If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.



Not As Easy As It Looks

by E. Thomas Strom
June 11, 2007 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 85, Issue 24

I started volunteering after I got out of the Army in 1966. I was working for Mobil in electron spin resonance. I'm not sure where I read that CAS wanted abstractors, but I volunteered in my field because I figured that was the area I wanted to read about anyway. Plus, I would get the literature in advance of publication. I volunteered for a year or two.

Writing a good abstract is not as easy as it looks. You want to have enough content so people know whether they're going to be interested in the article, but you don't want to be redundant. The title can give you some hint that you might be interested in a particular article, but if the abstract is well-written, it really tells you whether you want to home in or skip it and not worry about it. The abstract is a really vital link. It was then, and it is now.

Knowing what abstractors go through, I try to write the very best abstract I can, along with writing the best article I can.

I retired from Mobil at age 59-and-a-half. I continue to teach part-time at the University of Texas, Arlington.

Strom received a B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of Iowa (1958), an M.S. in nuclear chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley (1961), and a Ph.D. in physical organic chemistry from Iowa State University (1964). He worked 32 years for Mobil Research & Development Corp. in Dallas, before retiring in 1995. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Texas, Arlington, and is editor of The Southwest Retort, a regional ACS newsletter for members in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and New Mexico.


This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.