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Title IX for chemists

October 23, 2006 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 84, ISSUE 43

Sept. 18, page 16. Vitamin C was incorrectly identified as citric acid. It is ascorbic acid.

Oct. 9, page 12. The article on brain chemistry should have included the following reference information for the work cited: Science 2006, 314, 130.

Richard Zare's analysis of the state of affairs in math and science training for young Americans seems like the product of a very intelligent and thoughtful person (C&EN, May 15, page 46). His experience in education and chemistry is unsurpassed. I am sure that there is much to be discovered about discrimination in math and science, but I'm equally as certain that Phyllis Schlafly's rant does not help the situation (C&EN, Aug. 14, page 4). To quote: "There is not a shred of evidence that women are discriminated against in math and science." Really? Phyllis the all-knowing said so. Case closed. "The gender police have already ruined college sports for many men," she writes. Ruined? Holy cow! "The feminists want a quota-imposed unisex society regardless of the facts of life, voluntary choice, human nature, common sense, or documented merit," she continues. Yes, and when she wants your opinion on that she will tell you what it is.

For 16 years after I received my organic chemistry degree, I was a practicing industrial chemist. I estimate that in R&D maybe 5% of scientists were women. Since 1986, I have been working as an applications computer programmer, a field that requires a math background and solid thinking skills. In this field, one must be able to think quickly to cope under pressure with unplanned situations.

Since 1986, I have worked at six different Wall Street and banking firms and with three major immigrant groups of programmers—Russians, Filipinos, and now Indians. In every situation, at least 50% of these immigrants are women and working at all management levels within IT. Why is this? I wonder if that tells us that women all over the world are interested in science and math and will pursue that interest if given the opportunity.

William Kwalwasser
New Providence, N.J.

How can C&EN allow almost a column and a half to the irresponsible right-wing propaganda of Schlafly? She is neither a chemist nor a chemical engineer. To allow such a diatribe into this technical magazine diminishes the Letters section and degrades the efforts of those attempting to shed light into the "glass ceiling." She even pushed to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment. It is reprehensible. There's a lot of biology connected with C&EN articles: Let's make sure we don't get an infusion of creationism in them to blur the science aspects of chemistry and chemical engineering.

John Kaufhold
Dayton, Ohio



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