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Author's profile photo John Harrison

Thing’s I won’t work with:…

Have you seen this blog by Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, who obtained his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He has worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases.

He writes about a number of topics, mostly to do with some serious issues in the chemical field.

However he has a funny side. Check out this series of blogs on ‘Things I won’t work with:..” at

I like  they way he describes the reactions and why he (we) should not work with these compounds. In one case Things I Won’t Work With: Chlorine Azide

I got a real chuckle about the protective gear that was need in 1943 research on this compound.

“.masks and breast-plates of sheet iron worn by observers during times of danger. Each mask is provided with a rectangular pane (7 x 3 inches) of shatter-proof glass. Although scores of violent detonations have occurred, with resultant demolition of much apparatus, no personal injury has been suffered”

And his comment “That last part is sort of a “no graduate students were maimed during the course of this research” statement” made me regret I was drinking tea at the time of reading. But it was a way to clear my sinus.

You’ll be amused (I hope) at some of his comments. But I will leave you the pleasure of reading them yourself. Do you agree with his list of stuff not to work with?

As a side note, for some time now, I have been posting on topics that interest me, and I hope interest you. And I am wondering if you find them of value. If you are finding them valuable, could you please remember to “follow” me

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