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Paul Bracher's in his recent blog article post refers to some of the more unique chemistry websites that have popped up recently as well as the rise of the chemical blogosphere.
Such proclaimations for 2007 ("the rise of the chemistry blogosphere") are undue at this point, the establishment of the Chemistry blogging community depends on the existence of blogs that are written by Chemists who have a true appreciation for real Chemistry and that are here to stay.
So how did the Chemistry blogging community "rise" in the first place? Yes, the recent trend has been the creation of Chemistry related blogs by students as well as professional chemists, the question is, to what extent would this have been the case if it weren't for blogs such as Tenderbutton.......Dylan Stiles' blog rose to a scale of greatness, not only because it was funny, but mainly because it featured his talent in Organic Chemistry and his genuine appreciation for it. My first exposure to Chemistry blog was Tenderbutton.com, and in its light, other Chemistry blogs also seemed to have a global purpose. The prevalence of blogs is quite different from what can be conceptualized as a blogging community; communities are close knit as compared to individualistic population of bloggers who live their existence apart from one another. I say "global purpose" because the growth of a community depends partly how it manages to connect and draw outsiders. Well established communities exist to "communicate" and recruit. The amount of comments in response to a particular blog article is a useful indicator for just how much the individual members of the Chemistry blog community are connecting interpersonally. Tenderbutton.com drew a lot of comments from professionals in the industry and academia, layman, as well undergraduates.
A community also exists to relate to other communities. Dylan's endeavors showed his genuine appreciation for Chemistry; he sacrificed his weekend to engage in "Saturday Night Synthesis", this is what really got him famous with blogging communities that had no other way to relate to Chemistry otherwise (and when he wasn't in the lab, he was busy with other mischievious tasks such as testing out his breathalyzer through an experiment performed on his roomates). These strange experiments and crazy notions that he had shared with all of us was truly "great" (e.g. using Nair hair remover on ungrateful squirrels). This type of blog content is what makes the Half Decent Pharmaceutical Chemistry Blog an interesting read also; the guy seems so dedicated ("Albert"). Pipeline is also "great" because it's so opinionated, especially with the actual research topics (e.g. Autism).
Simply put, a nice and healthy "Chemistry blogosphere" needs good Chemistry by Chemists/interns who are established as well as dedicated in their respective field. Some blogs may express an early interest and fascination with Chemistry, however, they aren't here to stay; Chemistry, like physics and mathematics requires an ability to do Chemistry. Mitch's site http://www.chemblogs.org demonstrates this notion well, there's a large amount of people registering for blogs, but no increase in material; one particular blog on this site, Chemoblog had generated a lot of comments at one time in the past with actual experimental pictures of what was going on in the lab of the writer-a naive inorganic intern-as well as presentations of matters of practical considerations in troubleshooting some minor problems associated with synthetic approaches (e.g. the best method to keep oxygen out of a compartment)....yet there hasn't been a post in quite a while. The only consistent blog on Chemblogs.org is Half Decent Pharmaceutical Chemistry. Again, it seems that most of the good and lasting blogs are written by individuals who spend a good deal of time pursuing discoveries in their own time or are investigating matters for themselves e.g. doing "Saturday/Friday/Sunday Night Synthesis". Dylan's most recent article on ChemistryWorld entails his cooking methods, Curry in this case.......he essentially makes the claim that a more "Chemical" approach to cooking yields better results in the quality of the dish.
It's the appreciation for real Chemistry content that connects the Chemistry blogging community through responsive commentary and criticism and makes it "great". There needs to be more blogs that appreciates Chemistry like Tenderbutton.com to fill its place (as well as http://www.pipeline.corante.com) so that the Chemistry blogging community can remain established and instead of having a transient existence of blogs written by people who could care more or less about Chemistry.
It seems that most of the popular Chemistry blogs online these days relate to the organic synthesis field. I've only been able to spot two P. Chem. blogs thus far
One apparent explanation for the lack of online Physical Chemistry blogs is because most "physical chemists" associate themselves more with the physics and math fields, some of them can be found in discussion boards which are compatible with Latex or which allow the use of other mathematical tools and hyped up posting mechanisms for quick tempered mathematicians and physicists. Perhaps they don't even have time to write a decent blog article. Maybe Physical Chemistry isn't considered "Chemistry" rather of "Math and Physics".
I would personally enjoy seeing more chemistry blogs that have mathematical perspectives in its contents during the year of 2007 and perhaps some blogs that share enthusiasm in the learning of various general chemistry concepts. Discussions centered on unique features in derivations and real life applications can be good within a Physical Chemistry blog for instance. Discussions based on extended readings for general chemistry concepts can make any general chemistry blog an interesting read.
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