Friday Chill-Out – May Contain Librarians

Look away now if you’re a serious researcher who doesn’t want to be distracted from your career goals or job search.

Still with me? Thought so. As I’m also easily sidetracked, and very partial to the odd geeky video, I thought I’d embed this gem which I re-tweeted yesterday.

It’s courtesy of @research_inform, the twitter feed of the Research Information Network. When they’re not focusing on “understanding and promoting the information needs of researchers”, they’re obviously trawling the web for stuff to keep you from what you should be doing, for which I’m very grateful.

If you too have been affected by anything in this video and want some more geek-stuff in your life, have a look at the posts I’ve categorised under Geeky Videos (and any of your favourites always welcomed)

Is The Chemical Industry Dying?

This is a question which should be bothering you if you’re thinking about working in R&D, engineering, patents or other technical or business functions in fine or bulk chemicals, the pharmaceutical industry, the environmental sector, petrochemicals, food, brewing, polymers, nanotech …

In other words, it could affect a lot of postgrads – and of course, there’s no easy answer to the question.

The best way I’ve found to keep up to date with what’s happening in the chemical industry is to follow the “The Commercial Chemist” posts in the Chemical World blog from the RSC.

commercialchemist

In the most recent post, I’ve learnt that:

  • Merck are due to shed 15,000 jobs worldwide now that the Schering-Plough merger is complete
  • Novartis is planning to build the largest R&D institute in China, increasing jobs from 160 to over 1000
  • Ineos Bio is doing a feasibility study into a new bio-energy plant in the North East
  • Shell is cutting 5,000 jobs (though they are still currently looking for new postgrads – see recent tweet for details)
  • Cost savings at Rhodia have led to increased 3rd quarter profits (up year on year by 19.5%) on reduced sales (down 15% year on year)

There’s a new update every Friday, plus lots of other chemical content in between.

For instance, you can watch a student “singing” all the elements of the Periodic Table, in order to a Russian folk melody – though I admit I prefer the old standard :

Courtesy of Harvard academic, Tom Lehrer. It dates back to 1959 which is why there are some elements missing, including the latest new element on the block, Copernicium.

In Case The World Ends On Wednesday…

I’m away at a conference at the moment (learning about all the latest developments in postgraduate and researcher careers – more of that later) but in case we all implode in a black hole before I get back, here’s something to explain why it’s worth the risk. 

If you want to know more, you could always get this week’s Radio Times, where our own Prof Brian Cox maintains his reputation as the coolest academic in the university (at least for those who think that people under 20 still use words like “cool”) by using a word which the Radio Times deems so shocking, it has to substitute some of the letters with asterisks (well, the magazine has been going since 1923 and still caters for its original readers).

When Geeks Relax …

Pathways has now been and gone, and I’m sure I’ll be in a fit state to give you some highlights … in a few days, once I’ve recovered.

In the meantime, I’ve discovered that our new Careers Consultant, Sonja, has an extra talent – feeding me fun stuff from the web. She apologised for this being a bit geeky, but as I’ve just been chilling out, post-Pathways, by analysing careers stats (ie doing sums for fun), geeky is fine by me.

So, for anyone who’s been sitting or marking exams, or who can remember the traumas, here’s that disco masterpiece, “I Will Derive” :