#RealTimeChem Week 2016 – FAQ


Hello everybody,

It’s almost that time again, time for #RealTimeChem Week! For those not in the know, #RealTimeChem Week is a 7 day event to help raise awareness of the #RealTimeChem chemistry community on Twitter and encourage as many chemists to tweet about their chemistry as possible. During the week various events, competitions and prizes are on offer, just to make it all the more fun and exciting.

If you are completely new and want to know more about #RealTimeChem in general, then following this link to the regular FAQ, where you can learn all about the project and the community.

If you don’t use #RealTimeChem all that regularly, this is the week to give it a go. Why not take some time during #RealTimeChem to share some chemistry and connect to other chemists in the world and have some fun while you’re at it?


When is it?

31st October-6th November. It runs all day for all 7 days.


How do I take part again?

Just tweet about chemistry using the hashtag #RealTimeChem. Simple as that.


So whats going on during this years event?

This year has seen the proposed addition of four brand new elements to the periodic table: nihonium, moscovium, tennessine and oganesson (due to be ratified in November). And with these additions the periodic table is now full. Row 7 is done folks! Such a big change doesn’t happen all that often and it’s been just one of a number of big changes that have occurred, and not just in chemistry, in chemistry during 2016.

From a personal perspective, I became a father for the first time this year and while asking about the community for ideas for #RealTimeChem Week this year, a theme that resonated with me was a suggestion from @nadineborduas:

As such, this year’s overall event theme is “New Elements in Chemistry” i.e. #NewElemChem – but this is not just about the periodic table’s new additions, it’s all about you. What new elements have been introduced in your life as a chemist or to your chemistry this year? Perhaps you’ve just started your life as a chemist? Maybe you’ve made some new, ground breaking discoveries? Had to learn new skills? Got new equipment or glass ware?  All the new things.

Of course the event isn’t limited to the theme, but this is just a few suggestions to think upon and will also be the subject of all #RealTimeChem Blog Carnival posts (more on that below).


#RealTimeChem Week Advert

Below you can find some banners to help you share the word about #RealTimeChem Week 2016. Designed again by the awesome Andy Brunning of @compoundinterest (www.compoundchem.com)


Plus in a few different colours:


#RealTimeChem Awards 2016 (31st October – 4th November)

Just like previous years, I will be offering awards for the best tweets during #RealTimeChem Week. The format has, again, changed a little due to circumstances and budget. This year, after noting that tweets are often quite slim on the weekend portion of #RealTimeChem week, I’ve decided to focus the awards on the 5 days of the working week, with The Great #RealTimeChem Cook off taking up the weekend slot.

So, all you have to do to potentially win a prize in the awards is tweet using #RealTimeChem on the Monday-Friday. There are three different awards available: Ag, Au and Pt. 10 awards will be given each of the five days (5 Ag, 2 Au, 1 Pt). Those winning the coveted Platinum award (5 total) will each win a prize, which is, as usual, a #RealTimeChem mug with this year’s snazzy logo emblazoned on it:


Here’s an artist’s impression of this years mug (final design pending)

Sadly, due to severe budget restrictions this year, Gold and Silver award winners don’t get a prize unfortunately, except recognition that you are, completely awesome.


The Great #RealTimeChem Cook Off (5th– 6th November) 


It’s back! Introduced last year, The Great #RealTimeChem Cook Off celebrates the perfect combination that is chemistry and cooking.

This year’s contest is sponsored by @WileyVCH‘s society chemistry journals.* Five winners will receive a ChemPubSoc Europe package containing

A copy of What’s Cooking in Chemistry: How Leading Chemists Succeed in the Kitchen
-An exclusive #chemquackers scientist rubber duck (which you can use for all your #RealTimeChem posts!)
-Other Wiley-VCH goodies!


This year’s cook off prizes

The competition only takes place on the weekend of #RealTimeChem Week. Feel free to cook something during the week, but the tweet must be shared on the weekend of November 5th-6th to count.

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

Everyone who tweets a cooking-related post using these hashtags will be entered into the competition, and 5 favourites will win a prize.

Hopefully with a bit more notice this time, you’ll all have time to get some ingredients in and post a tweet. I look forward to seeing what you all come up with!

*@ChemEurJ, @ChemistrySelect, @ChemistryOpen, @ChemBioChem, @ChemCatChem, @ChemMedChem@ChemElectroChem, @ChemPhysChem, @ChemPlusChem, @ChemSusChem,@ChemPhotoChem, @EurJIC, and Eur. J. Org. Chem (all journals of @ChemPubSoc_Euro); @ChemAsianJ, @AsianJOrgChem, and @ChemNanoMat (all journals of the Asian Chemical Editorial Society); and @angew_chem (a journal of @GDCh_aktuell).



The #RealTimeChem Week Blog Carnival – #NewElemChem (31st October-6th November)


While the primary action for #RealTimeChem Week takes place on Twitter, there is also a blog carnival that runs alongside it. Chemistry bloggers are part of a thriving community and there are some excellent writers out there just waiting for readers.

Last year, #RealTimeChem Week had a “Back to the Future” theme, resulting in some fantastic posts on #OldTimeChem and #FutureTimeChem (highlights from last year are available here at SciTechConnect).

This year the theme is “New elements in chemistry” (#NewElemChem) and here’s the brief:

Write a blog post about the new chemistry in your life or the new life in your chemistry. The key is the “new” part. Our lives in chemistry are made up of many elements, both chemically and non-chemically speaking, and this is your chance to tell the community all about it. What new reactions have you run this year? Have you had fun with new chemicals? Did you learn something mind-bogglingly for the first time? Are you adapting to a new life situation that’s affecting your chemistry? Have you just started your life as a chemist? You can answer any of these questions and more. Write as little or as much as you like and share it during #RealTimeChem Week with #NewElemChem to be part of the blog carnival.

So, if you are a blogger, write a post and share it during the Week on Twitter using the hastag #NewElemChem. The carnival this year is being kindly hosted again by Elseviers SciTechConnect (thanks Katey Birtcher!). They will be looking out for this hashtag and will collect your blog post into a round up each day so they are all in one place for easy access.

Please note, if you don’t use the hashtag, then your post won’t be included in the carnival, so please make sure you remember to add it. I’ll also be retweeting these via @RealTimeChem to draw attention to them during the week. Happy writing!


Compound Interest competition


Want a graphic made based on your research? For this year’s #RealTimeChem Week, we’re once again after chemistry researchers who want to explain their research in easy-to-understand terms. To enter, all you have to do is write a piece no longer than 500 words, detailing your work and its potential applications. Note that it should be written so it’s understandable for an audience of non-scientists!

From the submitted pieces, three will be chosen to have graphics made based on them, and these graphics will then be featured alongside your written piece on the Compound Interest site during #RealTimeChem Week, which this year runs from 31 October until 6th November.

You can find details on how to enter here.


Other events/competitions

There is always room for more chemistry-based fun. If you would like to run an event or competition during #RealTimeChem Week or to sponsor one of the above events, then please get in touch with me via realtimechem@gmail.com and I’ll be happy to chat about the possibilities.


-Doctor Galactic-





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 (http://cssp.chemspider.com/)


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-

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#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-

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“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-