5/03/2007

is it can be open thread time?

Final exams are almost over for both of us at CBC, which means less fluff posts and more chemistry in the near future.[1] Until then, though, I have a few questions for anyone who might be reading this.

Unlike many other chemistry bloggers, I'm still an undergrad. There are about 2.25 years between me and starting grad school. Unlike most undergrads, I'm in the position of having about 200 people per day, most of them chemists, read what I write.[2] These unfortunate souls These super-awesome readers also happen to be familiar with my research interests. While I already have a list compiled of literature stalking victims potential advisors, it's going to get longer before it gets shorter. (I should probably take my stalking to the next level start emailing a few people in the near future as well.)

So I'm seeking your advice in finding a few people I might be overlooking. If you know of anyone who is doing wonderful things in an interesting field, you should definitely start throwing names in my direction.[3] Alternatively, if you had a beyond-awesome graduate advisor, I'd be interested in hearing who they are as well. (Of course, if you had a terrible advisor, you're really better off not saying anything. At least not here.)

Even if you should choose to be unhelpful, here is an open thread. Do with it what you will...
We promised you kittens, right?
[1] This is fortunate. If we got any more desperate, we would have to resort to the death match. (Of course, the ninja would win anyway. Right?)
[2] Probably most of them are here to read Excimer's stuff and not mine. I know I am...
[3] Interesting to me. This means materials-related work in organic or physical chemistry.

26 comments:

Chemgeek said...

I don't have any names for you, but in making your choice don't be afraid to consider non-chemistry related items. For example, geographic location of the grad school. IF (and "if" is the operative word) all things are equal or at least comparable there's nothing wrong with deciding based on where the school is. Grad school is a great chance to live somewhere very different temporarily.

I'm not sure if I addressed the intention of your post, but it gave a great chance to not write a final or grade.

Ψ*Ψ said...

As far as location goes, I'm most interested in "not the Midwest" followed by "somewhere warm with a nearby beach." Of course, location is not my main concern.

Chemgeek said...

What's wrong with the midwest? We have very few deadly animal :)

Ψ*Ψ said...

What? You mean kittens aren't deadly?

I've lived in the same little city in the midwest for my entire life. I need to get out of here.

Paul said...

When the time comes, if you are curious about someone you think I might know a little something about, feel free to e-mail.

Mitch said...

Same goes for me. We all have friends in these labs.

Mitch

milkshake said...

What are you going to do with your cats, when you move?

Kutti said...

Do you also consider going abroad? There are some nice groups in Germany too ;-)

Excimer said...

After this last winter, "not the midwest" sounds like a pretty good idea. I made the list of people by asking my advisors who had not shitty groups. Not not-shitty research, not-shitty groups. I think it's better to have a good advisor and group on a project you're mildly interested in instead of going with a shitty advisor, on something you really like. Your attitudes on research can quickly go sour with a shitty advisor.

Ideally, you'd want both, but make sure your priorities lie elsewhere. I'm much happier here where I have a good advisor than I would be where the research was *OMG ExCiTiNg* with 40+ people research groups complete with assholes for members and advisors (not naming any names...cough).

And, for the record, los angeles is a cesspool. I grew up on the west coast- I know firsthand. UCLA is in a nicer part of town but it's still a cesspool. Then again, as my undergrad boss told me, "it's just five years out of your life. You can leave after that if you hate it." After this winter, though, he ended up being very, very wrong about that attitude.

Stu said...

Excimer - sure, LA is not one of your country's greatest cities, but a cesspool? - I beg to differ. I spent just under 9 years there... the UCLA campus is relatively nice, and west LA in general is fine. Then you've got Santa Monica (obviously where all the Brits are). Hollywood is a bit of a dump, but it's being regenerated in parts... USC is in the middle of the hood - after going to a UCLA-USC game at the Coliseum I was warned to make sure I walked in the right direction when I left the stadium... - although that being said, all my trips to USC were pleasant enough - especially watching their football team stomp all over UCLA's prima donnas...

mitch said...

USC is not in the middle of the hood, nor is LA a cesspool!

Mitch

Uncle Al said...

Job security, fat salary, big perquisites, real pension in 20 years, and a free ride for all education beyond BS/Chem. How's that?

http://www.usptocareers.gov/

The Patent Office is desperate for ambulatory degreed meat. Starting at $60K+/year, they'll put you through law school - bumps your take past $100K/year for sitting on your unfirable ass. Do your 20. Retire.

Industry pays ~$200K/year for a BS LLD patent attorney ex-USPTO Senior Examiner (10-12 years from start). Fungible people will bleed each day for your protracted happiness.

Six years of grad school nets you $nothing. How long must a nascent PhD labor until his cumulative income catches up with that of USPTO BS meat? Forever.

Ψ*Ψ said...

The cats are staying here with the man, at least for the first year or so. Thanks for the offer, Paul & Mitch, but I'm about 99% sure that neither Harvard nor Berkeley would take me. There are some killer groups in Germany, and I wouldn't mind going abroad, but it might help to at least learn the language first. Excimer...I totally warned you about the midwest, especially the winters. I am a little afraid that I'll get shot if I try to drive in LA, probably more as a result of my driving than the city.

Hap said...

I assume that's not one of your cats?

I went to grad school hoping that I could do something I liked - little else mattered at the time. I figured I wasn't going to be outside much, anyway. I couldn't drive, so I needed to go somewhere I wouldn't have to, which probably eliminated most of the Midwest because I couldn't easily visit. Of course, my years in grad school proved that crappy weather is not limited to the middle of the US.

Kutti said...

@Ψ*Ψ: If you need some support from the German side, just let me know. I would try to support you wherever I could.

milkshake said...

Ψ*Ψ: Because you have no tried.

I can describe the ridiculous way how I got admited to Harvard - it was the only school where I was sending my application and I was totally un-serious about it - so you can imagine the suprise when I got a letter from Evans asking me to come for a visit and chose them rather some other school.

I was working at a small company in Arizona and had a nice joker colleague in biology dept who lived next door. I was once dumping some thrash and beer bottles and he was walking by and said to me: "Do you want to go to Harvard?" I was sure he was trying to pull some joke on me but he exlained that there's this dude he went to a highscholl who is into some american girl and she works at foundation that Alfred Bader the guy behind Aldrich started to send 2 Czech chemists to Harvard or Columbia. But they did not have any qualified applicants in the last two years and the money was there unclaimed, they were eager to give it to someone. So I called them and it was not a joke; they said they give me the money if I get accepted. I send this letter to Harvard and took the GRE, TOEFL and had my transcript from Prague sent to them - and that was all.
(There was another ridiculous story, how they fired me but it is not related to this subject).

It is some test-score the problem?

Ψ*Ψ said...

The GRE shouldn't keep me out of anywhere...my grades are less-than-awesome, though, and my undergrad institution is very unHarvardlike.

milkshake said...

Some grad students there were so full of themselves, in Evans group (where I did a summer intern) and the the atmosphere was not easy-going at all - and overall I had a horrible time - but the research is good and the atmosphere is different in different groups.

It won't cost you anything if you application gets rejected. And grades are not everything, you can probably impress the big G. by your research and high-energy state, and the fact you took all the chemistry grad courses already as an undergrad.

Kutti said...

@milkshake: May I ask you which group you are working for?

milkshake said...

Medchem at Scripps Florida, kinase inhibitors, patiently hand-crafted one at the time, limited edition.

Hap said...

I don't know if John Rogers at Ill. does anything you would like, but he might be in the ballpark. He postdoc'd for Prof. Whitesides and worked at Lucent before they decided that actually doing research didn't make any sense. He seems like a nice guy, though I don't know how he is as a boss.

Amanda said...

My husband worked for Rogers for a bit at UIUC, and enjoyed every minute of it--From what I've seen he is a great guy to work for, both in terms of personality and research.

Kutti said...

Hmm Rogers ist the first name mentioned. Come one, throw out some real names! ;-) Don´t be so shy everybody

Daniel Sejer said...

If you like sun, beaches, relaxed working environments and that sort of stuff maybe you should check out some Australian Universities. For example Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra has some decent stuff going on. D!

milkshake said...

Do you have to wait for a boat down there, whenever you order anything from Aldrich?

Anonymous said...

excimer, stu, and mitch - *all* of southern california is a cesspool! U$C is smack in the middle of Watts - the campus is pretty much locked down to protect all the rich white kids...