13 Juni 2007


...Okay, technically it was yesterday.

...Okay, technically there wasn't snow.

But the power was out (sucks for anyone who had a pump running... say, like someone with a glove box) so we couldn't really do anything for awhile, so it was sort of like a snow day. Basically, there were two different modes that people occupied: standing around and drinking coffee, or sitting around... and drinking coffee. It was great:

While we were waiting for the power to come on, one of the group members, Ph. D. student Hannes Vitze, asked me for advice on wording for his presentation (to occur later that day). The working language is indeed English as English is quickly becoming (if not already) the standard language of chemists worldwide. He wanted to describe future work with his silanes (which are silicon compounds somewhat analogous to carbon alkanes), specifically to add sterically demanding substituents. His original word choice was "explode" which I explained was perhaps not the best word due to the other connotations of the word. Thus, he suggested "pimp" as in to "pimp up" his compound. David, standing behind us, then did a rendition of the show with the appropriate analogous statements substituted in. Imagine a world where Xzibit went around and helped chemists to pimp out their compounds. A strange world indeed.

Hannes kept the descriptor.

So here's a little explanation of scorpionates, though I have yet to work with any specifically, and in fact, I might be working with metalloborotranes instead. But, they have a neat sounding name as well as chemistry and application, so I'll proceed.

Scorpionates were invented by Swiatoslav Trofimenko ("Jerry" to his friends) in the mid 60's while he was working at DuPont. The more systematic name would be polypyrazolylborates, meaning that they consist of N-bonded pyrazoles to the tetracoordinated boron center, yielding an anionic species. The pyrazoles form the coordinating sites to a metal, and in fact, are the reason for the name of the class of compound: two of the pyrazoles (called pseudo-equatorial) latch on to a metal, forming the two pincer-claws of a scorpion (here, "pincer" describes the individual claw, not the manner in which the scorpionate binds to a metal). The remaining pyrazole (the pseudo-axial one) forms the stinging tail. Where all three coordinating moieties are the same yields a homoscorpionate, and where the tail moiety is different yields a heteroscorpionate.

Their other properties, in summary (and compared to the ubiquitous Cp or cyclopentadienyl ligand):
1. Are nominally tridentate, six electron donating ligands that attach in a facile manner (as opposed to meridional, like a pincer ligand).
2. Generally have C3v symmetry, as opposed to C5v symmetry (I have to look that up, I forgot the symmetry designators).
3. And more, but I have to run off to the break room because one of our group members is celebrating!

Speaking of chemistry, just the other day, I was working with d7-DMF (deuterated dimethylformamide) and just to give you an idea of how nervous I was, a 10 g ampule of the stuff costs about 170 € or about $ 226. So imagine now that I was told to take the whole ampule along with the rest of our stocks and cold distill it. I know that other isotope enriched solvents cost even more, but hey, I'm still kind of new.

I also got a haircut today at the mall (specifically NordWestZentrum). I was told by Kai to go into this one particular shop (whose name I now forget) and simply say "wash, cut, and go," but it turns out that's also their slogan. Anyway, I think I might have to do a little trimming on the back, lest it turn into a mullet. I'll be sure to put up pictures before, during, and after this process.


Sleepy hat gesagt…

I'm glad to see that a snow day generates such a variety of reactions.

A couple years ago we had a power out/minor earthquake in our old office. This resulted in people poking their heads out of offices to ask "did you feel that?" and then retreating to their battery powered laptops to do more work. :)

I think we all need to see your haircut.

Sleepy hat gesagt…

My coworker was also in Frankfurt visiting our local office on Mon-Wed.