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Some ReadersHope For Better …

May 18, 2015 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 93, Issue 20

March 9, page 2: The sample indicated in the letter titled “Seaborg’s Plutonium Roots” should have been shown in micrograms (µg), not milligrams (mg).

Perhaps I’m seeing things, but C&EN seems gripped by a new look. In several recent issues, Letters to the Editor was missing, and the Feb. 9 cover story features two pages of slick graphics concerning protein and human nutrition/metabolism. The graphics appear aimed at fifth- or sixth-graders.

Rigor, tight writing, careful editing, detailed stories with solid background and context—these attributes should be welcomed back.

Robert Pellenbarg
Palm Desert, Calif.

I am concerned about the announcements and concentrates that are increasingly appearing in C&EN (and other weekly chemical magazines) that are geewhiz in nature. They are not necessarily the forefront discoveries.

How this comes about is complex: promotion by researchers in all possible media (including Facebook and blogs), a hyped writing style for journal abstracts including catchy phrases and acronyms, cartoonlike graphics, self-promotion to non-peer-reviewed journals, promise of much more than the science should allow (that’s subsequently unfulfilled), and more.

Reading the current literature in the critical way of the past is impossible. As journalists, C&EN writers are privy to the forefront of synthesis, both academic and industrial, and therefore able to recognize a reaction or a method that has innovative character and/or immediate appeal to academic and industrial chemists. Such news is valuable to your audience.

Victor Snieckus
Kingston, Ontario


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