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Sometimes We Get It Wrong

November 24, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 47

Nov. 17, page 10: The Indian laboratory reagents supplier acquired by Avantor Performance Materials is RFCL, not Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers.

I was appalled when I read the Government & Policy Concentrate on chemical spills at DuPont (C&EN, Sept. 8, page 20). It clearly stated: “A day later, the toxic gas oleum leaked.”

When I graduated in 1959, oleum (also called fuming sulfuric acid) was an oily, heavy liquid! MSDS sheets concur. Doesn’t anybody at C&EN have knowledge of basic chemical substances anymore? To see such an error in Chemical & Engineering News is shocking.

Armin Brahm
Lake Charles, La.

First, I want to compliment C&EN for its generally broad and enlightened coverage of important topics and new discoveries in this amazing age of big data, multidisciplinary research, and fantastic breakthroughs, especially in the molecular bioscience area. Keep up the good work.

I have to say, though, that I was taken aback to read in a News of the Week brief on the print contents page of the Sept. 22 issue that “Plants engineered with a different version of the Rubisco enzyme produce more CO2 faster.” As pointed out in the actual story, “engineered plants had higher rates of CO2 conversion compared with a control group” (page 8), meaning that the cyanobacterial enzyme incorporated fixed CO2 into them faster than the wild-type plant enzyme that it replaced—which, of course, was the whole idea behind the engineering project described!

Reasonably sophisticated readers will smile and brush this boo-boo off. But in an area of such great significance to the future welfare of this planet, such confusion does a disservice to readers (especially young readers) who have little or no background in this most critical part of the carbon cycle. Please proofread for meaning, not just typos!

Scott C. Mohr



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