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In "Demography of Chemistry," Michael Heylin writes about the ACS Committee on Professional Training's statistics on the gender, ethnic, and racial breakdown of new chemistry graduates in the U.S. (C&EN, Sept. 17, page 43). While the information is important, the point of such articles is not always clear, especially when they almost always lack critical contextualization for the reader, specifically, how the numbers shape up with national demographic statistics.
For example, compare the 3.2% of recently reported Ph.D. chemistry graduates who identified their ethnicity as Hispanic to the whopping 12.5% of people identifying themselves as Hispanic or Latino in the 2000 U.S. Census (www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2002/demoprofiles.html). Other such comparisons to national statistics are quite revealing. One suddenly realizes the incredible distance that still must be traversed to achieve representation in chemistry.
José L. Zambrana Jr.
Chevy Chase, Md.
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