#ChemCoach, Supervillain Edition

Oct 24 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

Scientist. It's just one of those careers that lends itself to villainy.  It even says so on page 10 of the How to Be a Villain handbook.

 Within the general area of villainy, supervillainy is the pinnacle of success.  Think full professor, NIH director, or journal Editor-in-Chief.  Typically, the path to supervillainy involves 4 distinct steps...

But if you're a chemist, a subject and profession that is clearly torturous, you're fast-tracked to supervillainy.

As a chemist on the supervillainy fast-track*, I thought I'd share my typical day as part of @SeeArrOh's #ChemCoach carnival.

Most people know that supervillains are strong leaders and snappy dressers.  But what does a supervillains do on an average day?  You'd be surprised how mundane it is...


Your current job.


What you do in a standard "work day."

5AM: Awakened by this tune.  Have coffee and breakfast. Read several newspapers. A supervillain is a well-informed villain.

6AM: Conference call with British supervillain mentor.  We all know the British make the best villains.

7AM: Commute to office using mass transit.  There's no rule a villain can't be 'green'.

8AM: Check-in with office henchmen, discuss current minion issues.

9-11AM: Host office hours for minions.  The key to effective leadership is amassing an army of loyal minions.  A villain simply must cultivate and care for their minions.

11:30AM: Lunch.  Check twitter.  The modern villain has to be social media savvy.

12-1PM: Teach general chemistry.  Legal torture, my friends.  MUWHAHAHA!

1:10-1:40PM: Commute to super-secret underground laboratory using mass transit. Again, there's no rule a villain can't be 'green'.

1:45PM: Coffee break. "Coffee should be black as Hell, strong as death, and sweet as love." ~ Turkish proverb

2:00-??PM: Super-secret stuff in super super-secret underground laboratory.  Unlike some villains, I know how to keep my damn mouth shut.


What kind of schooling / training / experience helped you get there?

I have a BS in chemistry, a MS in forensic science, and a PhD in chemistry.  While in college, I worked full-time in retail.  After graduate school, I worked in a crime lab. Back in the Ivory Tower, I teach chemistry, mentor minions and henchmen, and am building a De-- doing research.  Drugs, bombs, autopsies, crime scenes, students after one of my chemistry exams, the dressing rooms in a clothing store on Black Friday - I've seen it all. NOTHING PHASES ME.

Villains must be decisive, imaginative, discrete, quick-thinking, ruthless to their enemies, solicitous for the welfare of their underlings, as well as have both a strong stomach and a high tolerance for pain.  Nothing prepared me more than graduate school and teaching.


How does chemistry inform your work?

Please refer to 12-1PM from the schedule above.  Chemistry is playing an integral role in my research. Which, of course, is SECRET.


Finally, a unique, interesting, or funny anecdote about your career

I reviewed a paper this year for a respected journal.  My comments and questions were marked "From reviewer #3" when sent to the authors.



*confirmed by select student evaluations



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