Saturday, November 25, 2006

Spinning side band spectrometry

It is very frustrating when machines are down. Sometimes you can see perfomance decline over a period, and it has to be really bad before it is fixed.

We had a problem with our NMR this week. The magnetic field homogeneity got worse within a few days resulting in the same spectrum for all our compounds : 9-0 ppm, multiplet, all H's. One TMS peak became three, and after a week we couldn't count the number of TMS peaks anymore.
We are so lucky it got so bad. The manufacturer came yesterday and fixed the problem after a day kicking the magnets and a few hours of shimming.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Top 5 chemistry relics

Draft for the first version of the periodic table, February 17, 1869
Oesper Collection, University of Cincinnati, USA

Models of assymmetric molecules, 1874
Museum Boerhaave in Leiden, the Netherlands

"Photo 51" Sodium deoxyribose nucleate from calf thymus, Structure B, May 2, 1952
Oregon State University's Special Collections, USA

Mercury gasometer, used to identify chemical properties of oxygen, 1774
Musée des arts et métiers - Cnam, Paris, France

Original botlle of mauve dye, 1856
Science Museum London, UK
This sample is most likely not the real first sample; "it cannot be earlier than 1862"

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

For the kids.

For the kids there are some cuddly toys available here. E-coli, Hepatitis, Black Death or one of these. Very nice for your kids to have in bed. Sweet dreams.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Some aqueous solution

The most horrible aqueous solution we have is the dark rubbish from some dispensing robot. People refer to this solution as coffee. Lack of something decent makes me drink this stuff about a litre a day resulting in headaches and trembling limbs. Trying to find out what it is that I poison myself with, I did a LCMS analysis of it.

click pic for larger view

It turned out that caffeine gave a dominant peak in the chromatogram, and was the only peak with a clear MS-spectrum.

It will not surprise me if our boss just wants to make sure we work as fast as possible.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Kill your project ASAP

This month Nature Reviews Drug Discovery contains an article about Tufts CSDD Impact Report. Bayer, AstraZeneca, Allergan, Boehringer Ingelheim and Merck turn out to be the speed-demons of pharmaceutical industry.

"These five companies, according to the report "deliver as much as a 17-month speed advantage over average performers"."

The reason is clear why other are so slow.

"Decisions still tend to be made at the highest possible level, which means decision-makers have less insight into what people are working on. Project teams go to the decision-makers fighting for their compounds as much as possible, and are reluctant to give up on their project, in the hope that a project will succeed through perseverance. This makes it easy for projects to run beyond the point where the team knows they are not going to work."

Wow.. What a conclusion… We all knew that already. This is how it works in all industries, and in politics as well.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Who is who in chemicals and labware

Could not find H. Vigreux, E.W. Dean and D. D. Stark

Alfred Nobel / Chester Fischer / John Baker / Irénée du Pont / Gilbert Lewis
Johannes Brønsted / Hugo Schiff / Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson / Louis Fieser / Paul Ehrlich / Erhard Mettler
Richard Perkin / Charles Elmer / Russel Varian / Warren Gilson / Walter Büchi
Friedrich Beilstein / Sir William Perkin / Arnold Beckman / Robert Bunsen / Justus von Liebig

Georg Büchner / Wilhelm Schlenk / Emil Erlenmeyer / Sir James Dewar / Ludwig Rainer Claisen

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Mr. Vigreux

Henri Vigreux gave his name to a piece of glassware, biographic facts are unfortunately hard to find.. Vigreux, a glassblowing chef from Paris, published a book about their instruments in 1920; Le soufflage du verre dans les laboratoires scientifiques et industriels
Browsing through the book I see nice equipent I would like to have in my shed to prepare my own mooshine.

Some illustration represent glassware that makes me wonder what it is used for. Unforntunately my French is far from perfect, and my fluently French speaking wife is not prepared to translate the 280 pages of instrument descriptions.

Looking at all the glassware in this book I realize how spoiled we are in industry. Specific glassware becomes a rarity on our labs. The last vigreux I touched was last year, cracking dicyclopentadiene wich was the last destillation I did as well. You have to search the whole building for a complete destillation-set on the right scale. There is some mini-scale glassware that becomes mouldy and almost starts to decompose We are so spoiled we buy dry solvents, stored under nitrogen on molsieves. Ground-glass jointless glassware can nott be found here. Reagents like diazomethane are almost prohibited, we need 523 signatures and fill in 735 forms to be allowed to use such reagents. Apart from LDA we buy everything that can be made easily, because we have the presumptuous idea that our time is more expensive than the commercial reagents. It is a miracle we are able to synthesize anything at all.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Who is who in pharmaceutical industry

Adolf von Baeyer/Charles Pfizer/John Smith/Mahlon Kline

Ernest Solvay /Albert Boehringer /Robert Johnson/Edward Johnson

Fritz Hoffman-La-Roche/Wallace Abbot/Eli Lilly/John Wyeth/Chobei Takeda I

William Bristol /John Myers/Edward Squibb/Emanuel Merck/Ernst Schering

in vivo pH measurement


Organic Chemistry : An Intermediate Text 2Nd Ed.
by Hoffman, Robert V.
Publication: Hoboken, N.J John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (US), 2004.