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Agilent Technology’s NMR Decision

January 19, 2015 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 93, Issue 3

I have to wonder at the thinking of the academics who are puzzled and upset by the withdrawal of Agilent Technologies from manufacturing large nuclear magnetic resonance machines (C&EN, Nov. 24, 2014, page 17). One academic decried decisions made by M.B.A.s who have an excellent grasp of the ledger, assets, and liabilities short term but who think little of the damage to science and society.

In the same issue (page 19), C&EN reports that Daniel S. Loeb, who has bought 2.3% of Dow Chemical stock, remains unhappy that the company does not split into a commodity company and a specialty chemical company. On Nov. 13, 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported that Nelson Peltz, who wants DuPont to split similarly, has raised his stock holdings to 7 million from 6 million shares.

The academics’ ire should rather be directed at U.S. and Canadian granting agencies and their choices of what is worthy to fund; or more especially at the U.S. Congress and the Canadian Parliament, which fund those agencies.

C&EN has the most astute business reporting in the chemical industry. Apparently the academics are more adept at complaining to C&EN than reading it.

Stephen Stinson
Metuchen, N.J.


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