I get bombarded with you have been cited notices
in one of my email accounts. Then I received a half
off subscription email. This is so common these
days, so I checked into it and share…
Is Academia Edu legit?
As mentioned in the last post, something that may be of interest
is for us chemists to learn about our heritage, our familial
My Academic Genealogy follows the academic paths of my
senior thesis adviser, Bob Alendoerfer, from SUNY Buffalo, and
Ernest Grunwald, doctoral thesis adviser 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, Tom Whitney, Augie Venero
Lithium Ion Batteries
co-workers: B. M. L. Rao, M. Stan Whittingham, Bob Hamlen,
Joe Shropshire, Bob Thomas, Al Groman
-Solar Photovoltaic Project: Polycrystalline Silicon - Solar
co-workers: Jim Amick, Paul Maruska, Tom Feng, Amal Ghosh
-Shear Thickening Fluid Technology for Oilfield Problems
co-workers: Don Siano, Evelyn Drake
Negative Manufacturing: Silver Halide Emulsion Production
co-workers: Ed Brandenburg, Bob Woeller, Mike Riebe,
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,
Sean Riley, John LeFevbre, Dick
University of Connecticut
Department of Chemistry
Colleagues. collaborators: Amy Howell, Steve Suib, Patrick
Gordon, Doug Adamson, Marisha Godek,
Chris Eustace, Brenda Eustace, Lisa Balbes
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Many times authors write about and speak about habits that
will help you be successful. As we come to appreciate,
winning and “success” are fleeting until the next event in a
I enjoy much of what David Brooks
writes in his NYT
editorials. One of the latest is about 2 mountains we face
in our lives–
“If the first mountain is about building up the ego and
defining the self, the second is about shedding the ego and
dissolving the self. If the first mountain is about acquisition,
the second mountain is about contribution.
On the first mountain, personal freedom is celebrated
keeping your options open, absence of restraint. But the
perfectly free life is the unattached and unremembered life.
Freedom is not an ocean you want to swim in; it it a river
you want to cross so that you can
plant yourself on the other
So the person on the second mountain is making
commitments. People who have made a commitment to a
town, a person, an institution or a cause have cast their lot
and burned the bridges behind them. They have made a
promise without expecting
a return. They are all in.
I can now usually recognize first and second mountain people.
The former have an
ultimate allegiance to self; the latter have
an ultimate allegiance to some
Supporting this are habits that build self-confidence and
lead to commitment. [taken from ]
1. delay celebration and develop a ‘reserve capacity’ to persist
2. make choices and have the mental agility to have a back-up
if first choice does not work
3. organize details, set priorities and understand root causes
4. be kind even in the face of rudeness, bitterness and
Fidelity Investments highlighted a Kiplinger article suggesting how long to keep hard-copy and/or virtual files of financial records.
Surprises include: Keep for 3 years records of spending using withdrawals from health spending and 529 accounts.
Keep for 6 years records of self-employed business income and expenses.
records of final tax returns
. (I guess this is where it might be handy to have something like Fidelity Investments, FIDSAFE
Keep Home purchase and home improvement documents, taxable account investment documents
Are you planning international travel in the future?
I know when I was in grad school, the situation came
up that had me travel to several European countries.
Emergencies happened and we had to cut it short.
An article, Think you only need a passport?
WSJ 3-27-2019 by Scott McCartney
should be read, as it includes great trips:
- make sure your passport is valid for at least another
6 months from the end of your travel
- carry extra passport photos with white background.
[remember AAA offers photos– free for some members]
- carry at least $50 cash for on-the-spot visa fees
- register with the state department’s Smart Traveler
Enrollment Program STEP for contact with updates
- carry a copy of passports, itinerary, birth certificates,
medical prescriptions, credit cards in case of loss.
- plan a contact near home who knows where you are
and can help in an emergency
Another area of interest to readers might be journal articles,
where to publish and availability of publications.
I searched the ACS evolving policy and viewed the page
This is an area we should all take note of in consideration
with what is occurring with the rest of the global scientific
community aiming for Open Access by 2020. See details
I was tuned into this by an editorial in Interface by Jannuzzi
who linked to Richard Kiley at University College London
who wrote about the aim of “Plan S” to ensure research that
is publicly funded to be openly available. As a species we
face climate change, epidemic preparedness, major disasters.
He wrote of the Liberian government not being aware of
research of the potential impact of an Ebola outbreak.
If research was openly available and acted upon, some of
the thousands of death could have delayed to their normal
There is a sizable cost for ACS members
to participate in
OA open access. We can influence this by voicing what is
being done in proactive societies giving its members a
Clint Watts, former FBI agent, wrote a recent book “Messing with
the Enemy” and offers some helpful suggestions.
For your work on Platforms:
1. Ask whether the benefits outweigh the costs. Try to
minimize social media.
APP: Use Moment to monitor your time commitment.
2. Pop or drop our preference bubbles.
Know why we ‘like,’ tweet & share items
3. Listen or read those who oppose our preferences.
They provide the needed
reconnaissance for opposites.
4. Pick experts who are good critical thinkers. EOA
A. they have experience in their field and in the topics they
B. they have many observations in their field
C. they go through a deliberative process (analysis)
to arrive at conclusions. Structured evaluation, ask questions.
About where you seek and obtain your news, consider the abbreviation CMPP
Competency- source capable of knowing, gathering, and understanding
the information they provide
Motivation- why is the source providing the information
Product- type of information- audio, print, online, video, social. .
Each type conveys different meaning and
impressions of reality.
Process of collection- were sources primary or secondary.
Was the data selected to favor a position?
Is contrary data considered and tested?
As a twist on topics the blog shares, I wish to bring up
an intriguing book that I recommend you read– ’Zucked-
Waking up to the Facebook Catastrophe’ by Roger MaNamee,
Penguin NY 2018.
Unwittingly, many of us may be the fodder of metadata for
high tech internet operating organizations and platforms.
Then, we further participate and are entranced to follow
what the AI directed algorithms prescribe.
McNamee writes that the internet technology world follows
predictable patterns. He points out technology has two rules
of thumb– Moore’s law about integrated circuit packing
density and Metcalfe’s rule about the increasing value of
any network being proportional to the square of the number
of nodes (or members).
These result in a philosophy:
-make things appear to be free, effort-less and friction-less
to make networks and connections engage more often and
build on habits that evolve into addictions
-promote a libertarian philosophy that prioritizes individuality
over the common good. Individuals feel good about ambition
and greed. Disruption, being first and winning becomes an
The author highlights the role of the vision, value system
and connections a group of leaders, he calls the “Paypal
Mafia” have succcessfully promoted. [Named are P. Thiel,
E. Musk, R. Hoffman, M. Levchin and J. Stoppleman]
McNamee shared the finding that MoveOn.org president
described where FB and Google feeds no longer are subject
neutral but are biased to deliver likeable content and headlines
to engage emotions. [Ed Pariser]
A real stand out the book offers is a segment on B J.. Fogg
and Persuasion Technology that Silicon Valley firms employ
to compete, grow and prosper. the result is that the software
designer creates the illusion of user (you and I) control, when
it is the system (and AI) that guides every action. FB and Google
now include behavioral prediction engines that anticipate our
thoughts and emotions and offer high quality targeting for advertisers.
This blog entry is aimed at exposing introspection. Asking what
are each of us are thinking and feeling. I asked several individuals
if they would be willing to respond to a series of questions.
I read an article about goal setting
for different personality types
recently and wish to offer an alternative vein of thought. It starts
with WE CANNOT PREDICT THE FUTURE. But we can learn
1. Describe your title and most enjoyable responsibilities and
2. How did you land your current position?
3. What do you believe aided you in enhancing your candidacy?
4. What opportunities and challenges do you see to provide
growth for you?
5. What is your experience for the length of time for positions
before you see people moving on to another professional positions?
7. What are special ways in which you expand you network?
8. What comments do you wish to make for people who are
graduating or planning on moving on in the next year?
Starting with the first profile–
Positions: Applied Researcher, Rechargeable Batteries,
Solar Energy, Complex Fluids for technical applications
. Photographic Chemistry Process
Chemist, Process Safety, Scale-Up, Process Analysis
. University Adjunct and
Professional Behaviors, Workshop & Seminar Presenter
Personal Style and Responsibilities
My chemistry career span started out with JFK’s “Let’s go to the
moon” message and it was encouraged by summer laboratory research
jobs and honors research projects before grad school. Grad school
occurred during the Vietnam War escalation and Arab Oil Embargo gas
lines. My early career style revolved around ‘working harder than
expected,’ experiencing many different things, and being observant for
surprises and opportunities.
I took in that I had to aim very high and learn from rejection. Rejection
is not permanent. That “No:” can often mean ‘not now.’
In addition, I need to learn something more or do something special.
So, to an observer I was an assertive, analytical go-getter who worked
through all four undergraduate years on a straight and narrow path with
purposeful objectives that evolved over my career with changing
circumstances: family, economy, business prospects, health and longevity.
That personal strategy operated in a time when fellowships
and research was well supported. Economic cycles, competition from
emerging technologies and war time priorities change hiring and support.
Being ‘dropped’ by one firm opened my eyes to keeping options available
via professional society participation and developing other income streams
for unexpected events.
ADAPT IN MID CAREER
In my first 10 years I was an individual contributor. I soon learned that
I needed to develop leadership,
communication, and technical breadth for
problem solving skills that employers ‘hand select’ individuals for training.
societies and networking offered one alternate way of gaining skills.
[Began initiatives for the company related to manufacturing efficiency
at university collaborative. Developed and completed Six Sigma projects
as a black belt master.]
ASK FOR HELP AND HELP OTHERS
Many times companies do not reward employees for
professional and technical societies. Oh, they don’t [surprised?]?
It was interesting that by volunteering to
support as a member-volunteer,
I learned many insider skills, met hundreds of
informative and distinguished
professionals and grew as a professional
scientist. The more I gave, much
did I receive in benefits and experience.
The mid-career span was quite stressful with long, variable
unexpected problems with complex causes, business challenges—take-overs,
mergers, change of managers and business objectives, and bankruptcies.
[Be thankful, express appreciation and optimism.]
I started interviewing for ‘other positions’ about five years
school. Learned thant not having the experience
and training for managing
and leadership slotted me for only entry level roles. I perhaps stayed too long
for career advancement purposes at my applied research positions. That
my background and I did not ask for specific opportunities (Maybe I should
have.). Staying longer in organizations does provide pensions at the end of
my life span (not a lot, but of some value. Bankrupt company yield PPGC
insured retirement. Otherwise, I made some poor investment decisions and
some productive ones.).
Rather than exploring permanent positions, which many of my
contemporaries chose and were successful choosing, I pursued professional
society support, participation and leadership roles in mid-career. In one
situation, I wished to attend a conference 50 miles away
and was unable to
obtain management approval.
I volunteered to assist workshop AV and
projection in exchange for
registration. Soon I was offering
and offered registration, room and board compensation at meetings
the country, as long as I could get time off from work.
Another experience involved a dinner with department faculty where
explored offering a graduate level course.
This led to a decade of productive
activities near the end of my career. Dozens of former attendees, students
consultees have reached out for various support roles to advance their
There are few things in a technical career better than
achieving your goals. One of them is
having your goal helping others
maximize their skills. Another is realizing we are one of a small
of people with a common thread
holding us together. We do not know
what is in store for the future. We can
project and guess. There are
who have freely given of themselves to me that have
made all the difference. I want to do the same for those who follow
Second-guessing choices: No. I put 110% effort into each of my
commitments and try not to have regrets. I have a habit of creating
back-up plans in case we need to go in a different direction.
Suggestions: Volunteer for different roles and responsibilities,
especially in professional societies.
Study successful people and learn their habits. Read biographies.
Learn and adopt worthwhile habits. Continue to develop communication
skills. in various media.