Exploding myths and exploding compounds

How do you make a compound with 10 nitrogen atoms in a row, formula C2H2N10? Carefully, that's how. After a few blogs and tweets had picked up on a particularly violent TOC graphic in Inorganic Chemistry (dx.doi.org/10.1021/ic200071q) featuring shattered glass and fractured funnels, Infiniflux featured an interview (http://go.nature.com/yxrtFs) with one of the authors, Davin Piercey. Piercey works with Thomas Klapötke at the Ludwigs-Maximilians University in Munich and told readers about his adventures with such violently explosive compounds. Fortunately, safety is taken incredibly seriously in the Klapötke lab with “personal protection equipment for potential shrapnel; Kevlar gloves and arm protectors [...], and basic body armour.” This gear means Piercey is in the lucky position of considering the shrapnel-induced explosion of his remaining product merely “annoying”!

Have you ever wanted to irritate a whole industry? If so, you could take a leaf out of Donald Light and Rebecca Warburton's publication in Biosocieties (dx.doi.org/10.1057/biosoc.2010.40) which suggested that the cost of developing a drug is around $50 million, rather than the oft-quoted $800 million. Derek Lowe took issue with this (http://go.nature.com/scFpcz) and took apart their article. Lowe feigned surprise that big pharma is in such bad shape: “$43 million for a drug, you should be able to raise that pretty easily, even in this climate — and then you just stand back as the money gushes into the sky.”

Chembites is a new addition to the chemistry blogosphere and aims to “help undergraduates navigate current chemical literature” (http://chembites.wordpress.com). A group of MIT graduate students write the posts, which are short summaries of research articles. As Sidechain Bob says on Transition States “the hardest thing to do as an undergraduate is to read the literature”, so Chembites “distilling it down to be understandable for an undergraduate” may prove very useful (http://go.nature.com/UB3CNQ).