The NESACS Blog
From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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09/04/16
Economics of the Chemical Enterprise.
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Recruiters, Leadership, Legal matters, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:58 am

The global pace is speeding up.  To meet the needs and
interests of members and institutional stakeholders the
Society needs to incorporate broader and deeper aspects
of economics in the technical and scientific aspects of
the chemical enterprise.

.
Think:  mergers and acquisitions; government funding of
CDC, EPA, NIH, chemical research;  international trade
arrangements; patent implications for different industries;
water, power, recycling…
.
This post recognizes the development of sustainability,
green chemistry, and internationalization of programs.  
Other organizations [ 1 , 2 ] have pointed out deeper and
broader economic implications. ACS has an ongoing
organization
to continuously update “historical” data for
members.   
.
We need to access disciplines that will continuously
FORECAST business cycles that affect the chemical
enterprise and describe implications to members and
constituents.
.
Robert Colvile has described how 
- more attention is paid to one issue rather than the
gradual and incremental changes all around us
- flashy and superficial is promoted
- faster and shorter-lasting dominates
- ease of money, ideas and pathogens moving around
with less friction and checking means disaster can
happen before we are aware
- industries and companies can disappear with a click
of a network or computerized trading micro-second
- trajectories are nonlinear and interruptable
.
One strategic area ACS needs to grow and foster
is economic forecasting.  This blog has reviewed
Tetlock’s Superforecasting and it is appropriate to 
bring up the Good Judgment Project as a seed for how
the ACS might bring economic forecasting to help
members.
2 comments
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
12/12/15
Recommended Reading. 5.
Filed under: Recent Posts
Posted by: site admin @ 11:14 am

This year’s list includes:

James Pennebaker, The Secret life of Pronouns:  What our
words say about us
, Bloomsbury Press, NY, 2011

Brene Brown, I Thought it was Just Me:  Women Reclaiming
Power and Courage
, Gotham Books, 2007

Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen, Great by Choice:  Uncertainty,
Chaos and Luck—Why some thrive despite them all
, Harper
Collins 2011 

Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler, Bold: How to go big, Achieve
Success and Impact the World
, Simon and Schuster NY, 2015

Steve Levine, Powerhouse:  Inisde the Invention of a Battery to Save
the World
,  Penguin Group Viking, NY, 2015

George J Mitchell, The Negotiator:  Reflections on an American
Life
Simon and Schuster NY 2015

John Kounios,  Mark Beaman, The Eurika Factor: Aha moments,
Creative Insights and the Brain,
Random House,  NY,  2015

Leonard Mlodinow, The Upright Thinkers:  The Human Journey
from Living in Trees to Understanding the Cosmos
Pantheon Books
NY 2015

S. J. Scott and Rebecca Livermore, Confident You:  Introvert’s Guide
to Success in Life and Business
, www.habitbooks.com,  Kindle, 2015

Peter C Whybrow, The Well-Tuned Brain:  Neuroscience and the
Life Well Lived, 
Norton and Co., NY, 2015

Neil Psotman, The End of Education:  Redefining the Value of School,
Vintage Books, Div. of RandomHouse, NY, 1995

Frank Barners, Body Language Box Set:  Crucial Body Language
Guide with Tips to Learn and Read and Talk,  Kindle, 2015  

Michael Nir,  Body Language:  Silent Influencing, Kindle, 2015

Peter Bregman, 18 Minutes  Find your Focus, Master Distractions
and Get the right things done,
Business Plus, NY, 2011 

David Brooks, The Road to Character,  Random House 2015

John C. Maxwell, 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, Center Street
2012

PhillipTetlock, Dan Gardner, Superforecasting, Kindle books,
Penguin, RandomHouse, 2015 

Previous lists:
LIST 1
LIST 2
LIST 3
LIST 4


comments (0)
12/03/15
Professional Behavior. “Committed” Mentoring
Filed under: Mentoring, First Year on Job, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 12:51 pm

While this blog has spoken about a valuable role
reverse mentoring” is for many, it is a fuzzy term.
The reason for pointing this out is observed by
perusing Leslie Kwoh’s article on the topic
highlighting a concept favored by former GE CEO
Jack Welch.

The communication paradigm has shifted about
knowledge and wisdom transfer. 
With faster
adoption and change, expertise has a shorter lifetime
and needs more frequent upgrading and refreshing.

Some commenters suggest that reverse mentoring
can be observed in situations focusing on coaching
skills in exchange for reciprocal behaviors of like
minded individuals.

Thus, it might be better to define Committed
Mentoring
which borrows a number of valuable
concepts from superforecasting teams including:
1.  AOM active openmindedness - trust in allowing
all members to ask questions
2.  Perform Premortem thinking - assume a course of
action failed and think about why this happened
3.  Define a shared purpose
4.  Opens the reciprocal sharing to other outside input
which brings in diversity.

This brings in some of the content from Tetlock’s
“Superforecasters” teams that produce the best results of
predicting future outcomes.

1 comment
11/27/15
Trends in Technical Careers. Forecasting
Filed under: Mentoring, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 8:49 am

Been reading Phillip Tetlock’s book “Superforecasters” since predicting
what will happen is something we often like to do in science.  As Charles
Kettering once said about his interest in the future ‘because the rest of
his life’ will be spent there.
Forecasting is hard work and can be learned.  People who do it well,
Tetlock opines, have a strong interest in information, a willingness to
adjust to new data, an ability to synthesize a view from various
perspectives, like a ‘dragonfly’s eye.’  They also pay attention to their
prediction compared to the actual result to learn from.

A rough process outline includes
    1.’unpacking’ the question into components
    2.distinguish between the known and unknown, while not leaving
assumptions untested
    3.assess the question from an objective ‘outside viewpoint’
    4.put the problem into a comparative perspective, which downplays its
uniqueness and treats it as a special case
    5.explore others’ predictions for similarities and differences
    6.pay attention to broader predictions from wider sources [wisdom
of crowds]
   7.synthesize the information and compare to actual, learning what
can be done to improve

Example discussions:
The singularity where technological intelligence overtakes human abilities
is predicted to be in 2030 [Vinge ]  and 2045 [Kurzweil ].
 Interesting competitions in forecasting provide events for evolving
approaches.

3 comments