Category: twitter

Another TEM “problem”?

Do you remember the 2013 TEM scandal ? Well, today we may have a new one.

Everything started with this post on reddit….

and in all honesty some of the pictures look little bit strange…. People are still debating if the copy-paste was done with MS-Paint or scissor and glue….



From: “L-Cysteine-capped ZnS quantum dots based fluorescence sensor for Cu2+ ion”, Masilamany Koneswaran and Ramaier Narayanaswamy, Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, 2009, 139, 104–109, doi:10.1016/j.snb.2008.09.028″ and “Mercaptoacetic acid capped CdS quantum dots as fluorescence single shot probe for mercury(II)”, Masilamany Koneswaran and Ramaier Narayanaswamy, Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, 2009, 139, 91–96, doi:10.1016/j.snb.2008.09.011″


From: “CdS/ZnS core-shell quantum dots capped with mercaptoacetic acid as fluorescent probes for Hg(II) ions”, Masilamany Koneswaran and Ramaier Narayanaswamy, Microchimica Acta, 2012, 178, 171–178, doi:10.1007/s00604-012-0819-0″



And a beautiful 2015 paper from: “Ultrasensitive detection of vitamin B6 using functionalised CdS/ZnS core–shell quantum dots”, Masilamani Koneswarana and Ramaier Narayanaswamy, Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, 2015, in press, doi:10.1016/j.snb.2015.01.017″

What if I tell you that the main author of the papers is also the editor of the journal that published 3 out of the 4 papers above-mentioned? Are you screaming blasphemies thinking of your rejected papers?


One of the (other) editors will be soon informed about the story. Hoping that somethings will happen I’ll keep you updated….


UPDATE (20-02-2015): in two of the four papers the FTIR from two different samples are practically overlappable….

“Ultrasensitive detection of vitamin B6 using functionalised CdS/ZnS core–shell quantum dots”, Masilamani Koneswarana and Ramaier Narayanaswamy, Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, 2015, in press, doi:10.1016/j.snb.2015.01.017 (figure 3)

fig3and “L-Cysteine-capped ZnS quantum dots based fluorescence sensor for Cu2+ ion”, Masilamany Koneswaran and Ramaier Narayanaswamy, Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, 2009, 139, 104–109, doi:10.1016/j.snb.2008.09.028 (Figure 3)



But doctor, I AM PAGLIACCI…..




Few of my favorite:


And the winners are….

I’m naturally talking about the “unknown compound competition“. Let’s crunch some numbers first: the post was viewed c.a. 1000 times, 11 chemists participated in the competition and we now have 2 winners.

chemist competitionSo, what was the solution? A tricycle, of course :)




This research was mainly done by our (at that time) (A)Ma(zing)ster student Suzanne, and you can find our amazing Tetrahedron Letters paper here (it is not the final version yet, as we just received the proof).

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand….. The winners areeeeee……… (drum roll)…………..

1st: Zach Reitz from the university of Santa Barbara

2nd: Manuel Ortuño, ex Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

Congratulations to the winners (we spent quite a lot of time (and NMR time) cracking the structure) and thanks to all the participants. It was fun to host this competition.

What did the guys won? A special Dutch pack composed of:

A pair of warm warm klomp for the cold days deciphering  spectra or writing papers in the office:


Dutch food…. When someone say that in the Netherlands the food is pretty bad….. well….. believe them…. But, somethings are pretty good, and as we could not ship herrings (dutch style) nor oliebollen, we opted for licorice and stroopwafels. The latter are pretty good stuff. You should get a hot cup of tea, put the stroopwaffels on top and wait 5 minutes, the syrup inside the waffles become warm and the cookie is amazing.


Some 3D printed stuff. I’ve got a 3D printer and I’m still learning how to use it properly. Here the silver metal with the Bohr electron shells.


Nice thing of this print is that, although printed in a single piece, is completely movable. Pretty funny. I would love to say that it is something I designed, but it’s not the case. You can find all the atoms on thingverse.


Once again, thanks to all the winners, participants, random readers and HR people. Enjoy chemistry and have fun!

EDIT: John Anderson (@NMRChemist) explains here how the LR-HSQMBC could have helped us in solving the structure. Thank you, once more, twitter and thank you John.

Twitter for Chemists

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This is a special post for Chains 2014, the biggest chemistry conference in the Netherlands. You can see the 2011 videos here: 

There I will give a short workshop on “dare to communicate” hosted by Harm Ikink (@harmikink) focussing mainly of Twitter for chemists. 
The main question is “why should I use twitter?”. I’m afraid there is no simple answer to this question. I’m using it mainly for fun, interaction, and outreach. It is like being in a conference with thousand of chemists easily reachable with a single 140 characters tweet. Each of them with different backgrounds, working in different fields and with different expertise, grouped all together because, at the end of the day, we are all chemists.  

But let’s go with some order, and first things first, the history of Twitter:

Then, what is twitter and how to use it, a crash course by @MCeeP

Ok, now you have your fresh and shiny Twitter account, what’s next? Start following some chemists of course:

20 Chemists worth following on Twitter (C&N):

100 Chemists on Twitter (a list from @stuartcantrill ): (the same guy that brought to life this memorable Nature Chemistry Twitter editorial:


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Done with the followers? Now we can start with the hashtags then. I prefer using a program for twitter rather then the web interface. With program such as TweetDeck you can easily follow hashtags in separate columns, and this will simplify your life.  

The one that should be always on your Twitter client is, without any doubt, #Realtimechem ( #Realtimechem is an awesome resource for connecting chemists on twitter.

10 Twitter hashtags for scientists:

The hashtag of the conference you are going to (in this case #Chains2014).

The news hashtag, for example #ChemNobel a couple of weeks before the nobel announcement. 

And whatever other hashtag you may find interesting :)


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What should you write? That’s up to you, something nice happening in the lab, nice pictures, weird results, commenting some paper and so on. Please, please and please do not use twitter as news feed, writing only about your new paper, your new grant, new students and so on is not really useful for interaction and we already use a RSS feed for that. Unfortunately many chemistry journals and university are doing it, this is simply useless.

And always follow the rule number 1 of using social media, comments and general interaction of internet: don’t be a dick. Blaming on twitter a journal editor because he didn’t accepted your paper, or shaming your competitors is not very nice and possibly counter-productive: 

Now go out there and have fun with Twitter. I’m @V_Saggiomo and I approve this message.

* The picture of this blogpost are coming from 



Another glorious day on twitter….

#RealTimeChem 2014

Twitter bird dead

Another year, another #realtimechem week. If you don’t have a twitter account, this is the proper time of the year for getting in touch with many many chemtweeps.

Here you can find the FAQ, infos, prices and so on:

Here the fun part of the last two years of #realtimechem by your lovely labsolutey:
Realtimechem 2012
Realtimechem 2013 aperitif
Realtimechem 2013 the top something 

Remember that Jess is also hosting the #realtimechemcarniva, so if you have a chem blog, start using the # as well.

For example:
Have you ever wonder how long is detectable in you urine that nice drug you took for breakfast this morning?
Or how does a day in a chem lab in South Africa looks like? 

I’m quite busy lately (as you can check from the date of my last blogpost), but I’ll  tweet some random chem pictures from my ol’ good days till one week ago.

Good tweeting to all of you, may the stupidest/funny tweet enlighten our day in the lab.


Twitter bird dead

Another funny day with twitter. One rule: six words for the title of your paper….
Here my top something, in no particular order: 

My top something papers of 2013

Web  Library  image

What are the top ten papers that you read this year? @JessTheChemist on her blog started this nice topic, followed by @KarlDcollins here and now I guess it’s my turn.

Before going on, maybe it’s nice also to check the top 100 papers according to altmetrics of 2013 (so, the most discussed on the web).

I changed field in July so most of the time I was reading the last 20 years of relevant literature that I was missing. Moreover I like to read quite a lot of different papers, If you think I’m mono thematic then probably you will be disappointed by this list.

and let’s go (as always not in any particular order):

1- Ultrastable silver nanoparticles. Pretty impressive paper on silver nanoparticles (or maybe better, clusters). Amazing monodispersity, fixed number of silver atoms and capping molecules. The TOC with 140g of dried silver nanoparticles is a joy for the eyes. Maybe I have some remarks on the word “Ultrastable”. How can something be more stable that stable? Are they better than superstable nanoparticles? What’s next? Fworld-Stable nanoparticles? Maybe it’s only my english…  Bad point is that so far we didn’t managed to repeat the synthesis, but who is working on the field know how difficult is sometime repeating the formation of nanoparticles….

2- Tactile perception limit. If you think that your finger can detect only surfaces with millimeter patterns, well, think it again. This paper shows that your finger can detect the differences in surfaces with micron size features. Please avoid any sexual jokes about fingers and micron-sized things. 

3- Devices and 3D printers. Using your cellphone as microscope for single nanoparticle detection, single molecules counting or albumine test in urine. How cool is that? I would say as cool as printing and modifying new materials or your own microfluidic reactors. This review on nano materials for breath test is also a nice reading.

4- Is it difficult to grow long carbon nanotubes? Fei Wei doesn’t think so as his team managed to grow half meter carbon nanotubes. And what about controlling the movement and the assembly of nano-objects? Edo Waks and coworkers proved that it is doable using flow control.

5- Passing information from DNA to another set of molecules without even using an enzyme? Doable.

6- And more or less on the same topic, how to synthesize a specific sequence of aminoacids without using an enzyme? Using the “robosome” of course. 

7- Editorials, perspectives, comments and so on: The “All you can tweet” editorial on Nature Chemistry is pure gold. Can natural products and material chemists talk to each other, I mean without weapons? A very nice discussion on the topic in a JACS perspective. Otto Wolfbeis in an Angewandte editorial asks where are all the sensors, labels and probes that we are synthesizing in the lab everyday. Why they are not on the market? That’s a very good question. George Whitesides also thinks about market in his “Cool, or simple and cheap? Why not both?” and I share his point of view on that. Little bit more controverse is his “Is the focus on “molecules” obsolete? but also in this case some (most) of his points are reasonable. 

8- Random stuff. Electronic Visualization in Chemistry: From Alchemy to Art, very cool paper on the evolution of graphics in chemistry. If you are into the data mining business you may want to read how to predict future events mining the web.

9- Last but not the least a PNAS paper titled “Penis size interacts with body shape and height to influence male attractiveness”. Right from the paper this cit: ”Before clothing, the nonretractable human penis would have been conspicuous to potential mates. This observation has generated suggestions that human penis size partly evolved because of female choice.” That’s science! 


So what are your favorite papers of 2013? discuss it on twitter using #chemclub2013

Game of Nobels (in Chemistry)

This speculation is based on the Curious Wavefunction Nobel Prize prediction plus some “extra”.

In the Game of Nobels you win or you die……

Here the map(1):



So which house are you from?


(1) the map was brutally modified from here.

#sciconfessions – confess your lab sins

Twitter bird dead


Another day, another funny “scientific” hashtag. It’s time to confess your lab sins. Last time was #overlyhonestmethods, now it’s the #sciconfessions moment.

Enjoy some of the funniest ones (as always, I removed the tweeps)


Once, while sterilising an inoculating loop, I nearly set the lab on fire. #sciconfessions

I have eaten an organism I couldn’t ID just to get rid of it #sciconfessions

I eat and drink in my lab. Even during dissection and microbiology practicals. #sciconfessions

The lab skeleton was called Steve. It took my mother, a retired radiographer, to point out Stephanie was more appropriate. 

I once MRI-scanned my colleagues kid’s fluffy bunny toy. Had to soak it in water first to get an image. #sciconfessions

Did an experiment horrifically wrong, just repeated it a few times and called it anomalous because i was to embarrassed  #sciconfessions

#sciconfessions Back in the deep past in Cambridge – corridor cricket with a glass measuring cylinder and a rubber bung

As an undergrad, I managed to melt laboratory glassware during practicals. Now I am doing bioinformatics. #sciconfessions

At my old lab, a bottle of acetone was kept “because it had always been there”. I.e. that bottle is probably as old as I am. 

PI wanted us to keep the lab “as clean as the radioactive lab”. He must have missed that we never had a radioactive lab 

I call myself a Neuroscientist because I still can’t pronounce ‘Immunology’ #Sciconfessions

#Sciconfessions “accidentally” left open bottle of b-mercaptoethanol to disguise a curry fart. Sorry!

I chose my current University for PhD because its logo is blue and it totally looked like Hogwarts. #sciconfessions

Have used experimental petrology lab equipment to fix a bike, a squash racquet, a pair of trainers and a phone. #Sciconfessions

Out of every dewar of liquid nitrogen I fill, 50% is for ‘science’ & 50% is for ‘fun’ #sciconfessions

A long time ago, I twisted my 1000 ml pipettman around to read 9999. I was young. #sciconfessions

I’ve licked many rocks and lived to tell the tale #sciconfessions

I once calculated the surface area of a gram of Ti nanoparticles to be larger than a house #sciconfessions

That smell of b-mercaptoethanol in the lab the other day, well, it wasn’t b-mercaptoethanol #sciconfessions

Fallen asleep on microscope while counting worms (who knew it’s just like counting sheep?) #sciconfessions

No sir, I cannot recreate my data… It’s been a year worth of trying… #sciconfessions

I own a dog speculum. #sciconfessions

I’ve never used the dog speculum on a dog #sciconfessions

We think Schrödinger should bring his cat to the vet. #sciconfessions

I use the textbook *Behavioral Issues and Autism* as a wedge to fix the noisy radiator in my apartment. Just the right size. #sciconfessions

I would set people’s pipettes to zero. #sciconfessions

I once set a 72 hour HPLC run on someone else machine just cos he annoyed me. #sciconfessions

I actually said to my director:”the problem with this paper is not that it will be rejected, it’s that it might be accepted” #sciconfessions

#sciconfessions Tried to distil an organic azide once. It blew up & shot a glass stopper across the lab like a missile!

I do more washing up in the lab than I do at home. #sciconfessions

Sometimes, I eat the popcorn I make for Tsunami the Orangutan. #sciconfessions

Forgive me! I once sabotaged a student’s PowerPoint by inserting “penis” into a slide and then he presented it to medics 

The last sentence on the last page of my PhD thesis says ‘Well that’s what I think anyway”. Nobody’s noticed yet. #Sciconfessions

I used to put Hello Kitty stickers on all my solvent squirt bottles so none of my (all male) labmates would steal them. #sciconfessions

I probably get more done in one hour of “thinking” than in two hours of meetings. #sciconfessions

I’m a physics major but hard math problems still make me feel like I’m dying. #sciconfessions #ughughugh

I am supposed to do some actual science, but I am tweeting bullshit. #sciconfessions

Had timer paused at 12 minutes permanently in lab coat pocket. Would set it running if called into boss’s office. #sciconfessions

I enjoy hearing my non-Dutch colleagues try to pronounce “professor Kouwenhoven” #sciconfessions

One PI i worked for, used to let us smoke in the lab. Knew it was OK when the safety office started joining us ! #sciconfessions

15 min incubation = time for coffee. 1 hr = lunch. 18 hr = screw it, went home and slept. 48 hrs = took a weekend off. #sciconfessions

Spend more time taking photos from the pigeons outside the lab than photographing my samples, the pigeons were cuter! #sciconfessions

#sciconfessions When your chemistry teacher hands you lemons to extract limonene from, make lemonade…

In the Summertime – Chemistry Edition

This post is part of #chemsummer blog carnival (C&EN powered). What’s better than a good summer song? Probably more than 170 chemistry related songs, but that’s another story.

One of my favorite “lightheartedness” (does this word exists?) summer song is “In the Summertime” by Mungo Jerry. Whistling this song while biking to the university it’s amazing. And, come on, the upright bass, the blown bottle, the stereo sound, the 70s mustaches…. This song is simply perfect. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here the original song: (WARNING: it’s addictive)

And that’s the chemistry version of the song. Feel free to sing along (if you record it and put it on youtube it will be even more amazing):

In the summer time when the student are gone
You can stay in the lab
like an empty home
When the time is right
You got products, you got products on your mind
Have a solvent, have a hood
Go there and synthesize it pretty good

If there are more spots, purify it well
If there are no spots, you’ve lost I can feel
Speed along the lane
Do a ton or a ton and twenty-five
When the sun goes down
You can make it, you can make it, that’s your life

We’re not bad people, but we are dirty and we are on caffeine
We love every solvent even the nasty bad benzene
When the weather’s fine
We’re in the lab or we do some spectroscopy
We’re always tired
Life’s in the lab, yeah, that’s our philosophy

Synthesize along with us, dee dee dee dee dee
Da da da da da, year we’re che-mi-sts
Da da da dee da doo dee da dee da dee da da, yeah
Da da da da da, de da da dee da da

When winter’s here, yeah, it’s promotion time
Bring your booze, wear your clean labcoat ’cause it will be soon labtime
And we’ll start again
Synthesizing and purifying some other stuff
If it’s black, if it’s grey
I don’t care if it is good for an X-ray

In the summer time when the weather is hot
Most of your solvent bottles for the pressure will pop
When the weather’s right
You got data, you got data on your mind
Have a drink, have a chat
Check the data for any correlation you can find

If the data fit, write it down on your book
If the data is crap, back to lab and cook
Speed along the synthesis
Do a turn or return to step twenty-five
When the sun goes down
You can sleep, you can sleep in the lab

We’re not bad people, but we are dirty and we are on caffeine
We love every solvent even the nasty bad benzene
When the weather’s fine
We’re in the lab or we do some spectroscopy
We’re always tired
Life’s in the lab, yeah, that’s our philosophy

Synthesize along with us, dee dee dee dee dee
Da da da da da, year we’re che-mi-sts
Da da da dee da doo dee da dee da dee da da, yeah

X-Men School for Gifted Chemists


Charles Xavier, Professor of synthetic organic chemistry. All his papers have been accepted without passing for any referees. Legend wants that the only things he needed was to call the editor of the journal. Most of his students work for 72h non stop, and they don’t even know why. Hates comic sans.


Cyclops, Post-Doc. MALDI expert, some undergrads have seen him recording the MALDI-TOF by simply watching the matrix. His red-filtered fashion safety goggles are also perfect for red fluorescence and raman. The goggles, however, make almost impossible to use a pH paper. Do not ask him to prepare a buffer solution (he is a Post-Doc, so he will not do it anyway). 



Iceman, Post-Doc. His ability of preparing cooling bath is renowned in all the department. Busy all day long with cooling NMRs, preparing cryo-TEM samples and random -78C cooling bath for other people in the lab. Looking for the 0K.



Beast, Post-Doc. He is simply a living safety issue and he is not a good view when he is fully shaved. Trying to make his way up in computational chemistry. Some people are allergic to him.



Wolverine, PhD student. Amazingly precise in cutting TLC, silicon wafers and scratching preparative TLCs. Still in doubt if he can get close to the NMR or not. He is usually banned from the lab when some other students are trying metal catalysis. 



Storm, PhD student. She was hired for changing the weather while working. Since then no one in the lab said anymore: “look what beautiful weather outside and we are closed in the lab”. 



Banshee, PhD student. Whit him in the department the ultrasonic baths have become obsolete. No fused glass joint can resist his power. Pay attention: the guy can be quite annoying when asking questions during the group meetings. 



Pyro, PhD student. A living bunsen burner, no solvent will remain liquid in his hands. Distillation wizard, no vacuum needed. Never.  Quite good in elemental analysis as well. t-BuLi his favourite reagent. 



Rogue, undergrad student. She is currently studying for his MSc. No one really knows why she is walking around the department touching as many chemists as possible.



Magneto, technician. Can fix whatever instrument in matter of 5 minutes. When in a huge centrifuge can also be used to record a NMR. Do not mess with him if you want to find your stirring bars tomorrow.  

Marmite…you know…the black tar


This post is somehow connected to @reneewebs‘s aroma analysis of Marmite (part 1 and part 2). As I love NMR I did a couple of fast and brutal H-NMR and gCOSY experiments:


1H-NMR (D2O, 400MHz): quite a lot of (what I bet are) sugars, fatty acids, and I have no clue about the aromatic stuff. (Edit: the aromatic stuff are Niacin, Riboflavin, and Thiamin, according to wikipedia)


the gCOSY is even worst, I spent only 3 minutes on that, so, sorry if it’s not informative at all (a good TOCSY would have been amazing).

Anyway, the most interesting things (or at least unexpected) was that the Marmite water solution was extremely foamy. A couple of drops of the foamy solution from the NMR tube to the microscope glass and this is what happened next:

P.S. I hate Marmite, I tried the first time last year in New Zealand as breakfast…. As I’m used to “sweet” breakfast, I originally thought it was some kind of chocolate…. Stupid, stupid me. That was, let’s say a surprise (and not a good one). A couple of days later I finished swearing against the black tar from the hell, and I discover that is not that bad with bread and cheese, maybe with ham….. but for God sake…. NOT FOR BREAKFAST!!!!

An American Tail


This post is part of the B.R.S.M. (who is blogging here) blog party. Here the kickoff blog post from @JessTheChemist.
He is leaving for a postdoc in the States:

Vittorio (@V_Saggiomo) postdoc in the Netherlands

1. What is your message for BRSM?
NOOOOOOO Don’t go there…. RUN…. RUN….oh, well, too late apparently… then…. what can I say… enjoy…

2. What is one postdoc survival tip you would give to BRSM?
Never trust the instrument you want to use. Never.
Learn to say NO. This is extremely important for a postdoc, otherwise you will find to work 24/7 mainly for solving problems of all the other people in the lab.
When someone is “urgently” looking for you, in the 99% of the cases is not “urgent” at all.
Always close the separatory funnel.
Never reply to the referees in the same day of the rejection or use a blasphemy check on the outgoing email.
I know that It will sounds funny going from the UK to the USA by boat, but please do not take any boat called Titanic.

3. Do you have a fun story you could share from your postdoc and/or US academic experience?
Too many from my postdoc and not so many for the US experience. Most of my (tellable) stories are on this blog, the untellable ones are deeply hidden in my brain.

4. A survival tip for living in the US? Share an idiom if you’re American!
Try to avoid words like “lovely”, “my dear”, be less british-polite, start using “soccer” for “football”, do not reply to “what’s’up?”.
Switch random letters in the words (centre – center, fibre – fiber).
Whenever you think there should be an “s” put a “z” instead (synthesise – synthesize, organise – organize).
If you are in trouble with an italian community in the States, a horse head in the bed is always a nice message to send.

5. What would you like to see on BRSM blog in the future?
Naturally a survival guide to the USA. Tips and tricks of synthetic chemists.

6. Anything else?
Pancakes, pancakes and even more pancakes.

#RealTimeChem week 2013 – the top something

Twitter bird dead

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…. :

Continue reading

#RealTimeChemCarnival Tuesday Musing

@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. 

IMG 1089


2) The badge of my first international conference (and the first of the ISMSC series). Fear and loathing in Las Vegas.

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3) My TLC holder. I simply love it. with me since 2008 (Bought in Japan town – San Francisco)

IMG 1091


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…. 

IMG 1093


My two favorite badges. Depending by the city, I decide to use one or the other.

IMG 1087IMG 1088


And naturally all (most) the other badges.

IMG 1084


#RealTimeChem 2013 aperitif

Twitter bird dead

#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:

Let’s MacGyver it!


(edit 21-04) other entries for the #ChemMovieCarnival: and

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….

If you want to check all the amazing things he did (and how) you can read this amazing wiki: List of problems solved by MacGyver.



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.

Correlation = Causation ?

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…. 



Chocolate Consumption Vs. Nobel laureate per population…. No, I’m not kidding you. This is a research paper (Chocolate Consumption, Cognitive Function, and Nobel Laureates) on “the New England Journal of Medicine”.



And I discover that my blasphemy level increase with the increasing of the eluent polarity for the column chromatography, and so far reach the maximum when I use Alumina Basic as stationary phase… 



So, when your product is not coming out from your alumina column, even after 10L of eluent, who ya gonna call????




Twitter bird dead

Yesterday was the night of #sciencebands on Twitter. Here are some of the Scientific Bands created yesterday night:

From me @V_Saggiomo

Alice in Daisy Chains

Destiny’s Product

HeatGuns’ n’ Roses

@ReedRoberts for the postdocs i would use “Ol’ dirty bastards”

“Deep 450nm” and “620nm Floyd”

Regina Spectrum

Tenacious 2^H

The Colorless Stripes Because White is not a color… 

NMR Spin Doctors

The Cur(i)e

The Rolling Flasks

Ph.D. Dre


From Craig Campbell ‏@craigdc1983


Professor Greenhouse effect

Sugar X-Ray

Element Royale

LaboraTori Amos

ResoNancy Sinatra


From Reed Roberts ‏@ReedRoberts


Reagent added INXS


From John Michael Hammond ‏@MrHammondChem

Lord Kelvin and the Absolute Zeroes

Fluorine and the Machine


From Raj Mukhopadhyay ‏@RajMukhop

The Yeasty Boys

The Bleach Boys


From Alex Wild ‏@Myrmecos


Rage Against the Reviewers


From Michele Banks ‏@artologica

Polly Merase and the Chain Reaction

Ace of Base


Lead Zeppelin – Andrew ‏@_byronmiller 

Suicidal TLCs – Seb Spain ‏@sebspain 

Fe maiden – gotham_knowledge ‏@gothamknowledge

“All You Need is Gold” – Raphael Levy ‏@raphavisses 

 it’s not mine, but I just love “Run TLC”  “fur an furan”. Souixsie and the ring-strain release – Rob Stockman ‏@robstockman

rolling stoneflies – Jennifer Gillett ‏@JGillettKaufman

Ion Maiden – Natalia El-Sherif ‏@nataliaels 

The Crash Test Tube Dummies – Paul Bernal ‏@PaulbernalUK 

Marilyn Bunsen – Adrian ‏@Adrian_Specs 

Pipette Shop Boys – Raj S ‏@XYZRaj 

Flu Fighters – Oliver L Brady ‏@diewithscars 

Ramanstein – Free Radical ‏@Free_Radical1 

The Ramohms – Callum Mill ‏@fridgeytown 

Lady Geiger – Sean Jones ‏@seanjones11kbw 

 the rolling clones? – James Talbot ‏@JT1zzle 

N’Zinc – Mr. Warren ‏@MC_ScienceGuyBW 

Neanderthalica – Peter Z ‏@ptezu