Tuesday, June 19, 2007


I truly think that Junior PM has been reading some sort of management for dummies book. Either that, or George W. is his hero. He has this attitude like he is some sort of executive. Yeah, three years out of grad school with no post-doc and you're ready to run a division of Pfizer. These are his most annoying phrases this month.
  1. Let's take this offline = I can't explain it to the other morons right now
  2. We can move on = I just asked a stupid question and I don't want everyone else to keep discussing that fact.
  3. It is what it is = the compound is crap, but I cannot come up with a better one
  4. The antiperiplanarity of the two aryl rings result in atrope isomers = I don't know what antiperiplanarity means
  5. We hope to obtain a synergism by changing two parts of the molecule = My 'word of the day' calendar only cost me $1.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Stinky friday

Last Friday was a big day for stink. It all started with a the smell of acrylonitrile. Napolean (because the guy talks like Napolean Dynamite) was doing a reaction in his hood with the stuff. He’s good chemist, so there wasn’t the faintest smell of the stuff in the lab. However, it was definitely in the main office. Turns out the exhaust pipe on his hood is shorter than the lip surrounding the roof. An the air intake for the office is, of course, also on that roof. When there’s no wind, the vapors go up the hood, across the roof and down the air intake into the office. Better yet, that hood is one of the few with over 150 cfm flow; so it is the designated toxic hood where the super nasty stuff is supposed to be done. Sweet.

Right about the time we figure this out, MC Hammer (because his ‘jeans’ are really denim-colored parachute pants) spills triphosgene all over himself. He’d been stinking up the lab with the stuff all day by stacking dirty glassware on his bench. He was complaining that his eyes were stinging and he didn’t feel so good. Then he spilled the reaction on his lab coat.

That might be enough to send some people home. Not him. Change the lab coat, and right back in the triphosgene scented lab. Only a couple more hours and…gurgle, gurgle, woosh. Somehow he managed to blow a Sonogashira reaction up. I have no idea how he did it, but he baptized himself in the name of palladium and copper and triethyl amine.