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March 28, 2005 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 83, Issue 13

ACS membership: A real bargain

I would like to give a partial response to ACS member Gary J. Banuk's letter "Finding a Future for ACS" (C&EN, March 7, page 4).

I believe ACS dues are an understated "bargain" well worth the price of membership, which goes well beyond the two following examples. ACS offers a portfolio of insurance packages and discounts exclusive to the society and at surprisingly low costs. C&EN provides current information on industry happenings, and frequent in-depth reviews identify those centers from which future discoveries and advances in the health sciences will come. For members who are interested in building wealth through investments, C&EN is a treasure of information and easily competitive to investment letters costing far more than ACS dues.

If President George W. Bush has his way with revamping Social Security, joining ACS would be a worthwhile suggestion.

H. I. Silverman
Framingham, Mass.


Microwave cooldown

The article "Riding The Microwave" attempts to convince C&EN readers that microwave-assisted syntheses and processes are on their way to solving important societal problems in the near future (C&EN, Dec. 13, 2004, page 14). The piece does this by quoting selected scientists (such as Nicholas Leadbeater, C. Oliver Kappe, and Jason Tierney); leading manufacturers (such as Biotage, CEM, Milestone, and Parr); and the most recent review (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2004, 43, 6250).

However, considering recent investigations and reviews by the workgroup from Jena, Germany, who are not quoted in the article, this optimism is not justified (see "Microwave-assisted synthesis--a critical technology overview," Green Chem. 2004, 6, 128; "Microwave-assisted reaction control: Miniplant-scale microwave apparatus with online analysis," Chem. Eng. Technol. 2004, 76, 961; and "Microwave-assisted chemical reactions," Chem. Eng. Technol. 2003, 26, 1207). Moreover, more emphasis should be placed on questions about the qualification of technical microwave systems and the validation of microwave-assisted reactions and processes. These considerations must receive more attention in the otherwise mostly synthetic-oriented microwave community. Scale-up experiments that have been performed so far do not fulfill the two previously mentioned certification criteria.

The exploitation of the advantages of dissipative heating for innovative syntheses and reactive separations now requires a close cooperation among synthetic chemists, chemical engineers, and materials scientists. This is the only way that one of Tierney's remark's--"We are able to do new chemistries that we haven't thought possible"-- can become reality in the future.

Bernd Ondruschka
Jena, Germany



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