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Policy

Disappointing NCW Coverage

November 24, 2008 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 86, ISSUE 47

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I was disappointed to again find the absence of any article about National Chemistry Week (NCW) in C&EN during that week. It seems strange that the largest public outreach effort by ACS members should be relegated to the delayed collage of the activities done by local sections for kids. No effort is apparently made to produce a cover and lead article about the science of the topic aimed at adults.

This is an important time of the year to focus attention on the many issues brought up by each year's topic, both the superlative chemistry-related successes and inventions and the problem aspects for future efforts. This year's topic about chemistry and sports offered an excellent opportunity to highlight the contributions to materials, surfaces, and performance while also catching the public eye to discuss these same issues as they are being played out in the national consciousness—from high-performance materials fundamentally changing some sports to the analytical and pharmaceutical issues that make so many headlines.

I believe an article with depth and breadth on the NCW theme should have run both in C&EN and on the ACS website to inform and challenge readers. Those readers, essentially all adults, are exactly the audience not served by the traditional NCW effort that seems to focus entirely on schools and malls.

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If we can mount cover articles about plastics, paints, pharmaceuticals, statistics, coatings, polymers, superconductivity, and the like, it is a tragedy that we don't do so for a key issue carefully selected by members each year and with a more than 12-month lead time.

I hope both C&EN and the ACS website can address more topical content articles for adults in relation to future NCWs, whether during the week or as a series throughout the year.

Lee Latimer
Oakland, Calif.

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