Julian G. West, PhD

Chemist and Writer

Location icon United States

I was drawn to study science by the endless material it provides for storytelling. Every new discovery is a story waiting to be realized, and there's nothing quite as satisfying as fitting all of the pieces together into a coherent narrative. While chemistry is a beautiful subject near and dear to my heart, I also love challenging myself to communicate ideas outside of my training to a broad audience. I'm always on the lookout for new material, so please reach out if there's a topic you'd like to see me cover.

I received my B.Sc. (Honours) in Chemistry from UBC Vancouver, my Ph.D. in Chemistry from Princeton University and am currently a professor of organic chemistry at Rice University interested in designing powerful new tools for synthesizing the molecules of modern life.

Portfolio
HoustonChronicle.com
07/16/2020
Opinion: International students, you are welcome here

On Tuesday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agreed to rescind a controversial new policy on international students announced on July 6. Under the rescinded policy, international students on F-1 and M-1 visas, including most international undergraduate and graduate students, would have been required to leave the country if their fall 2020 course load was entirely online.

Nautilus
05/24/2018
Why New Antibiotics Are So Hard to Find - Issue 60: Searches - Nautilus

An 86-year-old patient arrives with a grisly foot injury. 1 It's badly infected-not a surprise, given his chronic untreated Type 2 diabetes. What is surprising is that meropenem, a broad spectrum antibiotic, and vancomycin, known as the antibiotic of last resort, have absolutely no effect. The doctors know something bad is going on.

The Atlantic
04/02/2018
The Atomic-Bomb Core That Escaped World War II

In 1946, shortly after the end of World War II, the physicist Louis Slotin stood in front of a low table at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, concentrating intensely on the object in front of him.

The Atlantic
01/16/2018
The Accidental Poison That Founded the Modern FDA

In 1937, the antibiotic Elixir Sulfanilamide killed more than 100 Americans. "The first time I ever had occasion to call in a doctor for [Joan] ... she was given Elixir of Sulfanilamide," wrote the mother of one of the drug's many young victims, in a letter imploring President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to ban the medicine.

Science
03/10/2017
Fortune favors the well read

"You found that in what journal?" My adviser, sitting across the desk from me as we discussed my next research project, raised his eyebrows in surprise. We had recently finished my first project and realized that our methods had some limitations. We needed to redesign our experiments, so I had

The Escapist
Mastering Chemistry Through Pokemon

The first year in pursuit of my Bachelor of Science degree was wrapping up and all of my classmates were fearing our organic chemistry final. Organic is often the sink-or-swim moment for premeds so there was understandably a lot of hair-pulling and nail-biting going on.

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