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People Who Come To CAS Rarely Leave

by David Weisgerber
June 11, 2007 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 85, Issue 24


I was born in Ohio, and after I got my Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1965, I had thought about returning to Ohio and working for Chemical Abstracts Service. Instead, I took a job as an organic research chemist at DuPont, but CAS popped into my mind again since I had been using the service as part of my research. In 1969, I returned to Ohio as a formula index editor for CAS.

In 1971, I became a group leader in the compound-name database department and subsequently became a senior indexer in the chemical substance handling department. In 1973, I was appointed assistant to the editor, who at the time was Russell Rowlett Jr. In 1977, I became the manager of chemical substance handling department, and in 1979, I became director of the editorial operations division. In 1982, Dr. Rowlett retired, and I was named editor of Chemical Abstracts. I stayed in that position until I retired in 2001.

One of the things I still have is a specially bound issue of Chemical Abstracts in which the 10 millionth chemical abstract appeared. That was March 1984, and a lot has transpired since then. CAS turned its primary focus away from a print product to an electronic database. We began to think in terms of an online service that made information available as soon as we generated it, and we included additional information that was only made available online.

What was unique about CAS was how many of the people, once they came to CAS, rarely left. They grew up within the organization, and they consequently took a great deal of pride and ownership in what they were doing.

At my retirement party in June 2001, CAS Director Bob Massie gave me a letter offering his heartfelt thanks for my leadership. I was pleasantly surprised when I later received a bound edition of Chemical Abstracts and found that not only was my name on the front cover, but Bob's letter was also printed inside for all the readers to see. That was the June 25, 2001, issue. It's one that I continue to hold and prize.

Weisgerber joined CAS staff in 1969 and held a number of managerial positions before assuming the office of Chemical Abstracts Editor in 1982. He retired from this position in 2001.



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