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New Algorithm For Retired Members

March 15, 2010 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 88, Issue 11

The two letters from chemical information professionals about alternative careers catalyzed me (a hobbyist in this area) to bring up another issue—the ACS retired-member category (C&EN, Nov. 9, 2009, page 6).

The employment path for chemists has been changing for years, but the retired-member category for ACS assumes the now-quaint uninterrupted path from degree to career to retirement. In 1972, I became an ex-chemist, but this did not end my interest in chemistry. In 1973, I distributed a computer program to convert student-input carbon skeletons into IUPAC names via the Journal of Chemical Education and received dozens of stamped-letter requests from as far away as Australia. This was fun!

However, the inevitable financial stress of career change—and later kids in college—left my hobby dormant and ACS dues a luxury I couldn't afford. Then, in 1989, I published my first paper—in the Journal of Chemical Information & Computer Science—and rejoined ACS. This was followed by three more papers in 1991, 1992, and 2002. The last was presented at the 2008 Northeast Regional Meeting in Burlington, Vt. Now 75, I won't reach the required number of years of ACS membership to achieve retired status until I'm 86! I think a new algorithm for "years of service" is sorely needed.

Scott Davidson
Dover, N.H.


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