Tagged: chemblogs

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.

The PhD Tao


That’s an amazing guest post from my labmate Rui Carvalho (@rkramska). The Tao of a PhD:

“The further one goes, the less one knows.” 
Lao Tzu – Tao Te Ching – 4th year PhD

“When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.” 

Lao Tzu – Tao Te Ching – Speaking of lab work

“Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.”
Lao Tzu – Tao Te Ching – During coffee break

“Take care with the end as you do with the beginning.” 

Lao Tzu – Tao Te Ching – While writing a paper

“Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.” 

Lao Tzu – Tao Te Ching – When reology results do not make sense

“Our enemies are not demons, but human beings like ourselves” 

Lao Tzu – Tao Te Ching – Speaking of referees

“If you search everywhere, yet cannot find what you are seeking, it is because what you seek is already in your possession.”
Lao Tzu – Tao Te Ching – Before figuring out how to use the chemicals list

“Stop thinking and end your problems.”
 Lao Tzu – Tao Te Ching – On a Friday evening

“A beaker is only as useful as the emptiness inside it, very much so like my thesis.”
 Lao Tzu – Tao Te Ching – Talking about his thesis

50K thanks and weird search engine terms



Recently this blog reached the 5×10^4 views. Thank you, that’s a big achievement, now let’s fight all together for the peace in the world. If you want we can also fight for peace in Word. It will be simply awesome if that crappy word processor will be compatible with itself. Yes, you right, the peace in the world seems to be more achievable. Let’s go with that. 

Anyway, thank you for reading/watching/staring/spamming/be spammed by this blog. One of my main question when I decided to start a blog was “ok, what’s the audience you want to have”, few seconds later my brain convinced me with “who cares…. We are doing it just for pure fun” – “Fair enough brain, let’s do it”. 
Close to 1 year from my first post, I’m now here and I don’t actually know why I reached 50k views. A little bit of data mining showed that most of the people are coming from reddit/facebook/twitter….. But another 1/4 is coming from search engines…. Seriously? What in this world you can search for ending up in this blog?

So I decided to take a look in the search terms that brought people here (yes, I can see your search terms when you land here)…… I should admit, I was quite impressed and naturally showing the search terms is always a good excuse for some fun.

Moreover I hate when I search something and then I’m ending up in a website that will not give me the answer I was searching for. Now I can answer all (or most) of the searched terms that you didn’t find in this blog.

In bold the search phraseIn Italic my honest answer


thanking cats in thesis acknowledgement it depends on how much your cat contributed to the thesis. Did some experimental part? Was a guinea pig? then you should thank him.

nerdy chemistry lines 2013 a lot of lines. For example 6 in cyclohexane, 9 in benzene 

science of gokuit’s more biology than chemistry, so I don’t really know. I guess is some mutation or a missing link.

swears chemical please, be my guest.

loi noi dau cua laun van tot nghiepyes!

elastic band on sleeves of my lab coat chemistrythe 10mL cylinder will thank you (full story here)

what is the 10ml cylinder used for?you crash them as stress reliever.

sexy video in chemistry labI’m open to discuss that.

관 크로마토그래피 maybe.

janitor fucking robot in the lab porn movie what?. 

how blind are you when you need -4.75 cylinderquite a lot, I would go for the laser actually.

www.xxxx.2.dcmno, but dcm is dichloromethane 

http://excellentmovies.orgI’ll take a look, thanks.

column chromatography don’t know what my product is NMR and Mass or DART from TCL.

fucking chemistry miss in the lab pornwhat’s wrong with you guys?

how to shut down sarcastic peoplegood luck with that my best friend. I like you very much. 

what’s that confocal microscopy? you need an hour? should i read twitter while i wait? ok, ok confocal, we cool. Google or Wikipedia

sklodowska xxxxSeriously? there are those kind of video about Marie Cuire?? Now i need to check this out (and then finishing in the search terms of some other blogs and spread the urban legend.

is marmite bad for you 2013Yes. For you and all the humanity.

how to make a mind-blowing french 10 curriculum I would say baguette and croissant. Maybe fromage.

crap officeagree. 

how to immerse the micropipette tip into the liquid/culture to a pirateuhmm. I don’t actually know, maybe you can hold the pipette with your mouth like a knife while entering your boss office cheering him with “ahoy captain” 

i hate hplc I see your pain and I raise with “I hate AFM”

Sigmund Fraud and the Case of the Supporting Information

Disclaimer: the following article is pure irony sarcasm (like the rest of the blog).

Due to the recent “ambiguous” discoveries in literature (strange NMR, even stranger TEM and well, I don’t know how to call this Supporting Information) I guess it’s the proper time to laugh about it:


1 – NMR

Why the hell are you still putting the NMR scan in the supplementary information? No one is going through it anyway, not the referees nor the editor(s). So, why bother in using paint to remove the nasty solvent peaks? Why that white tape of the impurities? Do just one thing: hand draw it, nothing better than a good old hand drawing, no paint required and almost impossible to detect as fraud.

IMG 22231H-NMR (400MHz) of compound X.

Yes, yes, I hear you. You are not an artist and you don’t want to lose time in hand drawing something. Then just put a random NMR picture in the supplementary information. Classy and scientifically correct:

400NMRNMR (400MHz), compound X inside.


2 – Elemental Analysis, Melting Point

Nothing here works better than a good old set of D&D dices. Only pay attention to the 20 faced dice, having a melting point of 6456 C may be suspicious. If you don’t like dices, you can alway go for the I Ching (in the uncommon possibility that you don’t know what is the I Ching, ask one of your Chinese colleague, or even better read “the man in the high castle”). God doesn’t play dice with the world, nobody asked him to fill in the supporting information.


3 – UV, Fluorescence and so on

As the NMR, the best option is to hand draw it. If lazy you can go for your favorite mountain (here for example the Vesusio). Don’t even think about labeling the axes, no one really care and referees hate it. For the IR just turn it upside down and add some random peaks.

VesuvioUV-Vis of a never-really-purified compound


4 – Imaging, AFM, TEM

That’s the easiest part. Just pick up the phone from your pocket and start making random pictures, they will come handy when writing the supporting information:

IMG 2225AFM of a functionalized surface. It’s clear that the roughness is more than acceptable (less than few nanometers)


IMG 2226AFM of nanoparticles on the same surface. The nanoparticles are spherical but they look distorted because of artifacts.


IMG 2227TEM of fibers (Uranyl Acetate staining)


IMG 2228Cryo-Tem



“if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” –
“If there is a fraud in the supplementary information and no one is around to read it, is it still a fraud?”

I guess that we all should thank Chembark for bringing those weird literature cases to the light.
Thank you!

#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.

IMG 1085


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