About this Author
DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got 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's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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« Publish Your Work The Easy Way | Main | New Year - I Hope! »

December 23, 2008

Holiday Break

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Posted by Derek

Posting will be intermittent around here until after January 1st. I'm going to be doing various important tasks at home, such as wrapping presents and making another chocolate pecan pie for folks who didn't get any the last time around. There's also some snow to be shoveled, particularly if I want to get the telescope out during this period of new moon. There's 15 to 20 inches out there on the ground, which is not much of a stable surface for the equatorial platform to sit on, nor do I relish wading through it while hauling the telescope tube itself.

My workplace is very quiet indeed today, I can report, and later on I'll be doing my part to keep it that way. I suspect it's the same across a lot of labs today and for the next few days, and that's a good thing. It's impossible to have good ideas when you're grindstoning away the whole time; you need to clear your head every so often and take a look at what you're actually doing versus what you should be.

This is one of the only times when sleeping late and eating pecan pie come under the heading of "clearing one's head", so I'm going to take full advantage of it. I hope that many of you can do the same!

Comments (19) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Blog Housekeeping


1. Anon on December 23, 2008 10:18 AM writes...

Thank-you very much for your insights and observations this year, and for nucleating several interesting discussions between myself and my colleagues. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.

All the best for 2009.

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2. Chemgrad on December 23, 2008 10:39 AM writes...

Schöne Weihnachten und einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr!

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3. toxchick on December 23, 2008 11:06 AM writes...

Happy Holidays Derek, I'll miss your blog!


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4. toxchick on December 23, 2008 11:06 AM writes...

Happy Holidays Derek, I'll miss your blog!

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5. Dan Howitt on December 23, 2008 12:18 PM writes...

There's also some snow to be shoveled, particularly if I want to get the telescope out during this period of new moon. There's 15 to 20 inches out there on the ground, which is not much of a stable surface for the equatorial platform to sit on, nor do I relish wading through it while hauling the telescope tube itself.

That's devotion!
Dan Howitt

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6. retread on December 23, 2008 12:18 PM writes...


Merry Xmas and happy New Year. It's remarkable (to me) how you pump out such high quality stuff day after day. I've got to wait until the literature throws something up on the beach for me to scavenge.

Suggestion for some (unrelaxing) reading over the holidays -- "A Different Universe" by Robert B. Laughlin. As chemists we've all had some exposure to quantum mechanics, at least enough to see how the quantum numbers for atoms come out of the solutions to the Schrodinger equations.

This book, by a Nobelist in solid state physics, is also about quantum mechanics. It is not at all mathematical, but you will feel you're on another planet, despite your background. I found it nearly incomprehensible. Are there any smart people out there who can explain it?

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7. Hap on December 23, 2008 12:33 PM writes...

Have a nice break. I will have a real break when munchkin ceases needing to be fed during the wee hours, which is unlikely to be a Christmas present. At least she eats.

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8. Wavefunction on December 23, 2008 12:38 PM writes...

With reference to Retread: Incidentally I am also reading this gem of a book currently. I have to agree; it's one of the deepest books I have come across and I am struggling to understand it. Laughlin is one smart guy, that's for sure.

An easier to read and entertaining book I just picked up is Leonard Susskind's recent "The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics"
Augment this with "Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's outrageous Legacy" by Kip Thorne and you have some comprehensive black hole science to keep you entertained over the holidays.

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9. Santas Ghost on December 23, 2008 2:45 PM writes...

Happy Holidays Derek!:)

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10. Spark Gap on December 23, 2008 3:48 PM writes...

Merry Christmas, Derek!

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11. KC on December 23, 2008 6:07 PM writes...

My lab is effectively shut down. We did our annual deep-clean yesterday, secured all our waste, and then pretty much locked up. But that's not to say you or I are done doing chemistry for the year - just now we get to eat the experiments. ;)

Thanks for 2008! Your blog's been a great read as always!

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12. Chemjobber on December 23, 2008 9:38 PM writes...

Best wishes, Merry Christmas and a Happy (and hopefully well-employed) New Year!

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13. Harvey Burger on December 26, 2008 3:57 PM writes...

Happy Holidays
Can you provide an update on my awful tenure?


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14. Swapna on December 28, 2008 10:22 PM writes...

Saw this just today.

Nature Chemistry, finally.

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15. Sili on December 31, 2008 4:58 PM writes...

I'd missed you're an amateur astronomer. Nifty!

Happy New Year!

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16. Anonymous on January 1, 2009 2:44 AM writes...


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17. Zemyla on January 1, 2009 1:28 PM writes...

As a chemist, do you cook regular foods differently from normal people? I'm interested in your chocolate pecan pie recipe.

And happy new year from a big fan of yours, especially your "Things I Won't Work With" series!

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18. Hap on January 1, 2009 5:25 PM writes...


See "How slow is research today? Here's a recipe!" (Derek's post of November 26, 2008) for the chocolate pecan pie recipe.

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19. Anonymous BMS Researcher on January 2, 2009 7:25 PM writes...

Yes, the pie recipe is a good one:

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