Musings of the blog writer

Hello everybody,

It has been some considerable time since I last wrote a blog post and I’m sure many of you have been starting to wonder what has been going on this year with regards to both the blog and the status of #RealTimeChem.

With respect to the former, I’ve had a very busy year at work and at home, which hasn’t left a great deal of time for me to write any blog posts. This is a situation that I would like to remedy at an unknown point in the future as I have a great number of writing ideas. However, there are barriers preventing me from doing more writing at the present time. The most major of these is a very exciting barrier, which is my impending fatherhood. Yes folks, Doctor Galactic is due  have a mini-Doctor in the near future (hopefully by the end of this month, all things being well). During this time, I’ll be putting the blog on the back burner, although perhaps all the impending sleepless nights will inspire me?


Obviously, I have a “I am your father!” T-shirt ready just for this occasion. Hopefully, I will be an infinitely better father than ol’ Darth in this galaxy that isn’t so far, far away. 

If you’ve been following me on Twitter recently, you might have noticed that Brexit happened. I’d write about that, but I think it could swiftly turn into a rant of epic proportions. I think it’s one of the most self defeating things a country has ever done to itself, but then I’m probably part of that elitist left wing neoliberal conspiracy of pesky experts or whatever. Suffice to say there are not enough Picard facepalms in the world.

picard facepalm

All you need to know about “Brexit”.


Back on topic. With #RealTimeChem, I am blessed and grateful that the community continues to thrive without much input from me. I plan (I plan a lot you may have noticed) to get re-engaged with the project later in the year for #RealTimeChem Week 2016 (which I have already started getting asked about). This will be slightly later than last year, most likely November time. However, most of the other features of #RealTimeChem that are on the blog and ran in 2015, like #RealTimeChemInFocus, are unlikely to happen in 2016 as I had originally planned. They may or may not return.

Anyway, I thought I’d write something for a change and to let blog readers know that I am alive and I will, like James Bond, return in the future to write on this blog. I might even write some of the many things I’ve planned over the years. Just don’t mention the Brexit.


-Doctor Galactic- 




Announcing the Journal of Real Time Chemistry! 

So big news! Stupendous, marvellous, frankly insane levels of newsage. 

Today I’m proud to announce the launch of a brand new Twitter based Journal! Yes, the Journal of Real Time Chemistry (or JRTC).

I’m sure you are all astounded and amazed by this announcement and also wondering how you can submit your tweets to this new journal. Well here’s a short FAQ: 

  • What’s the journal scope? Journal of Real Time Chemistry is an international, peer reviewed, Twitter based journal covering everything and anything chemistry based! Just write about chemistry. End of. 
  • How do I submit? Easy! You just add #RealTimeChem to your tweet and its submitted. 
  • How does peer review work? You just submit your tweet & the Editor-in-chief will ask 2 (or 3…or up to 7 in cases of wild disagreements and in fighting) random members of the #RealTimeChem community what they think of it. If it’s liked, then you’re in, if not, well you’re still in, but you won’t get a “like” and that’s what you want right? 
  • How long does peer review take? Depends on when the Editorial staff gets a chance to look at their smart phones, but it’s pretty quick. 
  • Who’s on the Editorial Board? It’s a small board, I mean you can’t expect high profile academics to take time out to read your Tweets can you? So it’s mainly, uh, me, Doctor Galactic, and the Editor-in-chief. 
  • Who’s the Editor-in-chief then? A chemist who is world renown naturally. Dame Tabitha Feline of the University of RealTimeChem, pictured below in a relaxed atmosphere outside the lab.  

    Note that Dame Feline is a harsh reviewer and will more than likely ignore your tweet completely .


I think that’s all you need to know,  aside from another list of bullet points describing the main journal features.

  • Rapid publication times! Near instant!
  • Simple submission process! A touch of a button!
  • Free colour! Free black & white! 
  • No page limits! …Because there are no pages. Obviously there is the whole 140 characters thing.
  • No charges! (Despite us really needing the money)
  • Open access! No gold or green or beige, but completely open to the whole world!
  • High impact! Yes, the tweets we expect to publish will be so high impact they will knock you out of your chair. You will be crushed by its stupendously high impact factor (expected IF =42) 


Obviously, April fools! I imagine you got that already of course. 

It’s #Time4Chem

Hello everybody,

First off, apologies for the lack of updates recently. I’ve been rather busy so far this year both at work and at home so haven’t had the time to do much on the blog. I’m hoping to relaunch the major features like #RealTimeChemInFocus soon.

In the meantime, it’s no secret that I work for the Royal Society of Chemistry as a publishing editor. Generally, I’ve kept #RealTimeChem and the RSC apart, but this year I’ll be making a bit of an exception.


The RSC is the world’s oldest chemical society and is celebrating is 175th anniversary in 2016. As such, it’s going all out this year to recognise it’s history and the chemical community.

It’s hoping that everyone will take some time this year to dedicate 175 minutes to chemistry and then share your story with the rest of the community. Obviously, I know a lot of your spend near 24/7 dedicating yourself to chemistry, but this is a good opportunity to try something different that you may not have considered before.

How does this link into #RealTimeChem and social media? Well, you can share your stories via the dedicated hashtag #Time4Chem, which I’ll be keeping an eye out for this year too.

I’d greatly encourage everyone in the #RealTimeChem community to have some fun with this if you have the time this year. It’s only 175 mins (that’s, like, less than 3 hours) The possibilities of what you can do for your 175 minutes are pretty much endless, but here’s a few suggestions:

  • Take part in some education outreach – a lot of Universities have outreach departments
  • Start a chemistry podcast/youtube channel – chat about chemistry, show off some reactions or chemistry concepts, have some fun.
  • Spend some time editing wikipedia – chemistry articles can always be updated and your knowledge may be just what the world’s biggest free encyclopedia needs.
  • Start a chemistry blog – enjoy writing? Enjoy chemistry? Why not combine both together?
  • Contribute to ChemSpider Synthetic Pages (


There are many more examples on the RSC website:

Just don’t forget to let the RSC know by keeping them up-to-date with #Time4Chem.

Now in particular is a great time to start, as this week is the anniversary week and sees the start of the RSC’s 175 faces of Chemistry exhibition at Burlington House in London – so why not spend some of your 175 minutes celebrating diversity in science? It runs from 22nd February to 4th March.

More information at the link:


Ciao for now,

-Doctor Galactic and The Labcoat Cowboy-

RealTimeChemWeek Logo Smaller

#RealTimeChem Week 2015 Awards and Cook Off prize winners

Hi RealTimeChemists,

Once again I have to say a massive thank you every single chemist out there who took part in #RealTimeChem week. This community only exists because of you and it’s always great fun to witness the massive variety of chemists taking part from all over the world. It was nice to see tweet not just from regulars, but also a lot of newcomers. Welcome to #RealTimeChem I hope you enjoy your stay.

While the week event is over for another year, don’t forget that #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.

I have some very special thank yous to give out this year to the following folks:

  • Andy Brunning of @compoundchem fame. Not only did Andy design all of the graphics for this year, he also provided a really cool infographic competition of his own to celebrate #RealTimeChem Week. I look forward to working with Andy again in the future.
  • Katey Birtcher and all the folks at Elsevier’s SciTechConnect who ran the Blog Carnival this year and promoted the week. Your enthusiasm for the project has really kept me going and I loved the round ups.
  • Nicola Burton, formerly @Elements_UD now @SpaceBambee, thanks greatly for the #RealTimeChem Award badges
  • Kudos to the Royal Society of Chemistry and all my friends at work for supporting the project and also getting on board from time to time.
  • Finally, thanks to Guido Kemeling, Editor-in-Chief of @ChemSusChem, who was kind enough to organise the prizes for the The Great #RealTimeChem Cook Off. Thanks to all the other ladies and gentlemen at WileyVCH for the support as well.

With all of these out of the way, it’s time to get onto this years awards. This was, as ever, ridiculously tough because there were many excellent tweets all deserving a prize. Thankfully, I have a few more prizes to give out this time around!

Below you will find out the results. Drum roll please?




The three tweeters below all win a #RealTimeChem Week 2015 mug of their very own like the below:

Everyone loves a mug right? You can do all kinds of things with them!


From Wednesday. Brian Wagner (@drummerboy2112) is one of THE chemists to follow on Twitter in my humble opinion and this simple demonstration of Boyle’s Law using a marshmallow, a flask and some suction was arguably the most popular tweet of the whole week in terms of retweets and favourites. Science can be fun and informative both at the same time.


From Wednesday. Laura van Laeren (@lauravlaeren) strikes again, sharing a lot of great tweets throughout the week, including several pictures of her beautifully painted finger nails. However, it was her starry night flask that caught a lot of attention this year and I couldn’t ignore it’s awesomeness. Pretty colours for the win!


From Saturday. Speaking of pretty colours, it was National Chemistry Week in the US at the same time, with colours being the big theme. Emily Hardy (@EmilyEHardy) snuck in on the Saturday to show off some fantastic chemiluminescence. Really spectacular.

Don’t forget to DM me your address so I can post your prize to you.


The remaining 9 Pt Awards winners will all get a #RealTimeChem keyring like the one below:


All winners, DM me your address & I’ll post your key ring to you.

NOTE: Au/Ag award winners. Unfortunately, you don’t get a prize (except the kudos),  but thank you for taking part!


I was lucky this year to be given some extra prizes for a new competition. The first #RealTimeChem Cook off! There were quite a few entries and below you can find the 6 chosen winners.

The Grumpy Chemist (@Chemistry_Kat) 

Henrik Pedersen (@hacp81)

Victoria Stafford (@ToriaStafford)

Massimo Grillo (@MassimoGrillo63)

Tom Kuntzleman (@pchemstud)

Debbie Mitchell (@heydebigale)


All 6 of these tweeters win a copy of “What’s Cooking in Chemistry?: How Leading Chemists Succeed in the Kitchen“.

Send me your address details via DM and the folks at Wiley will send you your prize*!


*Book prizes sponsored by @WileyVCH’s society chemistry journals. These are: @ChemEurJ., @ChemistryOpen, @ChemBioChem, @ChemCatChem, @ChemMedChem@ChemElectroChem, @ChemPhysChem, @ChemPlusChem, @ChemSusChem, @EurJIC, and Eur. J. Org. Chem (all journals of ChemPubSoc Europe); @ChemAsianJ, @AsianJOrgChem, and @ChemNanoMat (all journals of the Asian Chemical Editorial Society); and @angew_chem (a journal of @GDCh_aktuell)



Well, that’s all folks. All awards are now given and #RealTimeChem Week is officially over for this year. Once more, thank you to everyone who took part. May all your chemistry dreams come true.

mischief managed

-Doctor Galactic & The Lab Coat Cowboy-

RealTimeChemWeek Logo Smaller

“The Great #RealTimeChem Cook Off” Competition


Chemistry is like cooking. Just don’t lick the spoon.

Hello RealTimeChemists,

Over the past few years I’ve noticed that many of you have shared some fantastic creations, not just from your laboratory at work, but also from your kitchen at home.

There is a very strong association between chemistry and cooking, and to celebrate this connection, I’m very happy to announce the first ever #RealTimeChem Cook off!


Don’t worry these guys aren’t going to be judging you. © BBC

Prizes for the Cook off have been kindly provided by the folks at WileyVCH* [special thanks to Guido Kemeling (E-in-C of @ChemSusChem), @ChemSusChem@angew_chem & @AsianJOrgChem). We have 6 copies of “What’s Cooking in Chemistry?: How Leading Chemists Succeed in the Kitchen” to give away. This fascinating book acts as a Who’s Who in organic chemistry, showing what top scientists like to cook.

All you have to do to enter the competition is to tweet a culinary creation (anything cooking, baking or food related) using the hashtags #RealTimeChem & #whatscooking this week. Your tweet should ideally include a short description with a picture or video of your creation (the description can even talk about the chemistry in your cooking! It’s up to you). Alternatively, you can write a recipe for others to try. 


Everyone who Tweets a cooking related tweet using these hashtags will be entered into the competition and 6 favourites will win a book. This competition runs until the end of #RealTimeChem Week 2015 (25th October) so you’ve got some time to get some ingredients in and post a tweet (I mean cake baking is such a weekend thing!). I expect many of you will have some free time to get in the kitchen on the weekend in particular, so the perfect excuse to share a little more fun #RealTimeChem and possibly win a prize. Just remember Mary Berry expects…

mary berry


If you have any questions about the competition, please let me know via Twitter (@RealTimeChem) 

-Doctor Galactic-

*Book prizes sponsored by @WileyVCH’s society chemistry journals. These are: @ChemEurJ., @ChemistryOpen, @ChemBioChem, @ChemCatChem, @ChemMedChem@ChemElectroChem, @ChemPhysChem, @ChemPlusChem, @ChemSusChem, @EurJIC, and Eur. J. Org. Chem (all journals of ChemPubSoc Europe); @ChemAsianJ, @AsianJOrgChem, and @ChemNanoMat (all journals of the Asian Chemical Editorial Society); and @angew_chem (a journal of @GDCh_aktuell)

About the #RealTimeChem Week 2015 Awards

Hi everybody,

#RealTimeChem Week 2015 is almost upon us and I’ve had a few folks on Twitter asking me about the Awards that are given out during the event. Information can be found on the FAQ like everything else about #RealTimeChem, but I thought I’d make things even clearer in a separate post.

What are the awards?

Every year I bestow awards upon my favourite contributions to #RealTimeChem Week. This year’s awards have been revamped a little with a new structure and some extra prizes for those winning the top awards.

Awards are given out each weekday with a joint weekend award giving you 6 opportunities to win.

There are three levels of award: silver, gold and platinum as shown in all their shiny goodness below:


The new award badges this year have been provided by the excellent Nicola Burton (formerly on Twitter as @Elements_UD) creator of Elements Unleashed.

Overall there will be 12 awards given each day: 6 silver, 4 gold and 2 platinum.

How do I enter?

Simple. Tweet some fantastic chemistry any time between 19th-25th October using #RealTimeChem in your tweet and you are in with a chance of winning.

Please note: While you can most certainly win multiple awards throughout the week, in the interest of fairness I try to make sure that Tweeters only win one Platinum Award during the week. This is in order to give more folks the chance to win a prize.

What can I win? 

The prizes for the #RealTimeChem Week awards do come out of my somewhat meagre pocket so unfortunately I can’t give prizes to every award winner , but everyone will each receive a PDF certificate to keep for posterity (Silver, Gold or Platinum).

Winners of the platinum awards each day will also have the chance to win the big prize as one of the top 3Tweets of the Week”. All 12 winners of platinum awards will be entered into the final running for “Tweets of the week” with the 3 winners receiving the top prize and the remaining 9 platinum award winners receiving the smaller secondary prize.

This year’s prizes are shown below and are adorned with this years logo designed by @compoundchem.

Tweets of the week top prize: 

Everyone loves a mug right? You can do all kinds of things with them!

Everyone loves a mug right? You can do all kinds of things with them!

Platinum awards secondary prize:

A snazzy keyring for the remaining 9 Pt award winners (in case you are wondering it’s blank on the back.)

If you have any other questions about the awards, please ask me on Twitter.

-Doctor Galactic-

Announcing Compound Interest’s #RealTimeChem Week 2015 competition!

Hi everybody,

I have a rather exciting announcement for #RealTimeChem Week 2015, courtesy of Andy Brunning of Compound Interest: a competition for all you research chemists out there. This is your chance to have your research turned into an info-graphic by Compound Interest and featured on the website during #RealTimeChem week.

Compound Interest’s graphics have have been featured on sites all over the world, including The Guardian, Huffington Post, Forbes, Buzzfeed, IFLS, io9, NPR, Smithsonian, Vox, The Mail Online, and Business Insider.

See below of all of the details of this great competition:


Want a Compound Interest graphic made based on your research? For this year’s #RealTimeChem Week, Compound Interest is looking for chemistry researchers who want to explain the everyday applications of their area of research. To enter, all you have to do is write a piece no longer than 500 words long, detailing the focus of your work and its relevance to non-chemists, in language non-chemists can understand.

From the submitted pieces, five will be chosen to have graphics made based on them, and these graphics will then be featured on the Compound Interest site during #RealTimeChem Week. To enter, email your 500 word piece to realtimechemweek@.

-Doctor Galactic-