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Author: Subject: Experimentation by proxy
Brain&Force
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[*] posted on 9-11-2014 at 16:17
Experimentation by proxy


A lot of us don't have really good lab facilities - or any at all for that matter. Others may want another person to confirm the results they've obtained in their labs.

If you have any experiment ideas that you can't test yourself or simply want someone else to try, post them here. Those who don't have project ideas should definitely look here for things to do. Hopefully.




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WGTR
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[*] posted on 10-11-2014 at 08:30


I do this for people on occasion.

In the past, I have put time and effort into working through a problem, only to see the OP lose interest. This is mildly annoying, even though it results in an interesting body of data. Camaraderie is fun; solo work, not so much.

If one is going to ask for help, please be prepared to put one's own time and money into following through with the topic. The projects that I have documented are generally attainable by those with the requisite motivation.

Along the same line of thinking, I would recommend not asking for help in topics where the asker clearly does not have the ability or motivation to follow through.
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[*] posted on 10-11-2014 at 09:47


B&F: but if you did perform a experiment and would like to see what the structures of these molecules are, you can simply ask it to a Ph.D. in Chemistry at a University. I couldn't imagine that they aren't interesting in exotic molecules or new synthetical procedures.

H-NMR is very interesting, my experience is that they do it but in some cases you need to wait a few months before you get a response. Hence, experts have a lot of work to do.

But I agree that there might be a opportunity to set up a organisation, if someone did a groupsbuy or have an excess of some reagents: we can exchange lab reagents and that will save us a lot of money. This can only be done if the databases are very secured, so that we can verify who these people are. The same principle for vacuum destillations, drying tubes for gas reactions and so on.

btw:
What do you mean with 'proxy': AFAIK only in the USA computers can connected with a IPv6 to communicate between your contacts. Not sure that it works, because they are often used for marketing purposes.




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[*] posted on 10-11-2014 at 09:57


The idea is good, just that people aren't motivated like that, as WGTR has discovered.

How about a Competition style Challenge, where someone with a project in mind posts their theory, and then how they're going to do the experiment.

Others would no doubt comment, and some of us would 'have a go' at the actual experiment, possibly with a different approach or method.

Posting data from the experiments and comparing notes would be good fun.

Last time i can remember was CHRIS25 struggling with Aluminium Sulphate synthesis.
Al Sulph may be small beans to you Gods out there, but it was great online collaborative fun nonetheless, *and* we got a working, and repeatable formulation/process in the end.

Edit:

The Rules must be that it's a Practical exploration, not just theoretical.

So any suggestions/comments must include exactly *how* to perform a particular procedure.

for example :
"Al2(SO4)3 is easy, just at Al to sulphuric acid" IS NO GOOD

Workable procedures only.

[Edited on 10-11-2014 by aga]




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Amos
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[*] posted on 10-11-2014 at 12:16


Quote: Originally posted by JAVA  

btw:
What do you mean with 'proxy': AFAIK only in the USA computers can connected with a IPv6 to communicate between your contacts. Not sure that it works, because they are often used for marketing purposes.


While the word is the same, he doesn't mean anything related to computers. "By proxy" means that if you are unable to conduct a synthesis or other procedure, you have a "proxy" do it for you; meaning that somebody else that has the proper materials or experience carries out your idea and reports the findings. This provides an opportunity for ill-equipped chemists to learn and produce useful results, while offering another chemist a fun or challenging task to carry out.




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[*] posted on 10-11-2014 at 12:30


Quote: Originally posted by JAVA  

What do you mean with 'proxy'

To be a proxy is to stand in for something else, or be a go-between. Chemistry by proxy is having somebody run your experiment for you because you might lack equipment, chems, etc.; not a proxy server.

I also like the idea of a monthly competition/challenge/collaboration. We used to do that on a metalworking forum I was part of, and it always drew a crowd.

I am definitely in for whatever we can come up with.




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Brain&Force
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[*] posted on 10-11-2014 at 12:58


A competition would be awesome! I think that would be something worthy of a different thread (or a new thread monthly). I'm not sure how we'd come up with topics.

Hopefully we'd have enough topics to start either next month or the month after (Dec 2014 or Jan 2015).




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[*] posted on 10-11-2014 at 13:06


B&F:

While not a bad idea it does have some possibly unintended consequences. This thread could become a potpourri of unrelated ideas/projects and with several posters talking over each other to reach 'their' OP. And that doesn't improve searchability much either.

And in a sense we're already doing what you suggest, albeit probably not enough or not systematically enough.

It may be more effective if OPs looking to start collaborative projects (or simply want experimental help with a particular project), simply state so, loud and clear in the opening post of their specific project thread. Some already do that.


[Edited on 10-11-2014 by blogfast25]




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aga
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[*] posted on 10-11-2014 at 13:44


OK. So it looks like a go-er !

Candidate reactions peoples !

That maybe a way to introduce the Competition element: everyone suggests a synthesis, and the consensus decides which one to DO, based on, well, whatever.

Currently i'm thinking PVC pyrolysis with the aim of producing Benzene.

Edit:

Yes, a New thread monthly, or whenever the Current synthesis is all done and dusted, or when we're getting nowhere and are bored with it.

Perhaps 2 new threads, What to Do Next, and Work in Progress (on the last one).

[Edited on 10-11-2014 by aga]




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[*] posted on 10-11-2014 at 13:48


This thread is a GREAT idea. I just would not encumber it with unnecessary rules. The only rule should be: if A has an idea for an experiment which B finds interesting to try, it's between A and B. That's all.
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[*] posted on 10-11-2014 at 14:49


Has to be Rules or it doesn't work. Sad, but true.

maybe just 1 rule : post a synthesis idea, discuss, then Do.

Edit:

Do, then discuss would be even better.

Basically more Doing.

[Edited on 10-11-2014 by aga]




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[*] posted on 10-11-2014 at 15:20


Competition

1. A thread is posted defining the competition. (e.g. "Grow the best crystal," "Best chemically colored flame," "Most interesting organic synthesis," or "Highest molecular weight compound")
2. That same thread is used to submit work as a contestant. Submitting an entry can be done with a small (~$3 USD) optional donation to a PayPal account.
3. The thread is closed after the allotted time, and a poll is opened to allow members to vote on a winner.
4. Voting closes after a week or two.
5. There are two winners:
If you win and you donated, you get all the money.
If you win and did not donate, you get the glory.

I feel like Rador Labs might be a good organization to host/moderate the competition, if the interest is there.

Collaboration

Unfortunately, there is little incentive other than camaraderie to keep this an engaging experience. There could be the "Synthesis Topic of the Month" or something, which could work to focus efforts of those who are generally aimless and looking for something to do into a collaborative synthesis project. I imagine topics such as "Preparative methods for copper salts," "Scavenger hunt for OTC chemicals," or "Share your homemade labware" being popular, and open enough that people of all skill levels can participate.




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[*] posted on 10-11-2014 at 15:50


Quote: Originally posted by JAVA  
B&F: but if you did perform a experiment and would like to see what the structures of these molecules are, you can simply ask it to a Ph.D. in Chemistry at a University. I couldn't imagine that they aren't interesting in exotic molecules or new synthetical procedures.

It's been my experience that even getting colleagues/coworkers in the same field interested in your own research can be difficult, compounded by the recession increasing pressure on funding, and instrument time can be expensive.

Some other factors at play are the availability students, techs, facilities or of tenure, because I know some college/university professors have much lower incentive to publish than private sector, government, postgraduate/professional, or non-tenured professors. This can be a double edged sword as they may have more time to research, but choose not to so they can market textbooks or adjunct labs rather than do lab work.
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[*] posted on 10-11-2014 at 17:44


Personally, I asked a University of Minnesota professor whom I knew if I could use his lab for doing experimentation for my science fair project. I was able to use it, and the resources it offered were great (NMR, HPLC, GC-MS, and all manners of glassware and other equipment). However, I think I probably would not have found a lab had I not known the professor previously.



As below, so above.
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[*] posted on 10-11-2014 at 19:08


Perhaps the person looking for a proxy posts the intended procedure here like a help wanted ad, and potential candidates U2U the poster? It keeps the thread clean. If something major is figured out, the OP and/or proxy can do a proper write-up in a new thread.



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[*] posted on 11-11-2014 at 10:55


What it needs is Prize Money

I'd put up 50 quid for a synthesis competition.




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[*] posted on 11-11-2014 at 12:25


The 'Aga Prize'. Let's hope it doesn't give rise to more Ig Nobel Prizes or deserved Darwin Awards...



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[*] posted on 11-11-2014 at 12:36


Hmm.
Perhaps the Runner Up gets to buy aga's beers for a week ?




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[*] posted on 11-11-2014 at 13:55


Keeping aga drunk for a week with his tolerance is enough to bankrupt me for the foreseeable future. No thanks.



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