From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development

May 2015
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Trends in Technical Careers. THz, metamaterials, LiFi
Filed under: Recent Posts, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 11:25 am

Several years ago THz spectroscopy was brought to my attention
as an emerging field for research and application.  While it may
be years in the future when WiFi routers and cellphones use THz,
recent work points to medical imaging and security screening

Photonics reported making plasmonic filters with inkjet printers
for telecommunication signal enhancement.  A site to
learn more about THz domain is the RPI Center.

are fabricated materials not present in nature
designed to have specific properties based on their structure.
Work on these fabricated materials is interdisciplinary and
is undergoing development in correlating linear and
nonlinear properties.  Emerging devices will make use
of higher order harmonic generation.

Wireless internet hotspots are reported to be
organized with LED light fixtures that have cost and
reliability advantages over WiFi in certain environments.
Test kits are available from the Fraunhofer institute
that is creating visible light communication systems.

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Other Documents.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 1:48 pm

We led a seminar discussion that resulted from the
thoughts of Don Street about addressing the process of
reviewing our public relations documents
.  Don relates
that (1) first we must convert the “uninterested (or uninvested)
reader” to an “interested reader”.

Then we need to (2) convince that interested reader that
we have the insights, background and hard skills
to be
successful not only in the interview, but also in the position.

The seminar discussed these after reviewing “what counts”
factors and expectations for positions in different career paths. 

It is common knowledge that most corporate and government
employers use applicant tracking system software or
grade submitted applications packages.  Thus, targeted
resumes using specific key words
are important to convert
the uninterested to interested reader.  Much the same
occurs in academia using CVs and cover letter to introduce
yourself to the review committee.

Recruiters now also strategically use your Linkedin
profile to predominantly screen potential candidates, but
also interrogate an in depth profile on you.  Part of
push-pull marketing that we should perform.

We then reviewed some “other ” documents that may
enhance your candidacy, including, corporate career path,
-  linkedin profile
-  list of projects
-  accomplishment summary (research, for example)
-  field research (business development, for example)
-  synopsis of patent, copyright, review article
-  summary of industry insights

For academic career paths, “other” documents include
-   teaching philosophy
-   research proposals (preparation helped by having research
idea notebook)
-           note also Heilmeier commandments
-   start up funding and equipment list
-   course description and syllabus
-   “five slides” document (prepared for screening interviews)
-   management philosophy
-   registration in ResearchGate

Government positions “other” documents include
-   Master resume in
-   targeted resumes with keywords throgh
-   DD-214 military record
-   SF-50
look also at
where you are asked about KSAs knowledge, skills and

Transformative Planning. 2. Questions to ask
Filed under: Recent Posts, Job Offer (Situations), Mentoring, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 1:01 pm

This blog remarked about transformative planning recently.
Many of the comments to an article that reported on the
impacts of the drop in oil prices on near term hiring and
university students in petroleum engineering professions.
What do you do?

Enrollment in petroleum engineering was reported to more
than tripled
in university programs in five years.  So, this
impacts many more who have recently graduated or are in the
middle of their studies.

Many of us who started out in one career path or line of
work have have adapted our skills to emerging or evolving
areas by applying our basic knowledge to new problems, over
and over again. 

In fact, many current postings will all but certainly be
transformed by automation, robotics, lasers, nanomaterials
and life cycle analysis.  New technology or technical
solutions do not direct loss of jobs, but transition us
more to jobs that employ reorganized routines to accomplish
our goals.  James Bessen has recently written that
professionals, students and teachers need to recognize this.

So, in one case, economics of the petroleum feedstock
industry and in another “technology” seems to be changing
the face and prospects of gainful employment.

It urges us to be more prepared for disruptive forces and
ask better questions when we enter fields or interview for
positions.  As we see many of us being employed by
organizations for shorter spans and hiring practices
leading more to project based or consulting or temporary
employment,  the pointers Al Sklover raises about things
we can ask and negotiate when working as a consultant
become more meaningful.

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Powerful Account of Lithium-ion Battery Development
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 4:38 pm

Have you read or even heard about Steven LeVine’s
Powerhouse,” a recent book capturing the trade-offs,
the financial-interpersonal-international conflicts and
technical challenges that solid state scientists,
electrochemists and engineers are dueling with in
developing lithium-ion energy storage devices for the
last 40+ years.

The technical challenges of packaging a high
energy density system of combustible components
that  maintains performance under real life extreme
situations for decades are given a true-to-life story line.

It tells of what it is like to develop an unknown combination
of materials, chemistries and system trade-offs set to
immense goals where an existing technology already
exists– the gasoline combustion engine.

He reveals
1.  how non-Americans are the preferred leaders and workers
2.  how American economic values undermine longer term
development projects
3.  how new ideas, counter to existing beliefs, come from
unanticipated sources
4.  how laboratory R&D oversimplifies what actually happens
in real life.  That real life protocols are essential in the
testing phases, before large scale production.
5.  how hype and apparent quick fixes shortcircuit many
things where small incremental improvements rigorously
tested are more important.

Companies start up and fail.  They have wonderful mission
statements but shortcomings overwhelm them.
The possible involvement of government lab facilities, even
a couple of formerly competing labs, and throw in government
sequestration, help make progress.  As the book reveals, goals
are “target statements” that are not always met.  Real progress
and transformational change may happen but not as
originally focused or by whom it was expected.

Call to Action. Letters to Elected Officials
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:19 am

Thank you again for reading this blog.  It is a privilege to have
this opportunity.  I take it as a firm responsibility.

May I have your attention about the importance you and I have
in our representative republic to formally express our concerns
and ideas to our elected representatives in letters, emails
and texts.
  It is critical and not often emphasized (by our teachers,
professional society leaders and journal and magazine editors)
that we need to call on them to act, vote, propose and question
critical issues

Steve Ernst, editor of American Laboratory, deserves credit and
recognition for speaking out on anti-biotic-resistant bacteria and
the serious implications of overuse and misuse of antibiotics.

Long term use of agricultural antibiotics to increase weight gain
combined with overprescribing human patient practices are
leading to forecasts as dire as causing 10 million deaths and
cost $100 Trillion by 2050!

We need to strongly urge congressional reps to take positive
action based on scientific advice.  [Ernst offers stronger words.] 

Funding NIH Mission
America’s technical leadership
Long term support of Basic Research
Environmental ethics
Accountability and transparency about technical discussions on
     critical issue topics [who is funding “research”, how is data
     analyzed, appropriate use of statistics, etc.]

What to write about
Who to write to
What is the best medium, timeline, content

IF they do something special, send a thank you.

Trends in Technical Careers. Lasers for superresolution Microscopy, New Silicon Oxide subspeces and Special “contact lens” design
Filed under: Recent Posts, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 5:05 pm

When learning about microscopes decades ago we were taught about
the resolution limits being the diffraction limit.
Super-resolution microscopy observes a static sample multiple times
and modifies the excitation light or changes in the image based on
fluorophore photophysics.  A recent review describes improvements
that are helping researchers, clinicians and developers.

It has been a mystery about what forms when pure silicon surfaces
are oxidized.  Being able to make Si2O3 and Si2O4 may lead the way
for further developments in microelectronics.

A Wow development of inserting a telescope into a contact lens was

Arrigoni et al describe new laser technologies that are enabling
researchers and clinicians to extend the use of laser microscopes.
The technical depth of the article is clear and articulate so that
other fields will find value in the new developments.

Highlighted in CEN, the report of sub-2 oxides of silicon
synthesis and isolation in Nature Chemistry fills in gap
in the chemical knowledge of subspecies suspected to
be involved doping, protection, carrier generation and capture
layers of microelectronics layers..

Trembley and co-workers have fabricated a contact lens which
allows wearers to expand the size of perceived objects
magnifying the view.  Still in the prototype phase with
technical issues to overcome, this was in a Photonics
Spectra report of Sarina Tracy.

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Crossing International Cultural Differences.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Mentoring, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 8:25 am

Last month this blog posted International Job Applications,
indicating several differences between European and American

Recently, KH was curious about an on-site interview with an
international organization that involved 5 separate meetings
with HR and technical representatives, but no formal technical
It could be that one or more of the technical meetings would
involve going into the laboratory to demonstrate competence
and knowledge about equipment. 
It could be that the interviews aimed to explore the cultural and
personality fit into the organization.
Some work by Andy Molinsky about Cultural Dexterity might
Molinsky has researched and written about “global dexterity
as being the ability to adapt your behaviors to foreign or local
cultures without losing your personal authenticity.

Molinsky details tactics to overcome three challenges interviewees
and visitors face– authenticity, competence and resentment, by focusing
on four elements of personal style.  They are directness, enthusiasm,
self promotion and formality

A Molinsky provides a slide-share of these concepts.

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