djerassi debriefing

September 28, 2006 at 3:09 pm | | science and the public

Today, I had the opportunity to meet with Professor Carl Djerassi—the “father” of the pill—with a few other students. It was an informal 45-minute discussion ranging from our backgrouds, his views on where chemistry has been as a science and where it is going, his time in grad school and as a young professor in the 1940s and ’50s, and literature.

First of all, I sweartogod that he was wearing this exact outfit. He chastised chemists—as the worst among scientist—for not reading literature, not going to the theater, and not immersing themselves in culture while they immerse themselves in science; but he was forgiving. Actually, I was sorta hoping there’d be some juicy stuff to talk about, Djerassi being somewhat of a character, but he was just a nice old man with interesting views.

flory surplus

September 26, 2006 at 6:05 pm | | great finds, hardware

I think that it’s super cool whenever I find some old piece of equipment floating around the lab from labs past. Here’s a perfect example: a PMT or something from Paul Flory‘s lab.


Who knows how we got this: W.E. didn’t even arrive at Stanford until more than 10 years after Flory died. I suppose I could ask W.E. the story, but I’d rather just assume that it involved a lot of sex and espionage a la James Bond.

big duct tape

September 25, 2006 at 6:40 pm | | great finds, hardware

OK, this warrants a new category: great finds. Look at the size of this roll of duct tape I found in lab:


If regular duct tape is the most useful tool in lab and in life, then this roll is doubly useful! But actually, I can’t really think of many uses for duct tape that wide: it’s hard to handle and regular duct tape can do just about everything this roll can do.

Oh, wait! I just thought of a great purpose:


Hmmhm, hmm hmhm hmmm hmmh mmm …

electronics flea market

September 23, 2006 at 10:40 pm | | great finds, hardware, nerd, stupid technology

Sorry I haven’t written lately: I was busy at the ACS meeting, then I was the opposite on a nice vacation.

Recently, my lab took a field trip to the local electronics flea market (William joined us, and can add his own comments). It was really a blast, especially if you’re this guy:


Mostly, the stuff for sale was real junk:


but there were some good finds. W.E. bought a “broken” green laser pointer for $15, and “fixed” it by flipping the batteries to be in the correct orientation. I found a great pair of magnifying eyeglasses, which didn’t even need tape:


and William bought at decelerometer for a dollar:


So, you know, it was worth the trip.

view from ACS in San Francisco

September 11, 2006 at 6:49 pm | | conferences, news


labacus is stupidus

September 6, 2006 at 11:13 pm | | nerd, stupid technology

Hey, I know which booth I’m hanging out next to at the upcoming ACS meeting in SF.


It’s like a PDA if all you want to do is draw structures. Very helpful. And you might get a free one!

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