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Training more chemists

October 16, 2006 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 84, Issue 42

After hearing so much these days about the importance of training more chemists and seeing in C&EN that industry sales and profits are generally increasing, it seems ironic that we now see the ACS salary and employment data showing disheartening news that salaries in constant dollars generally are trending downward and the unemployment figures are trending upward (C&EN, Aug. 7, page 57).

It's hard to convince today's college students that chemistry is a hot major when it's evident that the job market has decidedly cooled off. One of the few glimmers of hope is the fact that my students can make more as high school teachers in many communities than they can as chemists in other types of jobs.

It's clear that we need to avoid getting defensive and recognize that our priorities, and our focus, need some adjusting. If we paid more attention to educating future businesspeople, lawyers, and politicians in science, maybe that would help to brighten the employment picture in the sciences. Lots of problems need solving.

William H. Flank
Chappaqua, N.Y.


Ballots for the American Chemical Society's fall 2006 national election were mailed to members on Sept. 25. If your ballot (mailed in a white envelope with a red banner marked "Urgent Official Election Ballot Enclosed") hasn't arrived yet, you may request that a duplicate ballot be sent to you by calling VR Election Services, Customer Service at (800) 218-4026, Monday-Friday, 8:30 AM-5 PM central time, no later than Oct. 27. You can cast your vote electronically or by traditional mail-in ballot. The voting deadline is close of business (5 PM CT), on Nov. 3. Election information on all candidates can be found at


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