Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Potpourri: MegaMan, Lab Coats, More Worms

Please excuse my general lack of posting. When "Big Work Project" finally wraps, I'll have a bit more time for chemistry frivolity. In the meantime, how about a little collection of  almost-posts to help you into your weekend?

--

Faculty Fun: Maintaining a list of faculty moves can be tedious, but sometimes you find little gems on group pages. For example, Jeff Rinehart's group at UCSD will study magnetic materials. The logical mascot? A MegaMan master robot! (Vittorio would be so pleased...)

--

Last month, thought-provoking Chemistry World columnist Philip Ball wrote about white lab coats as badges of professional scientific stature. You may recall that one of my first posts here at JLC referred to the many ways in which such a white coat could be spoiled. I'm not exactly certain why - supplier availability, fire resistance, styling, cheaper? - but chemists in some younger synthetic organic chemistry groups seem to prefer blue lab coats.
Need evidence? Click below:

Phil Baran group
Stephenson group
Meek group
Shenvi group

(Readers: Know of more indigo-hued groups? Please mention in the comments)
--

Finally, for fans of vermisynthesis (who isn't?), you may notice that the chemblogosphere is giggling about this recent Tetrahedron paper on catalytic earthworms. Quintus points back to a 2014 PLoS One, but how far back have chemists truly considered the lowly earthworm as synthetic feedstock? Professor Leonardo Santos of the University of Talca, Chile, has investigated bioreduction of beta-carbolines since at least 2013. Perhaps he was inspired by the work of Kohji Ishihara, who published similar reductive behavior in cell-free worm extracts back in 2006. And both should potentially thank D.Q. Keiline, a reference in Ishihara's manuscript, who back in 1920 published "On the pharyngeal or salivary gland of the earthworm," which portended some of the proteolytic enzymes found therein.

Worm salivary glands (s.gl. in picture). You're welcome.
Source: Keiline, 1920

Tangentially, it's worth noting that an engineer in Colombia recently commercialized "biofilters" made of (living) earthworms, which clean organic solids from waste water. Seems someone should take a harder look at the potential catalytic goldmines wriggling underfoot.

Happy, squirmy Friday, everyone!
See Arr Oh

20 comments:

  1. Re: Labcoats
    I know for a fact that the entire chemistry department of Columbia university is supplied by the department with light blue lab coats, white is not an option unless you go out of your way to order your own.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wengryniuk Group - Must be a Baran thing (https://sites.temple.edu/wengryniuklab/files/2014/11/IMG_1545.jpg)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Princeton Chem Dept issues blue lab coats, with monographed names, and wearing them is mandatory/actually somewhat monitored.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll second that everyone is given blue coats with their names on it; however, wearing them is mandatory in name only (walk through a certain big synthetic group right now and you'll see many at the bench in shorts and flipflops w/o labcoat). There are only a few labs that are really compliant, and that is because they have safety officers that actually care; the department couldn't care less.

      Delete
  4. Harvard Chem wil distribute the blue lab coats if you want fire resistant lab coats, but they aren't the standard issued (white).

    ReplyDelete
  5. Blue at Pittsburgh as well--the Wipf group anyway.

    Well, anything's better than the fad of Goth Black or (heavens forbid) Hippie Tie-Dye.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As many have stated below, a move to blue was specifically done for the FR qualities after the tragedy in the Harran lab. Several models of lab coats were tested in house for FR and nomex won out.

      Delete
  6. All fire resistant lab coats that I know of are blue. Many universities are making it mandatory to have (more expensive) FR coats, and many groups and now starting to considering them to be essential PPE after hearing about recent chemistry lab fires.

    ReplyDelete
  7. As was said above, I think the popularity of the blue lab coats comes from the fact that the flame resistant nomex coats are all blue.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The entire UC system moved to blue fireproof lab coats last year.

    ReplyDelete
  9. We asked our university department to carry Nomex lab coats last year. They refused, even though they are legally mandated PPE in Canada when handling pyrophoric material.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Nicolaou group at Rice are also (mostly) in blue: http://nicolaou.rice.edu/members.html That's definitely *not* a University requirement.

    ReplyDelete
  11. All blue at Cornell

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sngxb-1jTRc

    ReplyDelete
  12. Blue coats are used in the (very large) UT Austin undergraduate lab program. Some of the research groups are using them, too.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Seen a lot of blue in Harvard

    ReplyDelete
  14. Here at Anonymous Discount Contract Lab, chemists get white coats and biologists get blue (polyester, I think--my label's faded beyond legibility). Go figure.

    ReplyDelete
  15. At my university (based in Germany) PhD students dont have to wear lab coats (just students in lab courses). This is not the case at every university but i enjoy it. Nobody wants to wear one of these thick lab coats in summer just for column chromatography but of course everyone will choose to wear the right protective equipment when things get more risky.
    To answer the question: Only white coats here.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Every group at MIT wears blue labcoats (light or royal). Also, the notion that people are not wearing lab coats in a synthetic lab is terrifying. In most labs I've seen here, that is strictly forbidden and heavily enforced, as it should be.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Same at UIUC: blue ones from the stockroom are fire-resistant, but white ones are not. Everyone seems to have forgotten the use of holding a flask of chemical up to your white sleeve to check its true, unadulterated colour. I use the same white coat I always have... it's not FR though :/

    ReplyDelete
  18. Great article with excellent idea! I appreciate your post.


    samadhan agrotech

    ReplyDelete