Monday, May 6, 2013

Blogging Chemists; Everyone is Doing It? (#Chemistry)

You wouldn't be surprised to know that I sometimes find myself in circles of chemists. In those circles, when I mention the fact that I've started blogging, the first thing I hear is "Did you you know that Michelle Francl has a blog?" Indeed, she was the first person I asked about how to do this right! (All of the blame for my mistakes, though, go entirely to me.) Ever since I met Michelle, I've been priviledged to see how quickly she adopts new cyberenabled technologies to communicate her science. She was among the first (if not the first) of us to podcast chemistry lectures. She's maintained chemistry blogs for nearly a decade. Check her out at Culture of Chemistry and on posts at the Sceptical Chymist. (One blog isn't enough for her!)

This naturally leads to the question as to which other chemists blog? Paul Bracher maintains ChemBark that is certainly a blog (and a very good one at that!), but is also part wiki through its comments and re-editing. He'll be starting a faculty position at Saint Louis this fall. A group of chemists aggregate their posts at Chemistry Blog. One of their Staff Bloggers, Kenneth Hanson, is starting a faculty position at Florida State this Fall. In one series of posts, he's currently recounting the process of securing a chemistry faculty position. Though it's "obvious" for us insiders, it is evidently not so for would-be professors. Hanson is leveling the playing field through this series of mentoring posts. It's perhaps not surprising that this new generation is experimenting with social media as a way to advance their science! 

Beyond trailblazing senior faculty members, like Michelle, I'm also curious about the extent to which others are jumping into this pool. Among my own colleagues, Andrew Lyon maintains a blog embedded within his group's website. David Scholl does the same. Of course, most colleges and universities are now paying their press teams to maintain these dissemination channels. So perhaps blogging is the new normal for chemists?! 


  1. Rigoberto:
    I had a blog which I was pretty faithful to for a few years but could not keep with: Your starting a new one has made me want to return to mine as well.

    1. I would echo Rigoberto...even when it's sporadic, if you enjoy the writing, do it. And keeping the material accesible is of value particularly to students and to high school teachers. And even when communications teams are happy to showcase science (as mine at Bryn Mawr is), you definitely get a different perspective from the practicing scientist.