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I Can Has DPhil?   

9 July 2008 12,140 views 28 Comments

Burton, Me and Kemmit. ‘Diastereocontrolled Synthesis of Hetero- and Carbocycles via Manganese(III) and Copper(II): Towards a Novel Prostaglandin Total Synthesis’ (Thesis, Oxford), 2008, On my desk, pending corrections.

Observant readers will remember my disappearing off the face of the blogosphere around Christmas (I’m looking at you, McClory…), citing some lame excuse about a thesis or something.  I’ve not mentioned the state-of-play since then, but suffice to say that the job is done, and I passed my viva yesterday.  Yup, I is Dr. Docherty (nice alliteration I feel).1 The honours fell to Drs Clark and Robertson (men who know their way about a radical or two), who after two-and-a-half hours deemed me suitable for leave to supplicate.2

So big thanks to them for that, and for not making me feel like a fool!  Also, utmost respect to The Boss for giving me such an awesome project, and the group for 3.5 years of educational filth.  And ChemComm for publishing this.

So what next?  Well, I’ve not mentioned it on here until now, but I’ve taken that leap-of-faith into medicinal chemistry, and am working for Arrow Therapeutics.  We’re part of AstraZeneca, and are based in central London, which is awesome (if a little pricey).  And the chemistry is still really interesting.

There’s more.  I’ll be not-blogging for a couple of weeks (starting Sunday), as I’m off on conference – BOSS XI in Ghent.  Anyone else going?  Looks like an impressive programme, and I’ll have a post-conference-post (post) on this very page fairly soon.

I also need some more sleep, please…

1. Well, not quite yet. I’ve got some corrections to do, and some proper Oxbridge-style hoops to jump through. Oxford’s had nine centuries to get really good at red-tape…
2. Oxford University Congregation Regulations 3 of 2002, Part 3, subsection 3.3.5

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  • agro says:


  • joel says:


    watch out for that red tape. it’ll get you every time.

  • Geoff says:

    Congratulation… And don’t forget to enjoy Belgian Beers… The best of the world!

  • sjb says:

    Well done that man! And congrats on getting a job too :)

    Bit concerned that *your* thesis has co-authors though, or is that Oxbridge style?

  • Martyn says:

    Congratulations! And happy, er, supplicating. I’ve yet to do so myself, I’d better find out what it actually means first.

  • Tot. Syn. says:

    @sjb: No, it was all mine, but I should mention both supervisors, shouldn’t I? I’m temped to change it to just…

  • milkshake says:

    Now there is a reason to celebrate – and a lovely job, too. Are your new masters at Arrow letting you to take a proper vacation before the job starts? You know, the energy level and the first impressions matter… Cheers!

  • SiO2lungs says:


  • psi*psi says:

    Awesome! Congrats on finishing. :)

  • WestCoast85 says:

    I will be in Boss XI! Yes , it’s an impressive programme but I think that he sould be difficult to meet chimists like Baran or Trost for example !

  • Eraser says:

    Congratulations !
    It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

  • MCC says:

    Nice work. Good luck with the next endeavor.

  • ZZZZZ says:


    …congrats tot syn, best wishes for the future… by the way, do you plan to keep this site up or will I have to harass you again?…


  • TWYI says:

    Good work boss.


  • LiqC says:

    Many congrats. Did anyone mention your community mission on the defense?

  • antiaromatic says:

    Big ups!

  • Taitauwai says:

    Congrats! Best of luck in your future undertakings. Hope to “hear” more from you soon. ;>

  • ZAL says:

    Congratulations from me too! Not only for the Ph. D. but also for your job…I am glad you hadn’t got the time to become a hopeless job-hunting post-doc like…uhm…myself…:-)

  • marto says:

    Congrats!!! hope you will keep writing this blog!!!

  • Madforit says:

    congrats for the Ph.D….and also for this great blog,really.Cheers

  • Diego says:

    well done, mate.


  • Hap says:


  • DaveB says:

    I’ve been silently reading this blog for more than 2 years now… so if I don’t write now I’d really waste a superb chance to congratulate You for your PhD, your professional start and above all for your succesful efforts at spreading your enthusiasm for synthesis around the “organic” world. Cheers!!!

  • yonyodonio says:

    Congrats!!!…good luck…and please, keep going with this great blog…

  • vvt says:

    congrats for PhD as well as job…I am regular reader of this blog, please keep on this good work, its really helpful for grad students..and also for postdocs like me..

  • distant diamond says:

    Well done on the viva. Congrats. If you have the time, keep up the blog :)

  • anniechem says:

    Congratulations! Well done :) I echo what most everyone said…I hope you keep up the blog. Your writings are most enjoyable to read, very informative and funny!

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