Rudy Baum’s editorial “Storm Thoughts” (C&EN, July 16, page 3) provoked letters of both support and vitriol. To me, the most interesting response was from Duane Koszalka, who ended his letter threatening to cancel his ACS membership if Baum didn’t clean up his act and focus more on chemistry and chemical engineering (C&EN, Sept. 3, page 6). Koszalka and others like him must have been tearing their hair out reading the editorial “Curiosity On Mars” where Baum reminisces on wonder, space exploration, and a change of generations from himself to his children—absolutely no chemistry (C&EN, Sept. 3, page 5).
I always read the editorial first, and, often, it is my favorite piece. I enjoy that Baum didn’t always discuss chemistry and that he brought a personal aspect to his writing; it adds flavor. Along with many others, I didn’t like the “Storm Thoughts” editorial, but it would be silly to stop reading all the other articles so I don’t read any more “off topic” editorials.
Perhaps it is time we collectively calm down and reassess how we react to perspectives we don’t like. After all, if we read all the way to the bottom, it says clearly that “views expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of ACS.”
By Jason Grosch