Issue Date: June 11, 2007
Abstracting For Lunch Money
In my first job, I was earning a magnificent sum of $50 a week. I was working full time as a biochemist at New York University Bellevue Medical Center and was doing my master's at NYU in the evening. This was in the 1950s.
I thought volunteering as an abstractor would be a good way to keep up with the literature and earn a little bit of money on the side. They weren't overly generous, and I didn't get rich. But when you're dealing with 50 bucks, every little bit helps. It gave me some lunch money.
I volunteered for a couple of years. In the beginning, it was new. I had never done abstracting before. But the novelty wore off. I'm so much happier now that they use professionals, because it's more uniform.
Pearce received a B.S. degree from Brooklyn College (1949), an M.S. from New York University (1951), and a Ph.D. from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (1958). He is University Research Professor at Polytechnic University. He served as ACS president in 2002.
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