Friday, May 31, 2013

Angry Birds: Academia

The title is just what I think would be a thoroughly hilarious game for one's smartphone.  However, as I am a cranky postdoc (at least until early next year), I have found the franchise thoroughly helpful for those moments where I need to kill a minute or four in lab waiting for something to incubate/boil/equilibrate.

While I am tremendously interested in chemical microscopy of all sorts, various online discussions of a recent Science paper regarding AFM studies of single molecules of reactant and products reminded me of the somewhat odd excitement over "seeing" something.  Your eyes are limited spectrometers that can only deal with photons, and many don't appreciate the signal processing involved between your eye and your brain.  Now, if we could do electrons and neutrons as well, I'd be less worried about our restricted optical window.  Heh.

I keep meaning to post long overwrought thoughts about NMR, lipid bilayers, and the scurrilous treatment of valence bond theory by some people, but don't hold your breath.  Maybe once I clear my to-do list further, I'll have the cognitive energy to do so.

Question for any who might be reading - is there an opposite of "minimal publishable unit"?  When you have a ~ 15 page article in a solid journal along with another ~ 15 pages of supplementary information, maybe you want to see about splitting that work up.  Especially if you're citing the SI in the main article. 

I'll go topple over some structures now.....

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