Some reactions are highly sensitive to shear stress (i.e. stirring bar grinding). This is a variable that many times is forgotten, but it’s quite important and very useful for the reproducibility of the experiment. Today in the lab we were checking the stirring speed of our stirring plates with a 60fps camera.
After the flying dutchman here we go with the flying stirring bars:
P.S. If you check the second segment of the video, you will see that the stirring bar is changing the spinning direction when flying away…..
How the story of this video started is a little bit of mystery. I’m pretty sure I was in my office when Mathieu come in whistling in a test tube. Mathieu remembers it differently: I was doing a kind of whistling column when he kicked in. Anyway, in that moment (whatever it was) we decided to make a video whistling in the test-tubes. The second step was to decide the song. It was an easy decision, we both are great gamers (and nintendo lovers). During the following nights we wetted up almost everything:
EDIT (01-05-2013): It was a -Cl. The CNMR clearly showed 10 Dppm for the CH2 group for the starting material and the final purified product. Now it’s not reacting with the NHMe2… but this is another story… Thanks to all for joining the puzzle.
If chemistry is just like cooking (cit), doing a tosylation is like preparing a salad. Not very complicated and probably I did more than 300 in my life. But today was one of those day, and even a trivial reaction can be transformed in pure hell.
Let’s start with the beginning. I simply wanted to do this reaction, and as I told you before it’s pretty straightforward, so I didn’t check literature. I just dissolved everything in DCM, add 1.2eq of TEA and stir overnight.
The next day I did a TCL. One main spot that I purified by column chromatography:
Left: pyrene starting material. Center: crude. Right: purified product. Hex/EtOAc 1:2
Or at least my personal “top something”. In the full spirit of LabSolutely, I selected only the funny/non common/crazy ones (check for example my last year RealTimeChem blogpost. This time there were too many tweets that it was almost impossible to check them all, so forgive me if I miss some one):
I had to remove three postcards from my fumehood because of “safety” issue. This fumehood is well…. :
@JessTheChemist set the kick off for #RealTimeChemCarnival yesterday with her Monday Musing. I would like to put pictures of my favorite glassware…. but they will be mainly columns…. I’m sorry but it’s stronger than me, I love column chromatography.
I can do something different. So here the things that are with me since long time:
fea1) The Bible, with me since my Master Thesis.
2) The badge of my first international conference (and the first of the ISMSC series). Fear and loathing in Las Vegas.
3) My TLC holder. I simply love it. with me since 2008 (Bought in Japan town – San Francisco)
3) My lovely postcards, they used to be attached on my fumehood since ages. Last week I had to remove them because they where a “safety issue”. “I hate everyone” – good for mondays and/or hard days “Shit Happens” – It’s self explanatory, we work in chemistry… “I do not seek, I find” – well….
My two favorite badges. Depending by the city, I decide to use one or the other.
I should thank Petra (material scientist/Tv series addict/muffin magician) for showing me this NCIS episode on liquid nitrogen.
The episode is the 7×05 “Code of Conduct”. One man died for ingesting nitrogen, and that’s ok. I mean scientifically correct.
The fun part (as in most of the Tv series) is the Mass Spec. I’m usually quite blaspheme when I have to run/read/understand the mass… While they can find whatever they want…. Even (liquid) NITROGEN… Yes you read it correctly, they have a peak for Nitrogen….
Screenshot (minute 15.52):
and transcript: “There’s more. Sample from our dead Marine’s stomach. I expected to find liquid nitrogen, of course, but I did not expect to find acetone and benzene in his flesh.”
So, she even EXPECT the peak of nitrogen… “Benzine” is also quite funny…. And naturally a single peak for the “Turpentine”….
Moreover, I’m quite sure that my Spectrometer doesn’t label the peaks for what they are… Where I can buy one of those?
So, remember NCIS stands for “Non Chemist Ion Spectrometer”
#RealTimeChem week is going to start tomorrow. If you don’t know what it ism you can check the FAQ on Doctor Galactic blog. If you don’t have a twitter account, this is the perfect moment for join in and have fun with thousandth of other chemists around the world.
My plan for the week?
1- As always working in the lab (that nowadays is getting transformed into “writing stuff”). I’ll try to post more picture/short movies than my usual baseline.
2- Writing one (or more) posts about my favorite funny/interesting/non-banal/creative tweets of the week like I did last year (#RealTimeChem 2012). You will find more serious thoughts on the realtimechem week in other serious blogs. You are warned: This is NOT a serious blog.
3- Writing an (outreach) post on the relationship between Videogames and Science (this is something I wanted to do since ages).
4- Making another video in the lab. The idea is already in my/our head/s but I don’t know if it is physically possible to do it. We will see… we will see….
(edit) I almost forgot: If you don’t have a blog, but you want to write something (stupid, in line with the labsolutely mentality), I’ll be happy to host your writing
For now, just check the Trailer…. Because what we do in the lab is like an Opera:
This post is a quasi-entry for #ChemMovieCarnival hosted by See Arr Oh (more information about this movie carnival on his blog here). It’s a quasi-stuff, because I will not talk about a movie and this post will not be very outreach. Moreover since a quasi-stuff won a Nobel prize I started using quasi-words whenever I have the possibility. Actually I would like to win a quasi-Nobel.
If this is not my first post that you are reading, you should know that I’m from the fabulous ’80s, and I’m very nostalgic (I’m getting older). It was a great period, excellent movies, good music, weird clothes, no internet and so on. It was a time where the kids chemical kits were actually dangerous. And when the instruction explicitly warn you to NOT mix A and B, you knew that the first thing to do would be to instantaneously MIX A and B (naturally followed by a lot of smoke and screams). Unfortunately the absence of internet meant that amazing shows and characters didn’t get the proper diffusion (and billions of memes).
At that time, one of my best tv series was Mac Gyver (on the podium together with Quantum Leap). Now, If you don’t know who is MacGyver you are missing a piece of history. Every single episode was a piece of art. And the haircut. Oh God, that haircut was one of the emblems of the ’80s. Anyway, we should talk about science….
MacGyver was the quintessence of science. I’m not saying that it was scientifically correct (because now I know that mixing sugar and salt will not produce a bomb), what I’m saying it’s that the feeling of science impregnate all the MacGyver series. The idea that you can solve not most, but all your problems with intellect and few things you have around. The great message of using scientific/engineering knowledge for solving problems, not just brute force. And, keep in mind that we are talking about ’80s…. Movies like Rambo or the Schwarzenegger’s one were only about brute force. Overpowering the enemy with muscles and a shitload of weapons.
But no, MacGyver was different. A quick look in the room where he was locked, check the available household chemicals, mix them in a precise ratio and sequence et voila’ the bomb/smoke/weapon/distraction/whatever was done. Unfortunately, as I said before, it was (mainly) scientifically incorrect. And the worst part was that the lack of internet was equivalent to lack of information (especially for a kid). This also meant that the only way to check if the experiment shown was true or not was to “repeat” the experiment in your house. I don’t want to lie to you. Most of the times (I mean always) it was a disaster: crap everywhere, stinky and sticky stuff, screaming parents and so on.
Anyway, just for sake of the good show/bad chemistry, check this video on how to destroy a wall using sodium, water and some candies. Also check how sodium was stored….
There is only one thing I really would like to see: MacGyver + Parafilm. This would be the MacGyver holy grail. 80% of lab stuff can be fixed with parafilm (15% with duct tape, and well if you broke the other 5% you are screwed). I love parafilm.
So, did you usually watch MacGyver? Did you MacGyver something in the Lab? Let me know.
The 5 Ws are the basics of journalism: Who, What, When, Where and Why. These questions are also the minimal set of questions you should ask yourself when writing a paper, a blog post or in general for setting up a good talk/poster.
Few days ago I was laughing reading this, pretty precise, post on “how to piss of an Italian” and I recall that some time ago in the lab we did more or less the same thing searching the 5 Ws on different nationalities. What’s better than doing it now on the blog?
I decided for three nationalities (Who): Italians (MSc), Germans (PhD) and Dutch (PostDoc).
It’s clear that Americans are extremely worried of what Italians and Germans think about them. Dutch oven seems to be the winner of this contest. There is also the possibility that most people imagine Italians like Mario Bross, and they are disappointed when it’s not like this. This could explain the “what italians look like” question. No clue about “black people” and the painter one…..
Don’t laugh. The google suggestion when you write “when italians” is “place a finger under the eye…..”. It actually means that someone is a “good guy”, quite intelligent. When we drink cappuccino? Seriously? Always, of course, from breakfast to the after party. I had to search for “say maron” because I had no clue on what they were searching. Then I realized that it was misspelled. It’s “maronna mia, or maronn”. And then I also realized that most of the Italians in the states are probably from the southern part of Italy (It’s actually my dialect).
let’s move to the Germans…. “when the germans bombed pearl harbor”???? I really hope they were looking for a quote from National Lampoons Animal House (video here). I really hope so…. And I have also to stand on the german side about the last question. They DO say nice things and they are nice too, but you cannot realize it when they say it in german. It’s not their fault it’s only their language…
Apparently, Italian and Germans moved to texas, and most people don’t where where Dutch is spoken or where they are living, thinking that they are just imaginary people…. Maybe I’ll surprise you with this, but, they are real!!!
Few days ago I was reading this preface of a MSc thesis. It’s from a chemist fellow, drinking buddy and “philosophical” discussion pal. I find it quite amazing as it clearly catch the spirit of the daily work in a chemistry laboratory. Blood, sweat and tears in the frontline of science:
“Twelve months ago I started this project as a catalysis project, but it turned out to be long battle against a small molecule. This paper is the report of this long process. It cannot express the long days spent in the lab, battling shoulder to shoulder with my fellow scientists and friends, the joy for the synthesis, the hope for good results and the sadness and tiredness with each failed attempt.”
And this also reminds me about my own PhD thesis (that by the way you can download from the university library here). At the end of the first page (acknowledgment) I wrote this line:
“At the end, thanks to you, reader. If you are reading this line after the others, you at least read one page of my thesis. Thank You.”
Moreover, as (a nerd) easter egg the page number 42 of my thesis is in italic…..
What about you? Did you write something funny in your thesis?
This post started yesterday when I saw this tweet from @BlameRafa. Naturally my mind comes back at all the crazy correlation graphs that I memorized during my web wandering.
The next one is history: The amazing correlation between numbers of pirates Vs. the average temperature. It’s history because this is when the “Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster” started its mission. If you don’t know what it is this amazing religion, you better read it here.
Naturally there is a strip on XKCD about that (and about almost everything).
This could actually make sense. I’m way less stressed when I’m not using Internet explorer….
And finally we got the safety inspection, that some time becomes “tidiness inspection”. And also this time we survived it (except for some scotch tape on the glass of our fumehood, some needles around and…. 16 liters of DMF outside the fire proof cabinet). Unfortunately we completely forgot that we received the DMF and the boxes with the solvent were still laying around the lab. Damn it!
Anyway, some pictures. Can you spot the differences?
Selective Inversion Recovery “SIR NMR”… this would be an amazing TOC…
You can read more serious stuff about SIR NMR (that is actually really nice) in this paper: “Encapsulated Guest−Host Dynamics: Guest Rotational Barriers and Tumbling as a Probe of Host Interior Cavity Space”, Jeffrey S. Mugridge ,Géza Szigethy ,Robert G. Bergman, and Kenneth N. Raymond. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2010, 132 (45), pp 16256–16264 DOI: 10.1021/ja107656g
Today this blog reached the 20000 views, and I guess it’s time for some metrics. I bought the domain and the server space back in june 2012, I spent some time in setting up everything and my first post “The Zen of Column Chromatography” appeared online on the 31-10-2012.
Unfortunately, and not really understandably “Harlem Shake” become viral last months. I feel obliged to post here our university version. And no, I didn’t take part in it (although I’m thinking about doing a glassware version of it…..)