The Lab Coat Cowboy rides into town 2015

Howdy,
There will hopefully be some new features added to the blog soon including an all new #RealTimeChem hub. I’m also starting up a short comic strip (I used to be an artist once upon a time)!

Anyway more news in the new year!

-Doctor Galactic-

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#RealTimeChemBannerChallenge Update!

Hi all,

So the #RealTimeChemBannerChallenge came and went. I had 3 entries from #RealTimeChemists @narf42, @theyakman and @azaprins. All very good ones, so I couldn’t really decide who should win. Then, it hit me that it might be better to run the whole challenge a different way, so…

Here is @narf42's banner, which will be up until the end of December.

Here is @narf42’s banner, which will be up until the end of December.

The #RealTimeChemBannerChallenge is now an all year event! Think of it as #RealTimeChem’s version of cover artwork, just like your favourite chemistry journals (except without any fees, ever.). 

Entries that are chosen to feature will be used as the banner (+ avatar if provided) for the #RealTimeChem feed for a whole month before being replaced with the next chosen artwork.

I will add this up to the all new 2015 FAQ that I am building at some point, but I thought I’d get it out there now.

THE NEW “RULES” OF THE #REALTIMECHEM BANNERCHALLENGE

1. Your image has got to be chemistry related. Pretty obvious I know. It can be from your latest research, something exciting, something funny, one of your most beautiful realtimechem images etc. The sky is the limit really.

2. Along with your banner you can also produce an Avatar Image – all I ask with this one is that it contains Real Time Chem in it, or no one is going to recognize it!

3. The final dimensions for the image should be 1500px (width) X 421px (height) – I’d suggest a resolution of at the very least 300 DPI or greater. In case you need any further guide on the layout you should look at this handy template I found (here).

4. In order to enter the competition please upload your entry to Twitter using the hashtag #RealTimeChemBannerChallenge. Otherwise it won’t be considered. I’m harsh like that.

5. If chosen, your artwork will be assigned to a month of the year, I’ll then let you know which month and you can send your final image to realtimechem@gmail.com.

 

I hope that some of you will chose to take up this challenge and produce some fantastic banner artwork to keep the feed looking fresh and exciting each month.  The running order so far will be as follows:

December 2014 – @narf42

January 2015 – @theyakman

February 2015 – @azaprins

March-December 2015 – Up for grabs!

 

 

-Doctor Galactic & The Lab Coat Cowboy-

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#RealTimeChemBannerChallenge

Howdy y’all,

After a spooky makeover for Halloween, the @RealTimeChem feed is back to normal, but in changing the main banner thing…wait is it a banner? It’s a “header photo”? …I don’t even care anymore it’s a banner thing…Anyway, I thought it would be nice to have a change of scenery and a bit of a healthy #RealTimeChem Brigade competition. No prizes as such except the winner gets to have their artwork displayed at the top of the Twitter profile all official-like. I also thought it would be a good way to celebrate reaching 3000 Twitter followers, which should happen any day now.

Of course, this being a competition I’ve got to set some ground rules:

RTCBlogBanner copy

THE RULES OF THE #REALTIMECHEM BANNERCHALLENGE

1. Your image has got to be chemistry related. Pretty obvious I know.

2. It’s got to be cool.  I’ll let you use your own definition of cool. But it should at least be the 1980’s definition of cool.

3. The final dimensions for the image should be 1500px (width) X 421px (height) – I’d suggest a resolution of 300 DPI or greater. In case you need any further guide on the layout you should look at this handy template I found (here).

4. In order to enter the competition please upload your entry to Twitter using the hashtag #RealTimeChemBannerChallenge. Otherwise it won’t be considered. I’m harsh like that.

Final submission date: Monday 17th November 2014

And when I say final submission date I mean final. Once it gets to Tuesday you’re out of luck. This isn’t a “journal themed issue” submission date folks.

Best of luck, really looking forward to seeing what you come up with. Also a massive thank you to everyone who has taken part in #RealTimeChem these past two and a bit years and turned it from a few lonely post docs into a world spanning community.

UPDATE: Original competition closed! BUT See most recent post about the Banner challenge  above! 

-Doctor Galactic & The Lab Coat Cowboy-

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Chemistry stars don’t shine in Science Magazine’s Twitter galaxy.

Hello everyone,

It’s been a while since I last blogged all the way back during #RealTimeChem week. A lot of interesting stuff has happened in the online chemistry world since then, in particular Science Magazine’s much debated and hugely controversial “Top 50 science stars of Twitter“. I’m a little late to write a long winded blog post on how immensely wrong this list was, but suffice to say it mostly boiled down to 1) a lack of women (4 out of 50!) and 2) zero chemists.

A galaxy of science stars. Probably more likely to find Wally than a chemist in here.

Although considering that Science Magazine has tried to rectify their original mistakes by creating a sequel to this list, which adds an extra 50 stars, maybe I’m not so late after all. If at first you don’t succeed and all that jazz. While the new list is something of an improvement in that it adds some more women into the mix, it also adds in a raft of all male economists and Brian May (who may have completed his thesis recently, but I’d hardly consider his stardom due to science).

The excellent Paige Brown Jarreau addressed the lack of women in the original list in some considerable style with her blog post response to Science Magazine’s list. It’s well worth a read, explains the situation far more succinctly than I could and is a fantastic guide to finding some of the many women who tweet about science on a daily basis (you can also check the hashtag #WomenTweetScienceToo). I maintain that a career in science (in all of it’s shapes and forms) should be open to both genders on this planet.  Anyone who disagrees with this… well, here’s a door. Please use it.

No, that white light isn't heaven, it's oblivion.

No, that white light isn’t heaven, it’s oblivion.

With respect to the second point earlier, considering the amount of time I’ve spent on Twitter conversing and interacting with other chemists via #RealTimeChem, I was rather flabbergasted by the omission of every single one of them, especially considering that there are some who are plenty more active than many of the Tweeters on Science Magazine’s so-called “Top 50″.

So, when I was approached by Lauren Wolf to be a member of a panel to choose 20 Chemists Worth Following on Twitter I jumped at the chance. Please check the link if you want to find some cool Chemists to follow. Alternatively, check out Stuart Cantrill’s somewhat larger list as well (you could also follow @RealTimeChem, but hopefully you already know about that one).

With the release of the second longer list and still a lack of any chemists, it does begin to beg the question…where are the social media stars of chemistry? Why doesn’t our branch of science have anyone with enough popularity (judging from the number of followers anyway) to make it on to this list? Why is the most famous modern chemist the average person on the street can name most probably a fictional meth peddler?

He does wear a hat well.

These are difficult questions to answer. Chemistry certainly has a well documented image problem in the wider mainstream media at the moment. An image where chemicals are more often than not instantly labelled as “bad” and big pharma is the equivalent of the stereotypical moustache-twirling evil villain of old black and white movies.

It might be that Chemistry seemingly doesn’t have the same sex appeal as other sciences such as physics, which can pull any number of fancy universe spanning subjects out of its bag of tricks.

Just look at that. Physicists have claimed the universe as their playground.

They’ve also got Professor Brian Cox, super star. A man who is so not a fan of chemistry he’s hopeful that the notion of chemistry will disappear forever to be replaced by his beloved physics.

How can we improve this situation? How can we ensure a chemist is included on any future lists of science’s social media stars?

We work harder. We shout louder. We show the world what chemistry means to us and what it should mean to human kind. We engage. We enthuse. We excite. We amaze.  

Oh… and we should probably all tweet a lot more. 

-The Lab Coat Cowboy-

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#RealTimeChem week 2014 – Tweets of the Week

Hello everyone,

First of all, thank you very much to everyone who took part in #RealTimeChem week this year. Once again it was great fun and fantastic to see such a wide variety of chemists taking part from across the globe. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in 2015!

Obviously, #RealTimeChem is a 24/7 project, so feel free to keep sharing chemistry whenever you want and engage with your fellow chemists around the world.

There were a lot of really great tweets this week as seen in this years awards. This was actually really really hard to decide on. If I had enough prizes I would have given you all one. Unfortunately, only the very best of the best can win one of this years prizes.

This years must have item for the discerning chemist.

Time to find out who has won these beauties!

RTCW2014Tweetsoftheweek

 

Below you shall find the three winners of the “Tweets of the Week” for #RealTimeChem week 2014. These three tweeters not only produced these excellent tweets, but also many more throughout the week and I think they are all worthy winners of a #RealTimeChem Week 2014 mug. Congratulations to you all!

WINNERS 

LauraJane

From Monday – this tweet from the whimsical Laura Jane (@laurajane0103) was only one of many fantastic contributions during the week. It sums up a typical day in the laboratory for many in a fun way. It’s what #RealTimeChem is all about and was a great way to start the week.

 

Andres

From Tuesday – this polyurethane strawberry milkshake almost looked good enough to drink! Andres Tretiakov (@Andrestrujado) shared a whole host of wacky, fantastic and exciting chemistry during the week and any one of them could have won a Platinum award, but I try not to give out more than one to any contributor!

 

JohnGrimes

 

From Wednesday - food was a big theme of #RealTimeChem week this year and I’m definitely a fan of cooking (even if I’m not that good at it). John Grimes (@jgrimesjr) shared quite a range of tweets over the week, but my favourite was this close up tweet of a delicious looking peanut butter-y product. It could also be the clouds of a gas giant! Either way I love the texture in it and I also really appreciate the humour with which the tweet was delivered, chemistry often looks better than it smells!

 

 

So there you have it. If all three winners could please send me a DM on twitter with their address as soon as possible and I’ll get that prize out to you.

Once again thank you to everyone who took part in #RealTimeChem week 2014. I hope you had fun, learned something new and found some new connections in the chemistry world.

mischief managed

-Doctor Galactic & The Lab Coat Cowboy-

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Things to do during #RealTimeChem week 2014

RTCWeekBannerInternational2So #RealTimeChem week 2014 is upon us!

 

Tweet some chemistry with #RealTimeChem

Obviously the first thing you can do is take part in #RealTimeChem week by actually tweeting what you are up to in the world of Chemistry using the hashtag #RealTimeChem.

You could even win an award in the #RealTimeChem awards, with the possibility of winning a #RealTimeChem week 2014 mug (very rare indeed!).

Join in with #RealTimeChemCarnival.

RealTimeChemCarnival2014

If you have a blog and are thinking of posting something this week then consider taking part in the blog carnival, which is kindly being hosted by @JessTheChemist at The Organic Solution. Just make sure you use the hashtag #RealTimeChemCarnival so that Jess can add you to the list.

If anyone is looking for blog posts to read this week, you can obviously search on twitter for the hashtag.

Have some fun with “chemistsholdingmolecularmodels“.

chemistsholdingmolecularmodels

Have a bit of fun by uploading a picture of yourself (I believe this is what all the hip people call a selfie) holding a molecular model. This just looks like a fun little project. I wonder how many chemists and structures this can collect over time?

Just let me know when you’ve uploaded your picture by sharing with #RealTimeChem.

Draw some #Freehandrings

This was rather popular last time. So why not have a go at challenging your fellow chemists to a game of #Freehandrings. No prizes for this one, except some minor internet fame as everyone marvels at your amazing ring drawing prowess.

 

Try @azmanam’s #ChemDrawChallenge!

Azmanam, creator of #RealTimeChem, has challenged the community to help improve the design of well known mechanisms. Dare you try to take him on?

Anything else? 

If you have a chemistry related project that you’d like highlighted during #RealTimeChem week, then let me know and I’ll add it up here for people to find.

 

-Doctor Galactic & The Lab Coat Cowboy-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tweets of the week prizes! #RealTimeChem Week 2014

Hello all,

As you may recall last year I gave away some ChemSpider Lab Coats as prizes for the “Tweets of the Week”, which were kindly donated by the RSC. This year I’ve splashed out a little and got some #RealTimeChem branded mugs to give away to the top three Tweeters.

This years must have item for the discerning chemist.

This years must have item for the discerning chemist.

For information on how you can win a mug of your very own, check out the FAQ, which tells you all about the “RealTimeChem Awards” and how they work.

So make sure you tweet something fantastic next week for #RealTimeChem week 2014, which starts on 23rd June.

Good luck!

-Doctor Galactic & The Lab Coat Cowboy-

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