While we do not wish this on anyone, being hacked by cyber-
thiefs and criminals can happen to you.
enterprise security. This may be a strategic effort for big and
small organizations in government, industry, academic
Test your backups. Have a written out plan on how to deal
with contingencies and update it periodically.
In the current and future world of communication, scientific
publication and pre-publication, grants and application, we
must be cautious of hacking and security. A readable publication
worth while sharing is Hacking and Data Privacy .
On my reporting on the topic of the chemical enterprise this
year where we have covered surveillance
topics, this book
is brought to your attention. Leading take-aways include
1. Nicole Perlroth on Cyber security
Spies and cyber criminals may be able to digitally access
any information they want.
a. Online, use 2-factor authentication
Use GMail and Chrome web browser, as most secure
email and web platform
Use encryption apps for sensitive online
communication [Signal, Telegram, etc]
Never allow access to personal information [location]
good password hygiene [phrases I can recall]
[carefully watch what is written online
cover computer camera when not in use]
- Update your software
- Read Privacy policies for understanding
- Delete unnecessary Aps
- Use VPN
- Protect your hardware with cases
3. Windows world
- Use Anti-virus software, update regularly, scan
regularly and when suspicious
of an encounter
- Be wary of suspicious emails, pup ups
- Have backups and a back up plan
- Have a plan if you are infected
[know what to do immediately, plan to have
desktop, document so you can recover]
During the pandemic it was timely to read Walter Isaacson’s
“The Codebreaker” as it brought to life the transnational process
of understanding viral RNA infections leading to mRNA vaccines.
The book, while 700 pages, was so good I needed to gift it to our
daughter who was part of CRISPR projects. Then our daughter-
in-law, a biologist, asked to get it too. [I might just gift her a copy.]
Isaacson weaves a compelling story of how curiosity driven research
has led to actual treatments for congenital diseases. It is often
related to Vannevar Bush’s report that offered
“basic curiosity driven research and science is the seed corn
that eventually leads to new technologies and innovations. Harry
Truman launched NSF based on this report.”
Codebreaker also breaks into a timely description of patents
in this realm:
“Ever since the republic of Venice in 1474 passed a
statute giving the inventors of any new and ingenious
device the exclusive right to profit from it for 10 years
…Biological patents have a long history. In 1873 the
French biologist Louis Pasteur was awarded the first
known patent for a microorganism: a method for making
yeast free from organic germs of disease. Thus, wee have
pasteurized milk, juice, and wine.”
“The modern biotechnology industry was born a century
later when a Stanford attorney approached Stanley Cohen
and Herbert Boyer and convinced them to file for a patent
on the method they had devised for the manufacturing of
new genes using recombinant DNA…”
Stories of the people involved in this incredible science
epic should be worth the time for scientists to peruse. He
tells of competition leading to cooperation, mentoring and
Thoughtful reading in a time of uncertainty is Adam Grant’s
It comes to mind in relation to a previous post on Multi Career
Every time we discover new information, we can
1. attach our opinions to our identities (adjust)
2. stand our ground in stubbornness of preaching and prosecuting
3. treat it like a scientific issue and evaluate with all the tools of
data collection, hypothesis testing, statistical inference and trial
Some of my take-aways from the book include:
- Define our values, not our opinions
chief among them– curiosity, continuous learning, mental
flexibility, new skills, interests, hobbies and habits
- When doubtful, reframe as a situation for growth
+learn something you do not know as a step for new
+find a way to emerge discovering something new
- Have each person you meet, teach you something
+accept conflict, reframe as debate, rather than disagreement.
Written to teach us something.
It is the middle of the ACS meeting.
I have attended more than a dozen Zoom presentations. Yet I need to
J. T. O’Connell, “Never do these two things after getting a low ball offer”
1. “Don’t take a low ball offer personally.”
2. Avoid “Reacting with AFD [anger, frustration, disappointment]
Instead, gather your thoughts, prepare a solid response and show your
mature approach and thinking.
Despite the lower offer, ask for two or three days to think it over.
In person or over zoom or phone, respectfully thank the offerer for the
J. T. wrote:
- honored that you chose me, admire what company aspires, agree
you area good fit
- this call is hard to make, offer features do not make your
- do not wish to waste time, trust if you are willing to work with me
to continue the conversation
She outlines three outcomes, yes, no and ‘approaching yes.’
If the firm adjusts its offer, they want your value. Come to an
agreement, that both sides can be happy with.
Of course, ask for things in writing. If there are legal restraints,
seek appropriate advice to protect yourself and word it precisely.
An email reached me about changing career paths
[from Zackary Crockett].
I will try to find a viable link
This can happen to many of us who are trained as
a scientist where technology takes a
hockey-stick-like shift in what methods and areas
of expertise are favored and successful.
Your mindset is your key to success, I can attest.
After grad school, I desired to apply myself to an
area where “the rubber meets the road”, practical
areas– To work in industry
After doing this for several decades, in electrochemistry,
applied solid state and polymer chemistry, photography,
statistics, I learned from a national lab researcher that
later in his career he sought areas where he noticed “gaps”
where he could bring knowledge and experience to bear.
It was a deciding moment. My targets changed.
One area that is not mentioned in the Crockett story is
changes in your health and outlook, as our careers
extend and our “perceived expertise” and creativity
might not fit our roles. Nonetheless, I recommend the
article for it may help you.
Following is a summary of this year’s entries with links.
You can find 2019 Career management HERE
USA Jobs.gov Suggestion
Chris Krebs has gotten appropriate notoriety for being fired recently.
The notoriety is for standing up to bombastic misbehavior and
practicing strong professional leadership in the cyber command.
Website publishers who sign up with PushWelcome are asked
to include a small script on their page which prompts visitors
to approve notifications. In many cases, the notification approval
requests themselves are deceptive — disguised as prompts to click
“OK” to view video material, or as “CAPTCHA” requests designed
to distinguish automated bot traffic from real visitors.
But many users may not fully grasp what they are consenting
to when they approve notifications, or how to tell the difference
between a notification sent by a website and one made to
appear like an alert from the operating system or another
program that’s already installed on the device.
This is evident by the apparent scale of the infrastructure
behind a relatively new company based in Montenegro called
PushWelcome, which advertises the ability for site owners to
monetize traffic from their visitors. The company’s site currently
is ranked by Alexa.com as among the top 2,000 sites in terms of
Internet traffic globally.
Fidelity Investment provided an appropriate list of
personal documents and card that one should not carry
around on your person. Losing them can be more than
uncomfortable. And, we know how anxious we feel when
we forget or lose our wallet or purse…
Included items on the top of my list are:
password cheat sheet
Some of these are not easy to replace. One strong recommendation
is to scan front and back of all items in your wallet or purse and store
pertinent items in a secure location where you can gain easy access
(including what to do if lost numbers and addresses).
We were at the last checking book for our credit union
account. On the top of the book is a reminder sheet to
order the next checks at an email address. So I went
through the filling the form exercise and it would charge
me more than $30 for plain checks.
That seemed much to high. So I phoned the credit union
Sandy, the representative , asked for our ages and determined
that seniors do not have to pay for new checks when ordered
through them. I googled senior checking accounts and
determined that this is a common practice.
As you approach your senior years and your parents do,
contact your credit union and ask for senior checking account
Have you heard of that book?
No, well, I am here to tell you you are missing out on a real ice-breaker
of a nonfiction written by Tom Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum.
For decades there has been a struggle between the American economy’s
desire to constantly increase productivity and the desire to maintain
blue-collar jobs. We watched
- as more machines and cheaper workers replaced
American manual laborers
- as loss of blue-collared jobs were
compensated for by creating white collar jobs
- as we see the hyper connected world
threaten white collar jobs
We do it by inventing new white collar jobs, which requires
more start-ups and better education.
Workers who can think critically, who can tackle nonroutine complex
tasks, and who can work collaboratively with teams located locally and
Critical thinking has become the basic price of admission. Look for
proven ability to innovate.
Innovation is more than conceptual thinking. It comes our of working
with the problem. Working with the materials, on the line, seeing a
problem and devising a solution. Every employee is part of the
process of continuous innovation.
EDUCATIONAL TRANSFORMATION REQUIRES WHOLE
Graduation from high school is not enough.
Six improvements are proposed:
1. better teachers and better principals
the quality of an educational system can not exceed the
quality of the teachers. A principal recruits and retains great teachers.
WE NEED A NEW EDUCATIONAL ACADEMY MODELED
AFTER MILITARY ACADEMIES.
Great teachers make the difference. Colorado can be a model
for educational improvement
Education needs its “Tuskegee Moment”- prove that children can
compete with the world’s best.
2. more involved parents that demand more in children’s education.
3. politicians who push to raise standards
4. neighbors who invest in schools even if their children are not there.
5. business leaders committed to raising educational standards
FRIEDMAN AND MANDELBAUM URGE
As globalization and IT merge, expand and advance, old
categories of developed and underdeveloped will disappear.
The world will be divided between high-imagination-enabling
countries that encourage and enable imagingation and
those countries that simply fail to develop people’s
creative capacities and abilities to spark new ideas and
nurture their extra special features.
Add to the three R’s of education– reading, writing and arithmatic
with the three C’s– critical thinking, effective oral and written
communication, and collaboration.
Several sites recommend looking in to your passport expiration
date. If less than a year, now it may be a good time for there are
concerns that delays may be in store.
One of us was close to that timing and googled passport renewal.
She went to the site and printed the form with her data. At the
bottom of the page was a form to pay a fee. ALERT. There is NO
fee for the passport renewal form DS-82! She paid it and learned
that it was a scam.
Our immediate action was to contest the credit card charge (which also
had a foreign transaction fee included. This is a further sign that it is
a bogus charge.). Please be alert and not deceived by this.
There is a fee for a new US passport and renewal. [$110′ It is
sent to the passport renewal address.
It is not enough to do good research on topics of interest and
importance. You need to formulate a strategy to present your
work so that it is read by a wider audience and referenced
as a meaningful contribution.
- attractive title”\
- storytelling introduction providing implications
- broad access (I am a supporter of open-access. Also, provide
independent links in your online presence sites to google docs,
- outreach (this is not often promoted in science communities.)
The author wrote:
“…seek out readers. …Reach out to potential audiences…
It is important to take the time to help a general audience
understand the bigger picture of whatever you do …social media,
local media, professional media.”
Broad outreach can yield interviews and support future attempts
to scientific collaboration and application.
We are into the 6th month of the Pandemic that affects
all industries and the chemical enterprise, including
universities and funded research. While I could list several
things to do,
The ACS does a creditable job in the following link.
Please consider three related things regardless of what stage
your career is in?
1. Be prepared for a job loss or unexpected job change.
Regularly line up your public relations documents and digital
2. Continue to learn new skills and expand your abilities
new and emerging areas, in-demand strength areas and areas
where you know or have been advised you need improvement.
3. Extend a helping hand to others. Let them know you are
there for them. Work hard at it, as it is amazing how much this
will mean no matter where you are in your career growth path.
[mentor others, offer strong recommendations, promote people
for honors, awards and honorary designations, if you are authoring
a technical journal article consider mentioning recognition of
a teacher or mentor]
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, Tony Pisano, 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
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
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.
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