Central Science | March 7, 2011 Issue - Vol. 89 Issue 10 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 89 Issue 10 | p. 3 | Editor's Page
Issue Date: March 7, 2011

Central Science

Department: Editor's Page
Keywords: C&ENtral Science, blog

CENtral Science is evolving.

CENtral Science, for those of you who haven’t been paying attention, is C&EN’s blog network. At the end of 2010, one of the two CENtral Science bloggers who were not members of C&EN’s staff—Leigh Krietsch Boerner, aka Just Another Electron Pusher—left us for a science writing internship at Reuters Health. We were sad to see Leigh depart—we’ll miss her wry and sometimes quirky voice—but happy that she’s getting a shot at that career in science writing she so very much deserves.

As of March 1, two new electron pushers have joined CENtral Science, Glen Ernst and Christine Herman. Both are chemists, at very different stages in their careers, and they will bring two distinctive voices to Just Another Electron Pusher’s exploration of the trials, tribulations, joys, and general ups and downs of figuring out what kinds of nontraditional careers a person can pursue with an advanced degree in chemistry, which one of them has and the other will soon have.

You can meet Glen and Christine at CENtral Science for yourself. Glen writes, “I was recently ‘exited’ from a large pharmaceutical company due to the closure of drug discovery at the site where I enjoyed a truly wonderful run of twenty-three years as a medicinal/organic chemist.” Glen would love to find another job “in or near the lab as a medicinal chemist in drug discovery,” but he also recognizes that the pharmaceutical industry in the U.S. is changing in fundamental ways and that that course may not be open to him. As such, he’s exploring alternative careers “out of personal curiosity, yes, but also perceived necessity.”

Christine is a fourth-year grad student at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and an aspiring science writer. “I came to grad school and like many others thought I wanted to be a professor,” she writes. “When I finished my undergrad degree I realized I had more questions than answers when it came to science, and I wanted to learn more. I find the intricacies of science to be incredibly mind-boggling and fascinating, and I love seeing the connection between science and everyday life.”

Like many of us here at C&EN, however, Christine discovered that she liked communicating science better than she liked doing it. “Last semester I took my first journalism class and started building my portfolio by writing for The Daily Illini, the independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois. My goal is to keep getting writing experience as I finish up my Ph.D. in the next year or so (cross your fingers!) and then become a full-fledged science writer.”

We’ve also added an entirely new blog to CENtral Science, Transition States, anchored by Chiral Jones, who’s been blogging for over a year at the eponymous chiraljones.wordpress.com, and Sidechain Bob, who’s just getting into the blogging business. Chiral Jones is a senior chemistry major who is working independently toward the completion of the synthesis of a natural product. Sidechain Bob is a junior majoring in chemistry who is currently in his third semester in a lab working on molecular biology/peptide synthesis with the long-term goal of going into drug discovery.

Chiral Jones and Sidechain Bob will offer a new perspective for CENtral Science—one from undergraduate researchers and future graduate students. In their formal proposal for the new blog, they wrote, “Currently, or very soon, our lives will be dominated by the grad school application process. Between the application process, campus visits, talking with grad students, postdocs, and professors, it’s all new territory to us. It’s our hope to generate response, and advice for our own situations, and more important, we hope to develop a detailed account of the process, with tips, tricks, and questions we wish we would have asked, to help future batches of up-and-comers.”

So wander on over to centralscience.org and introduce yourselves to Glen, Christine, Chiral Jones, and Sidechain Bob. They’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading.

Rudy Baum
Editor-in-chief

 
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