can be a missing
link to discovering or disproving hypotheses.
- explore how Chemical Information resources can work for you.
- Federal resources and reports are available through databases and search tools
Many societies and commercial publishing firms have been the
mainstay of scientific and technical publication the 20th century.
It is steared by technical reviewers and editors.
The 21st century sees the Internet providing free, open
access publication that is overtaking slow to evolve print
organizations. Textbooks are fair game.
One issue of C&EN contained several noteworthy items.
The first of three was appropriately tri-hydrogen ion reported
The story about the incidental discovery of the spectral
profile led to identification of this ion’s significance in
interstellar chemistry. (p. 18 of issue)
in properties of elements at higher pressures. It changed
an undergraduate. You mean elements have different
reactivities at higher pressures! Wow. (p. 11 of issue)
The article on retractions caught my attention (p. 16)
since that is related to a significant topic in my
Professionalism course. We had exercises, both intentional
and unintentional, on ethics, behaviors and what to do
if you observe something. Plagiarism heads the list of
root causes of retractions and one item that the article
missed that is quite important is that there are truth telling
a cost that everyone who writes for an audience should
be aware of. Several instances I have remarked on
assignments that the work looks like a copy from
another author, would you like to put things in your own
This entry starts a new dialogue called “hot buttons.”
This first button is “Motivation”. I found it curious what
” articulated on this topic, that for:
newbies (1-2 years) - “new skills or new knowledge and self
pride in accomplishing a task”
individual contributors (3-7 yrs) - “frequent communication
with higher ups” and value in work life balance [whatever that
evolving concept means]
mid-career (8-15 yrs) - “contribute to their organization’s
overall mission, goals”
sages (>16 yrs) - being able to and in a position to ‘get
It seems that business schools have influenced “motivation” asKellogg’s School
program attests. Their program offers finding
two or three personal drivers from five — 1- accomplishing meaningful
goals, 2-being part of a collaboration, 3-gaining status, 4-directing and
controlling your activities, and 5-being part of a larger effort.
This blog recognizes these academic elements. There are
two subsurface realities in our capitalistic system that need
to be realized. Reality 1
: money-profit- and advantage
dominates the economy
of the chemical enterprise. It is a big business.
[Think of bankruptcies, mergers, patent infringements, and
societies projects a ‘larger than life’ influence on results that
happen. [Mores in societies evolves over time…think of race
and gender equity.]
Few of my mentors shared this with me early in my career.
Say, you have strong technical writing skills in English.
Say, you have time (more than 4 hours a day) and credentials
that clearly show proven skills in improving technical
Well, there is a need, that some societies promote, is available
It is an interesting avocation for some, but I am not advocating
it. As I contacted an excellent technical writer to seek her
“take” on this proposal. As an article by Joanne Chen
while many people look at on-site reviews for determining
a purchase decision, objective assessment from a trusted
colleague will do better for you.
of her noteworthy comments. The remuneration is sub-standard,
sometimes it is not equitable and not timely, the feedback on
performance can seem arbitrary, without recourse.. Other,
She wisely points out that payment in advance and individual
contracts with stated expectations can avoid many troubles.
Now looking in the rear view mirror on this, it is possible
to offer a perspective.
One of the key things is to join and participate in professional
societies. This was a strong recommendation of a former
boss at Exxon Research, Jim Amick
. Our conversations led me
to pursue roles that might provide experience in leadership and
networking. It was not broadly spoken about at my first two
positions and it was not easy to get approval to attend meetings.
Yet when my turn for facing the music of job loss came,
it was my good fortune that managers encouraged me to
attend a national ACS meeting to participate in the job clearinghouse.
That led to several interviews and offers.
Weathering the storms of corporate life is mostly being in the
right place at the right time, by good relationship and
skill building. Accepting roles that are not part of my formal
background did stretch employment longevity. But looking for
volunteer opportunities for the common good– chairing meeting
sessions, reviewing articles, volunteering as local section member
at national meetings and then learning from successes of others.
Then, help others pursue their career aspirations.
As I saw happen to even the most talented colleagues, cut backs occur.
Through no fault of their own I saw many people get “sacked” and
pick themselves up and resume their career somewhere else. My
content here is to bring up end of career observations, as are described
in Mark Miller’s article
. [LISTEN TO THE PODCAST!]
- Center for Retirement Research (BC) found 37% retire earlier
(55% fail to reach age 66 target)
- one quarter of loss of jobs due to health (UMichigan,
- Workers 55 and older: unemployment rate 2.6%, but long term
unemployment of >27 weeks, is 26.6%, [that is, if you get laid off,
recovering is less likely]
- Sporadic income is hard to manage, but expecting to reach your
retirement goals set early in life, is getting harder and harder.
Pointers from Mark Miller
1. Assess your health and employment statistics in viable fields, as
time goes on.
2. Create interim plans including health care insurance and alternate
income streams that match outflows.
3. Fees and costs of retirement accounts. Look for financial advisers
who pursue your goals [interview several and don’t just depend on