The NESACS Blog
From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
Categories:

Archives:
Meta:
December 2017
S M T W T F S
« Nov    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  
11/24/17
CV Content. In the Internet Age.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Mentoring, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:34 pm

Innovations in the way we present ourselves, our
research and technical work should impact how we
format and what we include in our CVs for academic
positions.

.
General guidelines for having
  - the document be in screen-readable sized font,
  - your name on each printed page with a page number, 
  - keywords that reveal that you understand that you
meet requirements (musts/wants) of the position being
filled 
  - your experience section state accomplishments led
by action verbs offering ‘
gapped-statements’ in
parallel 

construction 
and
  - sufficient information to evaluate your academic
credentials and accomplishments (your thesis and adviser,
titles of presentations, patents and articles)
.
are certain.  Just as the essential need of a signed cover
letter that cites all the documents in your package.
.
Reviewing so many documents usually means that
they are in electronic form and items should be digitally
accessible.
.
While several references suggest Purdue’s Online
Writing Lab and registration in ORCID, please
consider the Rice University listing which nicely
provides items to consider including as topics.  
In addition to those, it is now important to include
web-pages, blogs, open access articles on both technical
and topical interest, Internet commentaries, and
appropriate communication contact points (texting,
twitter, 
etc.).
.
More and more academic position applications will ask
for teaching philosophy, diversity statement, research
proposals, list of publications, patents, and presentations
 and list of references.  All of the information should be
appropriately integrated to support each other.
.
Of interest to many academic positions is seeing your
contribution and participation in “service” to department,
university and field of endeavor and presentations to 
organizations  and audiences outside of your main field.
.
Special mention should be made about CVs for outside
the US.  If you are seeking positions in Europe, you should
develop a CV in the Europass format.  (See also
1 comment
10/15/17
Digital Media. Growing Use of Internet Publishing
Filed under: Recent Posts, Public Relations docs, Recruiters, Leadership, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 3:36 pm

One of the crucial measures of developing research programs
is keeping in touch with new ideas and combinations with
new equipment and theories.  

.
Several career paths place credibility of achievement on
publications [publications in peer reviewed publications]. 
How this is measured with Internet publications is not patently 
obvious or at least consistent from one organization to another.
.
Nonetheless several sources of online publications are appearing.
ChemRN provides global access and outlet to classified topic
areas.
.
ChemRxiv is a Figshare product offers rapidly transmitted
of one-page preprints with a promise of tools to detect plagiarism.
[open API or via OAI-PMH].
.
This blog articulated that scientific publishing was going
to evolve from the commercial and professional society
journal paradigm.  It will be important that strong professional
ethics are articulated in this evolving medium
and there is
a viable enforcement mechanism for violations and dealing
with grey-area issues.

2 comments
09/06/17
Watch-Outs. 105. Useful knowledge monetary rewards
Filed under: Recent Posts, Legal matters, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:28 pm

Who can afford to purchase their own copy of their
favorite journal(s) these days?  Prices are prohibitive,
even for libraries.  So, societies and for-profit publishers
have taken advantage of electronic publishing.

.
Both non-profit and for-profit institutions generally
take advantage of a wide audience, leading authors
and mini-monopoly power.
.
Members of ACS can access 2 articles a month as
part of our membership, but there are hundreds of
journals.
We can access ~42 articles/month from ACS journals for
$500, but who can afford this without research grants?  
Then, there are so many more journals we want to read
and learn from.
.
Leading societies offer open access to their articles.
This is what I support since so much research is
government or grant supported.
.
Let’s go into another aspect of publication– ‘
rewards
for useful publications.’  Vijay Ramani discussed how 
monetary rewards are offered in China for scientific
papers based on “importance” characteristics.  He
touched on the understanding that most of us know
many articles are not considered ‘pioneering’ when
initially published.  Years and sometimes, decades later
papers can become very useful.
.
The article on ‘pay for useful publication’ misses the
real world arrangement that many companies write
into their employment contracts awarding patent
bonuses for employees… Patents are available on-line
from the patent office.
comments (0)
06/30/17
Watch-Outs. 103. Scientific Publishing, Limits of Analysis, Gas Cylinders
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, Position Searching, Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:36 am

Publication is a critical focus in the scientific world.  Societies
have publication wings.  There is a large commercial publication
business that earns nearly $20Bn/year with a third being
profits.  The Guardian published a revealing article about the
publication world which this blog has offered comments.

Previous comments have been offered on peer review,
papyrocentric 
model 
and critical thinking when reading.  
This blog is on record for supporting the idea of “open access”
and questioning the viability of “rating” journals based on
citations in the internet age [it is like mindless “likes” in
social media.].
.
Been following of Deming’s articles on Applied Statistics
for decades.  He is in the middle of an important series on 
limits of detection.  I just received a water analysis report
and have received blood and urine medical reports that refer
to one or another of these.  These articles are important and
significant for all of us.  We should know and use these terms
properly.
.
One of the types of questions I ask in some interviews 
concerns gas cylinder set-up and use.  Articles in LC/GC 
often reveal solid scientific thinking to answer questions
in this area.
.
ROBERT MAXWELL AND PROFITING ON SCIENCE
SOURCE:  S. Baranyi, The Guardian June 27, 2017 
“Is the Staggeringly profitable publishing business bad for
Science”
Although the ACS continues its efforts to 
expand its
profit center, most of the members do not realize what
is going on in the publication business.  This Guardian
article goes into details what the ACS publications 
division might be emulating.  
.
Should we not ask questions to make more science, often
paid for via taxes, available free online?
.
SCIENCE AND THE LIMITS OF DETECTION
SOURCE:  S. N. Deming, Amer. Laboratory June/July 2017
P. 41.  ”Statistics in the Laboratory:  The Limit of Detection
Deming teaches in this article L(D) the limit of detection, which
he points out is different than the smallest amount of 
analyte that can be detected or the limit of quantitation (appearing
in future articles.).
.
He points out:
- false positive risk needs to be appropriate for the application.
[drug testing example]
- in a plot of a calibration curve with a non-zero intercept, L(D)
the limit of detection is the amount of analyte that yields a
signal outside the error of the false negative.
.
These comments are often not brought out in many classes.
.
GAS CYLINDERS
SOURCE:  J. V. Hinshaw, LC/GC North America 11-2016, P. 41
Gas Cylinder Safety, Part II:  Set up and Use
What I like about Hinshaw is that he does a fishbone diagram
to assess a wide variety is issues that could come up in
working with a common analytical tool.
1 comment
04/25/17
Publication Thoughts and Questions
Filed under: Position Searching, First Year on Job, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 10:09 am

Meeting with many Ph.D. candidates who fret about
not having accomplished a series of publications in
peer reviewed journals is confounding these days.  
Why so?

.
What is the criterion for being granted a degree?
.
Can you publish just anywhere, not just in high impact
factor journals?
.
Is peer review of a journal article a justifiable measure?
.
What do we do in controversial topic areas when bias
can enter into decisions?
.
What do we do in the digital era which has replaced 
the papyrocentric model pre-1990?
.
RESEARCH AND HALF LIFE OF FACTS
Further enlightenment about the pursuit of “truth” is
that, as Uri Alon so elegantly described, research invites
us to go down a variety of ‘blind allies‘ before finding
a fruitful path.  The write up glosses over the learning
by failure and describes the “obvious” positive direction,
showing how novel and precise the idea is.
.
Samuel Arbesman looks back on the search for “truth”
and finds most being only half-correct as time moves 
forward.
.
So why is getting published in a journal so crucial?
.
I get it that graduate degrees are conferred by judging
work being of such quality meriting publication.  
Martin Paul Eve nicely describes the fuzziness of this
criterion since it could be published just anywhere after
rejections.  As we know, rejection does not mean lack
of value either. 
.
The peer review process is not exempt from bias either.
.
As we are into the third decade of the Internet era of
publication providing OA Open Access there are many
ways to both read and access articles and publish our 
work. 
.
This raises questions about what is a valid way of
demonstrating the level of expertise for a degree, even
for granting tenure and promotion. 
comments (0)
11/27/16
Trends in Technical Careers. Photonics and Silicon-Carbon Evolution
Filed under: Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 11:25 am

As we look to intersecting fields with the chemical enterprise,
photonics continues to make enormous strides.  Related
fields include optomechanics [interaction of EM radiation and
mechanical vibrations], opto-atomics [in precision time-keeping,
metrology, etc.], and polaritonics [carrier is polariton].
.

My exposure and, perhaps, many readers is with photochemistry
energy levels and quantum mechanics.  With the advent of
lasers, emitting diodes, nonstoichiometric compounds, 
nanomaterials and devices, a wider range of materials, devices,
timeframes, meta-structures and forces/particles emerges as
significant.  Photonics opens a wider range of career paths and
suggests attention to SPIE news and developments.  SPIE is
also a leader in the open-access realm of technical publications.
.
Note the digital library and upcoming conference is available.
.
So much of the origin of photonics is silicon based.  In addition,
the natural abundance and similarity of silicon to carbon
coordination bring up a question to the curious– what about 
silicon and silicon-carbon based evolution?
.
A recent Science publication highlighted in an article in
CSM points out how bacteria isolated from Iceland’s hot
springs have enzymes that efficiently form C-Si bonds. 
This brings us back to some chemistry.
comments (0)
11/20/16
Trends in Technical Careers. Omics and Panomics
Filed under: Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 5:37 pm

Genome, proteome, epigenome, metabolome,
pharmacogenome and dozens of other fields of study involve
chemistry.  They all relate informally to the characterization
of molecular entities in biological fields translating into the
structure, function and dynamics of organisms.

Wiki sketches the word suffix origin.
Omics International pulls together open access publications
and conferences aiming to taking science, engineering,
technology 
and management of biological fields and disseminate
broadly.  Panomics is a more inclusive term for interaction with
all biological functions within a cell and with other body
functions by combining data from targeted tests, global assays 
with other patient-specific information. 
.

Pharmaceutical enterprises face complex networks in understanding
and developing therapies for diseases.  More systems wide biology
based approaches
(-omics) provide one of the directions to develop
predictive and actionable models
 
So we see this in the evolution of epigenomics, lipidomics,
and lipoprotein proteomics.  Recently, interesting reports of
the human connectome project which studies how the brain is
wired and how this wiring relates to brain function by
integrating many 
diverse sources.
This -omics factoring should be looked for in reports of newly
developed approaches like CRISPR/Cas9

comments (0)
10/31/16
Kevin Kelly and The Inevitable.
Filed under: Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:45 am

One of the books that was on my desk recently was
Kevin Kelly’s, The Inevitable that talks about trends
and expectations of the world we are surrounded by
and influence our moods, behaviors and thinking.

.
I was struck by his ideas that are based on how the Internet,
algorithms, wireless-instantaneous-sharing-free-copying
and unconscious human attitudes are influencing us.
.
KK also can lead us to interesting websites to expand
things further.  Not all of it is comforting to read and 
ponder.   In a sense it is open access networking and
mayhem where the last utterance or image dominates 
in an unfiltered and non-curated way.
He calls some rules out for blog readers yet the comments
offer:
‘whatever kind of renaissance you call it, is no different.
The destiny is ultimately dictated by the dominant forces
of political economy and not by the sophistication of
technology or networks themselves.’
2 comments
10/19/16
Legal Issues. Ethical questions, Critical Reading of contracts, Reporting personal matters
Filed under: Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 8:38 am

Al Sklover offers insights that are unparalleled in the open
access world.  SEE EMPLOYMENT LAW blog link on the left.

While nearly every item I review from him could be brought
to your attention, this entry highlights three:
  -6 questions to raise on ethical dilemmas
  -mental framework for critical reading of contracts and handbooks
  -Dealing with uncertainty in personal issues 
.
SIX QUESTIONS TO ASK - ETHICAL MATTERS
Sklover ethical
While we do not wish for anyone to face such situations, it is
helpful to point out the guidance Al provides in the above.  When
you find yourself in an ethical deliberation consider six resources/
inputs:
1)  Is it legal?  private, in-house, outside association resources
2)  Is it consistent with employer’s policies?
3)  Is it consistent with employer’s values, published and unpublished?
4)  Does it advance employer’s long-term goals?
5)  Would you be comfortable with personal exposure?
6)  Does the action help your personal career?
.
CRITICAL READING - CONTRACTS
Sklover parse document
The referenced entry deals with non-comptete and non-solicit
agreements, yet it opens up the valuable process of “critical
reading” of documents which you are subject to.  It is not as
much a ‘loophole search’ and more of tactics lawyers use to deal
with other lawyers who construct broad language to cover
every conceivable instance.  Those trained in the law and who
practice “critical writing and critical reading” can be allies when
dealing with circumstances which you find yourself..
.
PERSONAL SITUATIONS - HOW AND WHEN TO TELL
Sklover Guidelines Pregnancy
              Negotiation Leverage during employment
              Negotiation Medical
In each of these situations, while it may not seem so, negotiations
to achieve win-win outcomes is all parties desired end.
For pregnancy, there is an excellent exposition of tactics when 
a woman learns her family/personal circumstances change.  
There are no hard and fast rules, but there is a process. 
.
For changes, new responsibilities and so forth, you are conferred
leverage if your boss calls you.  Sklover provides suggestions
for you to use.
.
Addiction is legally called a disability and thus covered by
statutes.  Many employers will have employee assistance programs.
It is still in your best interests to be aware of legal protections
and tactics that help create a process to move forward.
comments (0)
09/14/16
Watch-Outs. 99. Career Path overview, CEPI Epidemics, Lithium Batteries
Filed under: Position Searching, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:00 am

Preparing for some engagements I came across
several interesting items that readers might like.

There is a You-tube by Anthony Goldbloom
(<5 minutes)that assesses future trends in careers.
 Related to this is an extensive article on an
enumeration of barriers to scientific career paths
by three authors in vox.com.
.
Science and engineering fields play a out-sized role in
early identification of epidemics and investigating the 
source and developing therapies and preventatives.  A
new epidemics coalition was formed that readers should
be aware of.
.
As scientist,s every time we see reports of batteries catching
fire we ask can it happen to me.  We all use lithium batteries
in our everyday life.  K M Abraham has eloquently laid out
causes and prevention.  Read on.
.
FUTURE CAREER
SOURCES:  Anthony Goldbloom,
The jobs we lose to machines and the ones we will win
                   J. Belluz, B. Plumer, B. Resnick, 
The 7 biggest problems facing science…
Goldbloom in a TED talk reveals trends we all see around
us.  He points to a worldview that it would be fruitful to take
in overcoming robots, automation, computer-integration and
the Internet…prizing the human area of excellence which is
creativity and innovation.
.
Belluz, et al present a case that science observed from a 30,000
foot level has challenges related to 
(a) funding and funding sources and related biases
(b) developing new ideas and confirming by reproducing
(c) high integrity peer review
(d) how we interact and communicate to larger audiences
.
CEPI COALITION FOR EPIDEMIC PREPAREDNESS
INNOVATION
SOURCE:  Vaccines, The Economist, 9-3-16, p. 67,
Putting Shots in the Locker
We might be better served by open access reports in 
wiki and others (pay-walls!)
The WHO slides reveal a striking new organization for
the benefit of mankind striving for four goals
-preparedness
-response speed
-market security
-equity to all stakeholders
This is an organization that ACS members should connect
to and contribute.  It is a high value strategic organization that
is truly part of our organization’s mission statement.
.
LITHIUM BATTERIES
SOURCE:  K M Abraham,
Exploding Hoverboards 
Explained
KM does a thorough review of the fundamentals of the controlled
release of energy in battery technology and who it can be 
compromised by materials, manufacturing defects and 
operational abuses.
This is applied chemistry at its best.
comments (0)
05/11/16
Hot Topics. Free the Science, Chemistry-Economics, New Materials Methods
Filed under: Position Searching, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 10:51 am

How can you bring new ideas to an organization?  When
first mentioned, members will say–that’s crazy!  We’ve
done it before or it has been tried and look what happened….

Three possible revolutionary (and helpful) ideas are
offered here.  One has been mentioned before, free dissemination
of high quality chemical information
.  Free the science!

There is a large hew and cry about increasing employment
opportunities
for people in the chemical enterprise–
technicians, engineers, biochemists, and many sub-disciplines.
Are we asking the blind where to look and how to find trends,
opportunities, and ideas?  We should have a whole division
entitled, Chemistry and the Economy which uses Economists
tools of data analysis and superforcasting!

Can we predict the outcome of experiments?  Yes when we are
lucky… that is why we do experiments.  A group from LANL,
I heard from a member of my network, uses informatics based
adaptive design to define new materials.

DISSEMINATE KNOWLEDGE FREELY
Many are not aware but over a hundred years ago a group of
scientists
separated from the ACS and formed their own
society since their needs were not met.  At this time the
critical needs of the world are not met by large commercial
interests and privatized, high cost journals.  There is a
critical need to radically change how good information is
shared.  A model for this has been published and is being
implemented.  The incremental, “nibble at the apple” approach
that is not affordable outside large institutions should change.

NEW DIVISION:  ECONOMICS AND CHEMISTRY
Chemists are not economists.  Economists are not chemists.
Why are we asking chemists to assess the economy and
report on how the chemical enterprise evolves and what
will be viable career fields in the future.  You can not look
at the past to predict the future.  Things change fast.
We need, as a society, a new division dedicated to asking
economics questions about STEM fields.

The ACS, NESACS and other sections and divisions have
no influence over creating jobs in the private or the
public sector.  There is a crying need for the ACS to
define a new and important role, outside of the chemical
realm that asks the questions we are not able to develop
answers or even superforecasts.  Please let’s develop a
new division!

LANL INNOVATIVE DEVELOPMENT
Many have learned that hunches tested  by trial and error
have yielded new materials for practical materials.  Think
of for example lithium battery cathode material.  The
LANL group has developed a partial factorial designed
experiment approach that is quicker and more efficient.
This brings in innovations in statistical design much
needed in designing materials of the future.

1 comment
03/18/16
Trends in Technical Careers. Tips for Telecommunication, Hacking of Scientific journals, Interviewing Strategies
Filed under: Interviewing, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 2:57 pm

Since Julian Assange opened access to critical files and
espionage, it was only a matter of time when we would
see wide spread hacking of scientific literature.  While we
do not and are not condoning hacking a recent report tells of
amazing hacking of scientific journals.

We share an article which talks about tips for professional
telecommuting and virtual meeting/interviewing.  While we
have entered previously on this topic, a couple of elements
are true and new. 

Then, I looked at a nice “Acing the interview” presentation.
The speaker gave some insight that I share as preparation
for taking interviews.

HACKING SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE
SOURCE:  A. Staller, Open Access vs. illegal Access ECS

A grad student in Kazakhstan presumably released hundreds
of scientific journal articles.  While many have come out
arguing that the current model limits scientific progress in
the Internet age, this could accelerate the process of open
access.
Yet, it remains to be seen how a justifiable income stream
can come from open access models.  Perhaps the music
model on the internet may find its way into scientific
literature for the masses.

VIRTUAL TELECONFERENCES
SOURCE:  WSJ  3-18-16 “Rules of etiquette for virtual
conferences”

While it is a common trick for interviews, this article points out
it is improper etiquette to not know all the attendees/observers
in a virtual meeting.  The “who just joined beeps” are unwanted
distractions and finding a way to say you are leaving a meeting,
via announcement or texting to or having another cover announce
your imminent return. 

PREPARATION FOR INTERVIEWS
SOURCE:  I. Bloch, Ace the Interview, Strategies

She does cover the usual story telling strategies, STAR, and
background research (salaries, glassdoor, connections,
grooming, good questions, and more), what comes out of
this webinar is 
(1) in US you have to promote yourself,
(2) identify what separates yourself from other applicants,
(3) come up with three 3 strengths  and be able to insert
them at appropriate points
(4) on weaknesses, avoid identifying a core competency issue
for the positions

1 comment
12/17/15
Watch-Outs. 91. Critical thinking while reading, Energy conservation, Open Access Content
Filed under: Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 1:55 pm

Our mind travels in two directions when we read or view media.
We either reinforce our previously held beliefs or become
convinced of one side in a controversy.  An article link
suggest that this should awaken us to become critical
consumers
, always asking what is the supporting data and its
origins and can other, viable conclusions be drawn with the
personal self-assessments which draws the conclusion that
so many of these tools are out there and she bemoans any
of their benefits.

Are you amazed as I am looking around at all the solar
electric panel installations appearing on neighbors roofs and
in barren fields?  An almost forgotten approach to energy
conservation remains viable for us– conversion of
incandescent to LED lighting.

Slowly but surely, step by inching step, we are observing
ACS adopt open access journal publications.  Recently
ACS announced ACS Omega in addition to Central Science.
Cost and availability of publications are encouraging the
movement.  It is hard to understand the reluctance other
than that is the way it has always been done, especially
since more journals than not are both in print and
electronic form.
 
WE BELIEVE WHAT WE READ;  BE CRITICAL
THINKERS
SOURCES: S. Galea, Fortune 12-15-15, p. 75 “The Big
Think,” and V. Sole-Smith, RealSimple, “Getting to know
you,” 1-2016
S. Galea informs readers that reading can be confusing
when critical conclusions by different authors are
diametrically opposed.  It is the role of “leaders” he
opines to ask the hard questions, dig up the answers,
imperfect as they may be, and importantly distinguish
the motivations that may bias the conclusions. 
[Strong article about CRITICAL THINKING.]
Sole-Smith presents her study in a popular magazine
of emotional assessment tools.  It might be that her
conclusions do not ask the hard questions.  Her
preferences might be not as clearly defined in the
output.  These tools provide insight about a range of
other “types” and she may find she is a mixture.
This can offer unrealized value.

GLOBAL ENERGY– CONSERVE USING EFFICIENT
LIGHTING
SOURCE:  A. Staller, ECS Blog, “Low Hanging Fruits of
Energy
,”
While replacing fossil fuel power generation with solar
energy conversion seems attractive, it is costlier and has
unanticipated side costs that are not advertised to
consumers.  Staller points to a simpler and adaptable
approach that is proven and useful on a large scale.
Worth the quick read and implementation.
See also  #1 way to fight climate change

OPEN ACCESS THE WAVE OF THE FUTURE FOR
SCIENTIFIC PUBLICATION
SOURCE:  A. Yarnell, CEN 12-14-15, ACS publishing
ACS Omega

Beginning to be “published” in Spring, 2016, also allowing
authors the flexibility to transfer manuscript submissions
from one ACS journal to another.
It is a step in the right direction.
A balanced discussion occurs in wiki.

comments (0)
10/03/15
Watch-Outs. 88. Recharacterize Roth IRAs and Open Access Publication Alerts
Filed under: Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:11 am

It is the beginning of the 2015 Fourth Quarter and the
stock market has not been universally good this year.
Not going into any of those details, but will point you
to an article about some opportunities that certain
technical professional investors might calculate for
themselves using Turbotax of similar software.

ROTH IRA RECHARACTERIZATION CALCULATION
SOURCE:  L. Saunders, WSJ 10-3-15, “Why it’s prime
time for Roth IRA

Roth IRAs are the “gold standard” of tax sheltered
retirement plans from which withdrawals are presently
tax-free on untaxed gains and after tax contributions.
The issue is in the short term past many investments
lost value.  This article suggests Roth investors might
undo Roth conversions last year or this year and
avoid paying the taxon value that has “vanished”.
Deadline is Oct. 15.  Comments might be helpful
to peruse.

DIGITAL LIBRARY AND OPEN ACCESS
SOURCE:  ECS Open Access
                   Alternative Article Impact
Got my first email from ECS Weekly Digests from two technical
areas that I signed up for.  They inform me of recent publications
that this society reviewed and accepted.  Beyond my expectations
was outstanding other services that will allow me to communicate
better, learn new areas and deepen my understanding of the
practical outcomes of scientific investigations.
Sometimes cartoons in “digital libraries” can be outstanding
in effectively communicating results, impacts and directions.
MOORE’S LAW

BONUS:  SCIENCE OUT OF THE BOX

comments (0)
09/25/15
Trends in Technical Careers.
Filed under: Position Searching, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:10 am

Years ago, I attended a futuristic talk about the hydrogen
economy before it was “in fashion.”  This post links to
an important environmental article discussing safe handling
of hydrogen

New material science and surprising properties of
light are reported in a recent issue in the photonics
fields.

Open Science publication from the ACS comes with
Central Science.
 
SAFE HANDLING: HYDROGEN
SOURCE   L. Gallagher, American Laboratory September,
2015, P. 14, “Safe Handling of Hydrogen in the Laboratory
In addition to materials of construction, design and
specific procedures, inert gas handling facilities
are essential to purge and dilute and gas monitoring
protections and alarms must be installed and tested
regularly.  See also safe handling procedures.

Hydrogen based micro-economies will emerge just as
Tesla charging stations are proliferating.

PHOTONICS WAVES
SOURCE: Photonics Spectra, Sept. 2015
Graphene can be functionalized into a light emitter
by strategic incorporation of boron.  Nano-optics and
Spin properties of light are also highlighted in recent
issue photonics Spectra.

CENTRAL SCIENCE
SOURCES:  Interview with C. Bertozzi
                      Table of Contents
Carolyn Bertozzi is a visible leader who heads
organizations and publications and presents her
case of pursuing careers in chemistry.  Here also
is a notable effort in an open access journal.  Wish
to see more of this as it is the wave of the future
and a way that society publications can compete
with commercial publications.

comments (0)
08/15/15
Trends in Technical Careers. Wireless, Mobile economy; Pressing Needs-Ammonia; Patent system debates
Filed under: Mature professionals, Technicians, Observ. Trends, Undergraduate majors, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:28 am

We do not see it but we expect remote control and
digital data access connected through wireless devices.
This provides challenges, opportunities and a need for
perceptive awareness for each of us.

One of the journals that I receive is Interface which
contains startling in-depth technical reading for a
general technical audience.  Several top-tier articles
on energy conversion and electrochemical production
of essential feedstocks.  There are several catching
articles worth perusing, from which I highlight one
on ammonia.  It is far more than just headlining
meso-facts.

A continuing debate among scientists and engineers,
innovators and inventors is the role of patents in
progress.  While not part of most graduate and post-
graduate training and more importantly reading, a
deeper awareness of the patent realm is highlighted.

HETNETS, 5G CONNECTIVITY IN YOUR FUTURE
SOURCE:  Fortune Ad Section August, 2015, p-51-3
PCIA informed us of amazing transformations happening
in our lives as we carry and use portable remote control
and communications devices with us.  A ten-fold increase
in global “traffic” is expected in four years.and we will
all be affected.  So it is “join us or get out of the way.”
Software is replacing custom hardware in creating
HETNETS heterogeneous networks and robust remote
applications, like surgery, is being conceived.
View PCIA webpage for more.

OPEN ACCESS PUBLICATION:  AMMONIA
ELECTROCHEMICAL PROCESSES
SOURCE:  Interface Summer 2015, 53ff
J. Renner, L. Greenlee, A. Herring K. Ayers,
“Electrochemical Synthesis of Ammonia:  A Low
Temperature Approach”
Among the many things we see emerging are open
access publications of high technical merit
like
the ECS journal, Interface.  One stalwart article
in this quarter’s issue is on the “mastery of nitrogen”.
The article brings together President Millard Fillmore
state of the union address, BASF’s Bosch Haber
process and selective catalysts to point out where
chemistry can make a difference in reducing where 1%
of all energy is used and 3% of all greenhouse gases
are produced.
See, for up coming article sourced above.

PATENTS
SOURCE: The Economist 8-8-15, p. 11
Time to fix patents
After defining what patents are and are not, hearing
many sides of the controversial issues of patent
protection and legal rights might be a good place
for people not versed in this important technical
topic to read and study.
The Economist offered a slanted journalist article
to shine light on an everlasting topic.  The comments
to the article reveal a much more complicated, many
sided landscape, even including some interesting
innovations in the European patent system.
Worth reading.

comments (0)
02/13/15
New Learnings by attending a meeting outside your fields of expertise
Filed under: Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 4:37 pm

This past week I had the marvelous experience to explore,
absorb and experience new technology at an Exhibition
and Technical conference.  Let me share three findings.

BEN FRANKLIN EFFECT
A keen observer of human and natural phenomena, Franklin
is attributed with an effective form of flattery that creates
win-win outcomes.

The effect was learned at the first workshop began at 7am
and where few were in attendance.
I arrived early, greeted the speaker and offered to help in
any way she felt was valuable. 

Afterward, she said you need not attend this session and I
appreciate it.  Would you be willing to come and do a
presentation to my group?

Later in the morning I attended a presentation on getting your
work published in society journals.  The organizer responded,
you do not need to attend this session; as you were here last
meeting.
In this session, I learned a lot about how media is changing
technical publication in journals. 

Doing favors for others is a form of flattery and a way
of furthering both yours and their goals.
Source and origin is nicely described

PUBLICATION IDEAS

Editors of JBS and JALA (Biomolecular Screening and
Laboratory Automation) talked about constructing papers
that journals will accept and what authors can do after
publication. 
Before submission
1.  know the audience of the journal
2.  create good titles for your article
3.  while the scientific method is undergoing added modifications
it is good in all cases to describe the question you are trying to
answer for the general audience before you are finished with
experiments.
Authorship consideration
1.  person who did the work first
2.  no more than 2 co-firsts
3.  P.I. last
4.  corresponding authors, typically PI, but no more than 2
5.  Avoid gamesmanship [like listing famous author in paper to
get it published]
After publication
1.  in the multi-media, open access age, find ways to promote
ethically and legally
2.  use social media to share and show discussion and implications
3.  institution press releases.

EROOMS LAW
What in tarnation is that?  It is the reverse of Moore’s Law about the
increasing trend in the speed and virtual memory of computational
devices.  Francis Collins eloquently brought this in to his keynote
when describing NIH and Pharma’s dilemma of finding therapies
for human diseases.
The number of new drugs approved every 9 years has halved since
1950

comments (0)
01/04/15
Watch-Outs. 77. Critical thinking Employment, Trends in other fields, More on Open Access
Filed under: Position Searching, First Year on Job, Post-docs, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 12:50 pm

Did you observe the oxymoron headline on scientist employment
in C&EN 12-22-14, p.11 Temporary Turmoil?  It got me to
looking deeper to find out more– differences between fields,
differences between locations, where is the data and what does
it really mean…See Critical thinking questions we should
apply when reading reports.

Are you currently in a position and wonder how to move
to another position?  An interesting link is shared giving
the trend in “prized ponies,” in job market terminology,
those who are passive candidates, already working but
“shackled” into their current position.

Many scientific and engineering societies are finding
that subscription-based publication of findings and applications
are not meeting their core mission.  Open access has the
potential of distributing more evenly (without bias) and widely
advances that are the output of scientific and engineering
research.
One of the leading objections in the publication world
dominated by large societies and publishing houses is the
curious use of  “impact factor” for whole journals for
career advancement purposes.

EMPLOYMENT TRENDS
SOURCES  J. Wright, Forbes 5-28-2013
Influence of international graduates on STEM worker
shortage”  ,
and following articles
J. Weismann, Slate 7-10-14 “The stagnating job market for
young scientists“;  Simply hired trends
 Since the graphic made little sense in the above mentioned
magazine, it seemed like a good starting point to ask some
questions.  Wright indicates 40% of 25,000 PhDs are
granted to international graduates.  30% obtain positions
in the US on temporary work visas.

Some areas and fields have gained openings, Wright cites.

Weismann examines trends in separate STEM fields in
a helpful manner.  His conclusions, stated by quoting
other writers, may be debated.

ONLINE MARKETING FOR NEXT POSITION
SOURCE:  Rachel Silverman, WSJ 1-2-15, p. B1
New Year, New Job?  Read this first
The Economist, 1-3-15 p. 17
There’s an App for that
Silverman’s article hints at how companies are competing
for talented professionals.  Cost-cutting seems to be
edging out retention and engagement and, rather than
giving pay increases, bonuses are offered.  She puts forward
findings that new online services like online dating models
now exist– Poacht, Switch, Poachable are seen for
hard to fill and engineering positions.

A related piece by Lindsey Gellman “Show me your
Stuff” reveals that corporations are hiring using simulations
and assessment tools to reveal decision making ability and
temperament.

The final lines in the piece: leave three positives
with the hiring entity.

Finally striking a similar cord to what has been brought
to your attention is the breaking up of tasks into different
skill level parts and having temporary staff handle less
impactful portions and outsourcing.  The Economist
article highlights this that seems to be a continuation
of PfizerWorks.

PITCH: OPEN ACCESS
SOURCE ECS Interface Winter 2014. p. 31
Trends:  erosion of subscription revenue and subscribers
competition from commercial publishers that game
the impact factor system and impose deals to library
collections, reduced library budgets, consolidation
in the publishing industry, and increasing number of
journals.

The article hits a number of important long term
issues that our society could do better opening a
discussion.

comments (0)
07/25/14
Watch-Outs. 62. Security, Shortage of Skills/Positions, Trends in Technical Societies
Filed under: Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations), Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 6:30 pm

Over the last few years in graduate student self-assessments, one
of the leading values that they express is  for Security.  In a sense,
we can all relate to the desire for a secure future. 

Interestingly, very recently an accomplished scientist who was hired
by a drug discovery company CEO was publicly fired
(ie.  story in the WSJ) for not rapidly leading his team to develop
new profitable products
.
He had been there but 7 months
Security needs “a 21st century meaning in technical careers.”
It is the ability to look where fields and needs are moving and
proactively seek out skills preparing us to contribute and
have further development plans.

Desperation, exasperation, and despair appear in the eyes of many
STEM field graduates about what they will do for STEM JOBS.  It is
more about “minding the gap” between what is taught and practiced
in your education and training and what is needed in emerging and
growing fields. 
   Just as the great hockey player Wayne Gretzky
said ‘pay attention to where the puck is going to be, not where it
has been.‘ 

What societies do you belong to?  What local sections do you
actively participate in?  How do you decide?  What is offered and
WIIFM (what is in it for me)?  Just as the Internet has triggered
changes in marketing and sales of books, consumer items, and all manner
of knowledge sharing (MOOCS, weblogs, webinars) it is also changing
the playing field for technical societies. 

SECURITY IS THE VALUE OF APPLYING YOUR STRENGTHS
FOR EVOLVING DEMANDS AND PROACTIVELY WORKING
ON PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT PLANS GETTING US READY.
SOURCE:  Career Planning Career Mapping Tool MONSTER
Monster has put forward a forward seeking tool that might
be of value to your thinking process about managing your
career.

However, leaving this on a computer or in a cloud file
while seeming to be current misses the urgency humans place
in face-to-face interactions. 

Plan to develop mentors, sponsors and referrals by working hard
to help others meet their goals.  Lou Adler offered salient advice
- get help in being a “perfect fit” for an opening.
- people who refer you for an opening, help themselves by helping
you.
- know what recruiters seek when filling a position (they work for
the company), and give examples in your resume and relate stories
when you interview

Security
is also about protecting your valuable information,
reputation and computer resources
.  In a podcast I recently listened
to I became convinced to explore ‘Krebs on Security.
- security tools
- patches

STEM JOBS:  SHORTAGE OF JOBS or SHORTAGE OF SKILLED
PEOPLE.
We need to “keep up with the times.”  If my university is not dedicated
to doing it, I need to find other avenues.  If my employer does not have
the funds or give me the time to do it, I have to find other avenues.
We must keep abreast of evolving needs of employers. 
EXAMPLE:  25 years ago only a few places sought HTML coders. 
Ten years later, your entry card was punched with HTML experience. 
HTML is less a key but a commodity today.  Jobs can be had with a
lower salary or for niche hiring (projects). 
Other experience with cloud computing and analytics seems a better path.

There is a “gap” between curves of skill level in what we learn and
what is needed in positions.  Peter Grey points out to independently
learn and gain experience in emerging technologies and critical ‘hard
skills’.  Gain experience and meet goals in new areas of challenge
instead of repeating previous career path efforts.  Learn from and keep
peers in your network.

Further reading from a recruiter about STEM jobs.

TRENDS IN TECHNICAL SOCIETIES
The debate goes on:  Is it worthwhile to belong to a technical
professional organization

The presence of the Internet and online Open Access Technical literature
might influence some segments of the professional population.
The need shifts depending upon the fields that you are involved,
your current and future needs, and your personal assessment and
how you would use the society for your advantage (WIIFM).

Some questions to help you decide about society membership:

Are you stuck where you are with little or no help out? (connections,
networking, sense for where field is moving and what is emerging,
access to leaders and hiring managers, finding solutions to problems,
finding resources and tools to solve problems)

Do you have mentors to ask about alternatives for decisions?

Do you feel that you are doing something that has already been solved
by someone else before?
  (Googling your question does not help!)

Are there situations that a group effort in advocating a cause would
be much more effective?

Some questions to help you decide about belonging to a large, broadly-
involved organization or a smaller, more cutting edge, faster moving
organization:

Do you want to be elected, volunteer for and serve in a leadership
capacity
?  (chances are better in smaller org.  or a local section)

How are you planning to continuously improve and update your
skills to be prepared for the future
?

How will safety and common good be served best?  Prevention
(like checklists) rather than band-aiding failing flow chart or procedures

BONUS:  It is noteworthy to point out an organization that is
reinventing itself as it sees the changing landscape in publishing.
The way they are doing it is an example to point out.

2 comments
07/03/14
Watch-Outs. 59. MOOCs, Email changes, Posture effects of computer technology, Experiments in cloud, Virtual Unreality
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 7:09 pm

As is often said, the only constant is that things will change.
Several links to nonlinear Internet trends are offered in
this post. 
Regarding Massive Open Online Courses–
who seems to benefit, what is happening in traditional
‘brick institutions’ and start up companies.
Regarding attempts to improve email efficiency,
Regarding the unintended effects on people’s posture
of our Internet based society.
Regarding where the cloud is moving next.

DIGITAL DEGREES
SOURCE:  The Economist, 6-28-14, P. 20, “The digital degree
MOOCs  is upsetting previous models of higher education of
lectures, cramming and examination.  As most technical areas
of study include texts, references, laboratories, computational
resources and sophisticated equipment, there is a gap.  This is
despite the improved access the Internet provides.

This article gives an intriguing status, offering
-  MOOCs are likely good for experienced, degreed professionals
who have goals and specific outcomes in mind
-  ‘digital courses are intertwined with existing curricula…
half …at MIT take a MOOC as part of their course.’
-  a second generation of MOOC, with a MOOC Masters in
computing parallel to an on-campus course at Georgia Tech.
-  some MOOC companies are ‘pivoting’ their models, Udacity
-  all is changing; it is far from the initial idea of John Newman’s
“university.”

EMAIL DISRUPTION
SOURCE:  R. Feintzeig, WSJ 6-18-14, p. B7. “A company without
Email?  Not so fast.

Email usage continues to explode.  It remains preferred and widely
used to collaborate.  Yet, it is inefficient.
This article alerts to innovations to substitute some elements of
email and their early results.

POSTURE HABITS
SOURCE:  J. Whalen, WSJ 6-24-14, P. D1.  “Slouch at your own
peril.

Our body positions and posture are affected by sitting in front
of computers and hunching with smartphones in our hands.
These activities experts attribute give rise to a chronic
condition called Kyphosis, affecting back tightness that
many feel and even suggested a depression of mental
mood. 

It feels that way sometimes, doesn’t it.

RESEARCH EXPERIMENTS VIA CLOUD RESOURCES
SOURCE:  E. M. Rusli, WSJ, 7-1-14, P. B4.  “Research
labs jump to cloud
.”
There are some experiments that can be contracted,  dialed
into into robot routines and analyzed with appropriate
outputs.  This is an emerging trend, just as ’round the
clock’ experiments around the globe are used to accelerate
progress.  A couple of start up companies at various
incubators are developing routines and cataloging what
is working and their associated business models, in a
way like SalesForce.com does for customer relations
management.

BONUS:  VIRTUAL UNREALITY
A new book by Charles Seife hits hard at all the places
that should be scrutinized in our world of virtual people
and devices, including SEOs, photo hoaxes, dating
scams, fake news reports, discrediting personalities,
and many others.

comments (0)