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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: derekb.lowe@gmail.com Twitter: Dereklowe

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March 2, 2011

Now, That's An Abstract

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Posted by Derek

A reader who's attending the International Congress on Heterocyclic Chemistry in Glasgow later this year sent me a note about it. Like many such meetings, they have guidelines for presentation and poster abstracts. But this one was done by someone who's been around the block a few times.

The sample abstract is from a team from the University of Utopia (and in case you're wondering, ".ut" is apparently the internet domain for Utopia). And the authors, in a nice touch, are Black, Schwartz, Nero, Fekete, and Čzerný. (Too bad the other students in the group - Siyah, Dubh, and Musta - couldn't make it onto the list). But here's the text of the thing itself:

Two fundamentally different but complementary transition metal catalyzed chemo-, regio-,diastereo-, enantio-, and grantproposalo-selective approaches to the synthesis of a library of biologically significant nano- and pico-molecules will be presented with the focus on reaction mechanism and egocentric effects. The role of the nature of the metal, ligand, solvent, temperature, time, microwave, nanowave, picowave, ultrasound, hypersound, moon phase, and weather in this catalytic, sustainable, cost-effective, and eco-friendly technology will be discussed in detail.

If nothing else, that's about as grantproposalo-selective as it gets, right there. . .

Comments (30) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: The Scientific Literature


COMMENTS

1. J-bone on March 2, 2011 10:07 AM writes...

What? No gold catalysis?

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2. henry's cat on March 2, 2011 10:31 AM writes...

he he.

Authors of the book referenced in the sample abstract:

Einstein; Zweistein; Dreistein

Genius. Is this some wag's idea of a ninja-lol? Wonder how long it will be before a serious abstract template replaces it...

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3. Anonymous on March 2, 2011 11:00 AM writes...

They did get Svart and Noir into the references. But ref 4 is the best!

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4. MoMo on March 2, 2011 11:28 AM writes...

In this presentation all 75 topics in this "technology will be discussed in detail"-within 20 minutes.

Sign me up.

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5. BioBrit on March 2, 2011 11:52 AM writes...

What, no reference to Green?

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6. Anonymous on March 2, 2011 12:43 PM writes...

That is a terrible abstract example!!! I thought a good abstract shouldn't tell you that something "will be discussed in detail", but instead gives the reader a thumbnail sketch of the poster/paper/presentation. Publication of such abstracts are worthless, since if you weren't there to see the poster, then this abstract tells you absolutely nothing. I'm not so sure that these people have been around the block.

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7. Jon on March 2, 2011 1:21 PM writes...

Is there an equivalent of Poe's Law for the sciences? Because I can't tell if Anon. 12:43 PM is serious.

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8. Anonymous on March 2, 2011 1:27 PM writes...

I am serious. An abstract that states "we did such and such chemistry and will present details" is truly worthless to those that can't make such a meeting. Why not give a brief sketch of the details, instead of saying that results "will be discussed in detail"? Don't journal editors get on your case about such drivel? Same is true for a poster or presentation abstract. Sure, it may only be published in a proceeding book, but I've seen plenty of meeting abstracts cited. How do you verify that the citation is appropriate? Or more likely that you go looking for it in hopes to learn something, only to discover that they tell you squat since "results will be discussed in detail".

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9. Anonymous on March 2, 2011 1:41 PM writes...

I agree, it would be nice to know more about the biologically significant pico-molecules but they don't share a thing!

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10. HelicalZz on March 2, 2011 1:43 PM writes...

#8

"I am serious. An abstract that states "we did such and such chemistry and will present details" is truly worthless to those that can't make such a meeting. "

I think it is to hide that they might be infringing on my broad method patent for the Utopian "selective approaches to the synthesis of a library of biologically significant nano- and pico-molecules" Wherein I list 'The Spirit of Buckminster Fuller' as a co-inventor.

Zz

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11. johnnyboy on March 2, 2011 1:43 PM writes...

Either anonymous 12:43PM has a wickedly wry sense of humour, or he/she has the unfortunate habit of only reading the last sentence of every paragraph.

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12. DRG on March 2, 2011 2:46 PM writes...

What I'd really like to see is a green nano-organocatalytic approach to libraries of privileged natural product-like scaffolds.

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13. Anonymous on March 2, 2011 2:50 PM writes...

Someone's not getting it, and it must be a "cultural" difference, since I work in tox and am not a chemist. If you had the choice of the two hypothetical abstracts below, which one would be most useful to you as you develop compounds and want to screen against toxicity?

1) A novel antidiabetic compound, acting through the GLP pathway, was evaluated in rats and monkeys by gavage dosing for 1 month. Novel toxic effects were observed and are discussed in detail.

2) A novel antidiabetic compound, acting through the GLP pathway, was evaluated in rats and monkeys by gavage dosing for 1 month. Novel toxic effects were observed in both species and and consisted of myofiber degeneration of Type I (oxidative) myofibers. Most prominently affected was the soleus muscle. The mechanism of toxicity was considered to be on-target and due to.....

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14. Dr. Demented on March 2, 2011 3:03 PM writes...

Ummm...Anonymous? You're the one not getting it. That abstract was intended as a wicked, tongue in check, hilarious spoof that illustrated the format that actual abstracts should take. I, for one, found it to be brilliant.

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15. A-W on March 2, 2011 3:06 PM writes...

Too funny. The role of the moon phase and weather, indeed. What about sun spot cycles?

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16. anonymous on March 2, 2011 3:09 PM writes...

I recognize it as a spoof. However, should the organizers be recommending the format of "details will be discussed"??? I don't see it as value added. They could've easily written a spoof that stated specifically what moon cycles were important. If you set the bar low for format... Garbage in, garbage out.

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17. Erik T on March 2, 2011 3:09 PM writes...

The authorship of Black, Black, Black, Black and Black should perhaps give it away.

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18. Anonymous on March 2, 2011 3:51 PM writes...

I recognize it as a spoof. However, should the organizers be recommending the format of "details will be discussed"??? I don't see it as value added. They could've easily written a spoof that stated specifically what moon cycles were important. If you set the bar low for format... Garbage in, garbage out.

Farkin' magnets, how do they work?

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19. MoMo on March 2, 2011 4:15 PM writes...

Nero doesn't mean "Black". Must of been too timid and cowardly to say politically incorrect, at least in wussy circles, "Negro".

Another reason these blood-sucking-pay-for-minimal-knowledge conferences exist. Not only do they take money away from babies in the field, they are led by them.

Stay away and save your money by looking up the authors and pre-empting their vapid and rehashed presentations.

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20. milkshake on March 2, 2011 4:17 PM writes...

Black, Schwartz, Nero, Fekete, and Čzerný author list is of course a borrowing from a review spoof, about chemistry and natural occurence of porkanes (published quarter century ago in a Czech chemistry journal Chemicke Listy). I wonder if Prof. Pavel Kocovsky from Glasgow had hand in writing the sample abstract, it sounds just like his kind of humor.

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21. Jon on March 2, 2011 4:58 PM writes...

A Powerpoint-type presentation of porkanes:

http://www.5z.com/cchs/porkany/sld001.htm

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22. B on March 2, 2011 5:29 PM writes...

Methinks that Anonymous 12:43 has no sense of humour whatsoever. Speaking of egocentric effects...

And @MoMo - nero means black in Italian.

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23. Momo on March 2, 2011 5:46 PM writes...

Well Ereeeecuuuuse me. Still a time killer.

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24. biologist on March 2, 2011 6:22 PM writes...

Here's the Neuroscience equivalent:

http://neurodatabase.org/docs/Aardvark.pdf

"Arachidonic Acid Anomalously Accumulates after Archetypic Apoptosis at Aardvark Association Areas."

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25. k on March 2, 2011 8:53 PM writes...

What happened to Kuroi?

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26. Anthony on March 3, 2011 1:00 AM writes...

Shortly before reading your post, I saw the following BMJ article. I wonder how they got it past the IRB:

http://www.bmj.com/content/327/7429/1459.full

Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma related to gravitational challenge: systematic review of randomised controlled trials
BMJ 2003;327:1459 (Published 18 December 2003)

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27. schinderhannes on March 4, 2011 9:08 AM writes...

Is "Willie & Daughters" in Ref 4 PC?

ROTFLH

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28. Iroquois on March 4, 2011 10:54 AM writes...

@ Anon 12:43. You're point makes sense. Its just that its not the first thing that springs to mind when you read something tongue-in-cheek such as this.

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29. Anon 12:43 on March 4, 2011 3:42 PM writes...

@ 28: Iroquois,

thank you. You seem to be the only one that has understood my point. The particular item I was pointing out is a pet peeve of mine, and having served as an associate editor for a journal, I asked a lot of authors to rewrite the abstract of submitted papers due to using that wording.

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30. Anonymous on March 12, 2011 2:41 PM writes...

Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma related to gravitational challenge: systematic review of randomised controlled trials BMJ 2003;327:1459 (Published 18 December 2003)
Shortly before reading your post, I saw the following BMJ article. I wonder how they got it past the IRB:
Perhaps by it being the Christmas issue of the BMJ.

Or did I, too, miss the snark?

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