This blog is my attempt to reconnect with the world of chemistry. I have a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry and make a living doing research for a large company in Michigan. As times have changed, that company has changed its focus and I no longer have as much chance to do the basic, fundamental research which I most enjoy. Through this blog, I am hoping to recapture the magic which I felt during my graduate (and undergraduate) days in college. Expect topics on chemistry and alchemy along with some non-chemistry related items which I think might be interesting.

"The chymists are a strange class of mortals, impelled by an almost insane impulse to seek their pleasure among smoke and vapour, soot and flame, poisons and poverty; yet among all these evils I seem to live so sweetly that may I die if I would change places with the Persian King."

Johann Joachim Becher (phlogistonist)
Acta Laboratorii Chymica Monacensis, seu Physica Subterranea, (1669).

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Journal Backlog

One of the reasons I started this blog was to bring myself back to feeling like a real chemist again. I do not work at a chemical company, I work at a manufacturing company. There aren't many chemists here and there is no library of chemical journals. Only on rare occasions can I justify going to chemical meetings and I just don't do that much wet chemistry anymore. One of the purposes of this blog was to force me to read the literature again, in order to know what's going on out there in the world of chemistry. So early this year I started subscribing to various journal alert emails. Every time a new issue is released I get an email with all the article titles along with links to their abstracts. Of course, if I find an article I'm interested in, I still have to drive to a nearby university in order to actually read it, but it's a start.

Unfortunately, I have not been very diligent with these alerts. At first, I read them immediately upon arrival, but as various projects began to heat up, I started putting off reading them until later. Eventually I created a "Stuff to Read" folder to store the emails to prevent them from being lost forever. Unfortunately it's gotten to the point where I immediately move them to this folder the instant they show up - whether I'm busy or not. Well today I actually opened the folder and was embarrassed to discover I had 250 unopened email alerts. Perhaps I need to cut back on the number of journals I want to track. Then again, as I think back to grad school, perhaps I wasn't all that good about reading journals then either. Does anyone else have problems keeping up with their journals?

Grad students, be sure to take advantage of your library while you've got it. You may not have it forever.

Edit: I woke up this morning to find 5 more alerts in my mailbox. Crap! I'll never catch up.


Anonymous said...

You might try contacting your alumni office. At my university, alumni can gain access to the library (including online journals/archives) for something like $50/semester. Just a thought.

Ψ*Ψ said...

I read the ASAPs every morning over coffee.
...oh, wait, that won't work for you.

I suggest you start drinking coffee. :D

Chemist Ken said...

Ψ*Ψ, I've started drinking diet coke in the morning. That seems to do the trick.

I already have 5 new alerts in my Inbox this morning. Damn!

Anonymous, thanks for the suggestion. I'll try both Missouri and Illinois.

Chemgeek said...

"Grad students, be sure to take advantage of your library while you've got it. You may not have it forever."

Nothing truer has ever been written on the blog-o-sphere!!! I have become woefully lax on my journal reading.

One reason is access. I finally have access to JACS, Org Let, and Chem Rev.. I'm glad my livelyhood does not depend on a cutting edge research program.

Recently a colleague and I devised a plan to sequester ourselves on every Friday afternoon at a local establishment with WiFi and read journals. This may be the only way to force ourselves to get into the literature again.