I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees…

While flipping through yesterday’s issue of Nature, I came across the special report on toxicology/toxicologists in the Naturejobs section… After struggling to get that infernal Britney Spears song out of my head, I read through the article, which really made toxicology sound like an interesting career…

Ricki Lewis wrote that a “career in toxicology might take a scientist to a contaminated well, a crime scene, a courtroom, an analytical chemistry lab or a political hearing” and “it isn’t uncommon for a seasoned scientist to have spent time in academia, industry and government, and finish with private consulting.” Considering how successful shows like CSI and Numb3rs are, I’m a bit surprised that no one’s produced a prime-time TV drama starring toxicologists (I can see it now – EPA: Risk Assessment Unit…)

There’s also a nice News & Views article by Robert Crabtree on a recent Science paper from the Goldman and Brookhart laboratories – in the presence of an iridium catalyst and a Schrock metathesis catalyst, the authors reported that a tandem alkane dehydrogenation/olefin metathesis reaction could be used to elongate inert hydrocarbon chains (technically, it’s a tandem alkane dehydrogenation/olefin metathesis/alkane hydrogenation reaction, but that’s a bit of a mouthful…)

The authors hope that this system could be used “”http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=0000F6F4-B7D4-143E-B7D483414B7F0000">turn coal, leftover oil refinery products or even plants into diesel fuel and other functional hydrocarbons." But Professor Brookhart acknowledged that “”http://www.unc.edu/news/archives/apr06/brookhart041106.htm">considerable improvements in the catalyst systems are required before they become practical."


Joshua Finkelstein (Associate Editor, Nature)