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Welcome to the ChemConnector Blog and the Art of Chemunication

23 Dec

Welcome to the ChemConnector Blog. This blog will be a chemmunication vehicle for the website www.chemconnector.com, to go online shortly. As many of you will  know me from the ChemSpider blog you will likely be aware that I took a sabbatical after 10 years working a company and have taken a few months down. For the time-being my intention is to spend some time consulting for groups and organizations interested in utilizing my skills and growing the business of ChemConnector – Connecting Scientists to Problem Solvers. This, of course, in parallel to the ongoing work on ChemSpider.  More on this will come shortly but essentially I hope to work with my extended network of friends, colleagues, partners and contacts in science to help solve problems for chemists. It may be in the cheminformatics domain utilizing the ChemSpider team, commercial service providers or Open Source proponents. It may be in the world of chemical synthesis by connecting chemists to custom synthesis houses or vendors (you will see an increasing trend towards social networking for chemists on ChemSpider in the future). It may be in the realm of the application of analytical science to solving structure elucidation problems or setting up an analytical facility. It may be in the authoring of reports and materials of scientific interest. It’s an exciting opportunity and very invigorating – I’ll get to work with people I respect, work on solving problems of interest and, I believe, stay connected to the multiple facets of a changing environment.

For the past 8 months I’ve been running two blogs associated with ChemSpider…the ChemSpider blog and the ChemSpider News blog. These had different intents – the ChemSpider blog was to cover the general directions, vision, activities, challenges and community conversations about the ChemSpider service. The ChemSpider News was to cover details of new functionality as it was rolled out. What has happened is that the postings on ChemSpider News regarding new functionality have been missed by the readers of the blog as a result of the readership being different (and different subscriptions to Feedburner being in place). This has not been good for the ChemSpider users since they have not been getting the latest and greatest news about new functionality. It’s a great shame to deliver new functionality and not have people use it for weeks on end because they don’t know about it.

What I’ve also been posting on the ChemSpider blog are my own personal views regarding a whole variety of issues…none of them ChemSpider related. For example, my views on vaccines, on fluoride, on drugs, and on my views of various research undertakings. Recently John Doe took me to task in a recent response on the ChemSpider blog. While I vehemently disagree with his comment regarding the reasons behind my posting I have decided to separate news regarding ChemSpider and its mission, direction and new functionality from my own personal commentaries, pleas, musings and, once in a while, thigh-slapping fun exchanges (especially the ones about erectile dysfunction drugs and how the drug industry can learn from the golfing industry).

So, the ChemSpider News site, while it will remain online for past references it will be discontinued and all new functionality comments will be posted to the ChemSpider Blog. The ChemSpider blog will become just that…all about ChemSpider. Once in a while I’ll put a list of what’s been discussed here on ChemConnector in case any of the readers want to click over for a browse of a particular post. This blog, ChemConnector, is going to be for me to chemunicate…

 

About tony

Antony (Tony) J. Williams received his BSc in 1985 from the University of Liverpool (UK) and PhD in 1988 from the University of London (UK). His PhD research interests were in studying the effects of high pressure on molecular motions within lubricant related systems using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. He moved to Ottawa, Canada to work for the National Research Council performing fundamental research on the electron paramagnetic resonance of radicals trapped in single crystals. Following his postdoctoral position he became the NMR Facility Manager for Ottawa University. Tony joined the Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, New York as their NMR Technology Leader. He led the laboratory to develop quality control across multiple spectroscopy labs and helped establish walk-up laboratories providing NMR, LC-MS and other forms of spectroscopy to hundreds of chemists across multiple sites. This included the delivery of spectroscopic data to the desktop, automated processing and his initial interests in computer-assisted structure elucidation (CASE) systems. He also worked with a team to develop the worlds’ first web-based LIMS system, WIMS, capable of allowing chemical structure searching and spectral display. With his developing cheminformatic skills and passion for data management he left corporate America to join a small start-up company working out of Toronto, Canada. He joined ACD/Labs as their NMR Product Manager and various roles, including Chief Science Officer, during his 10 years with the company. His responsibilities included managing over 50 products at one time prior to developing a product management team, managing sales, marketing, technical support and technical services. ACD/Labs was one of Canada’s Fast 50 Tech Companies, and Forbes Fast 500 companies in 2001. His primary passions during his tenure with ACD/Labs was the continued adoption of web-based technologies and developing automated structure verification and elucidation platforms. While at ACD/Labs he suggested the possibility of developing a public resource for chemists attempting to integrate internet available chemical data. He finally pursued this vision with some close friends as a hobby project in the evenings and the result was the ChemSpider database (www.chemspider.com). Even while running out of a basement on hand built servers the website developed a large community following that eventually culminated in the acquisition of the website by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) based in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Tony joined the organization, together with some of the other ChemSpider team, and became their Vice President of Strategic Development. At RSC he continued to develop cheminformatics tools, specifically ChemSpider, and was the technical lead for the chemistry aspects of the Open PHACTS project (http://www.openphacts.org), a project focused on the delivery of open data, open source and open systems to support the pharmaceutical sciences. He was also the technical lead for the UK National Chemical Database Service (http://cds.rsc.org/) and the RSC lead for the PharmaSea project (http://www.pharma-sea.eu/) attempting to identify novel natural products from the ocean. He left RSC in 2015 to become a Computational Chemist in the National Center of Computational Toxicology at the Environmental Protection Agency where he is bringing his skills to bear working with a team on the delivery of a new software architecture for the management and delivery of data, algorithms and visualization tools. The “Chemistry Dashboard” was released on April 1st, no fooling, at https://comptox.epa.gov, and provides access to over 700,000 chemicals, experimental and predicted properties and a developing link network to support the environmental sciences. Tony remains passionate about computer-assisted structure elucidation and verification approaches and continues to publish in this area. He is also passionate about teaching scientists to benefit from the developing array of social networking tools for scientists and is known as the ChemConnector on the networks. Over the years he has had adjunct roles at a number of institutions and presently enjoys working with scientists at both UNC Chapel Hill and NC State University. He is widely published with over 200 papers and book chapters and was the recipient of the Jim Gray Award for eScience in 2012. In 2016 he was awarded the North Carolina ACS Distinguished Speaker Award.
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Posted by on December 23, 2007 in General Communications

 

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