Henry Rzepa's Blog Chemistry with a twist

October 24, 2011

Science publishers (and authors) please take note.

I have for perhaps the last 25 years been urging publishers to recognise how science publishing could and should change. My latest thoughts are published in an article entitled “The past, present and future of Scientific discourse” (DOI: 10.1186/1758-2946-3-46). Here I take two articles, one published 58 years ago and one published last year, and attempt to reinvent some aspects. You can see the result for yourself (since this journal is laudably open access, and you will not need a subscription). The article is part of a special issue, arising from a one day symposium held in January 2011 entitled “Visions of a Semantic Molecular Future” in celebration of Peter Murray-Rust’s contributions over that period (go read all 15 articles on that theme in fact!).

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July 12, 2011

Computers 1967-2011: a personal perspective. Part 3. 1990-1994.

In 1986 or so, molecular modelling came of age. Richard Counts, who ran an organisation called QCPE (here I had already submitted several of the program codes I had worked on) had a few years before contacted me to ask for my help with his Roadshow. He had started these in the USA as a means of promoting QCPE, which was the then main repository of chemistry codes, and as a means of showing people how to use the codes. My task was to organise a speakers list, the venue being in Oxford in a delightful house owned by the university computing services. Access to VAX computers was provided, via VT100 terminals. Amazingly, these terminals could do very primitive molecular graphics (using delightfully named escape codes, which I learnt to manipulate).

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March 8, 2011

Monastral: the colour of blue

The story of Monastral is not about a character in the Magic flute, but is a classic of chemical serendipity, collaboration between industry and university, theoretical influence, and of much else. Fortunately, much of that story is actually recorded on film (itself a unique archive dating from 1933 and being one of the  very first colour films in existence!). Patrick Linstead, a young chemist then (he eventually rose to become rector of Imperial College) tells the story himself here. It is well worth watching, if only for its innocent social commentary on the English class system (and an attitude to laboratory safety that should not be copied nowadays). Here I will comment only on its colour and its aromaticity.

Copper phthalocyanine

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December 7, 2010

Data-round-tripping: wherein the future?

Moving (chemical) data around in a manner which allows its (automated) use in whichever context it finds itself must be a holy grail for all scientists and chemists. I posted earlier on the fragile nature of molecular diagrams making the journey between the editing program used to create them (say ChemDraw) and the Word processor used to place them into a context (say Microsoft office), via an intermediate storage area known as the clipboard. The round trip between the Macintosh (OS X) versions of these programs had been broken a little while, but it is now fixed! A small victory. This blog reports what happened when such a Mac-created Word document is sent to someone using Microsoft Windows as an OS (or vice versa).

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September 7, 2009

(Hyper)activating the chemistry journal.

Filed under: Chemical IT,Interesting chemistry — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — Henry Rzepa @ 11:42 am

The science journal is generally acknowledged as first appearing around 1665 with the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society in London and (simultaneously) the French Academy of Sciences in Paris. By the turn of the millennium, around 10,000 science and medical journals were estimated to exist. By then, the Web had been around for a decade, and most journals had responded to this new medium by re-inventing themselves for it. For most part, they adopted a format which emulated paper (Acrobat), with a few embellishments (such as making the text fully searchable) and then used the Web to deliver this new reformulation of the journal. Otherwise, Robert Hooke would have easily recognized the medium he helped found in the 17th century.

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August 31, 2009

The Fragile Web

Filed under: Chemical IT — Tags: , , , , , , — Henry Rzepa @ 11:35 am

One of the many clever things that clever people can do with the Web is harvest it, aggregate it, classify it etc. Its not just Google that does this sort of thing! Egon Willighagen is one of those clever people. He runs the Chemical blogspace which does all sorts of amazing things with blogs.

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