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Thoughts On Obits’ New Look

October 26, 2015 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 93, Issue 42

Oct. 12, page 7: The News of the Week story about the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine incorrectly names the secret initiative that led to artemisinin as “573.” The initiative was named “523.”

We are very unhappy with the newly instituted practice of C&EN for obituaries of ACS members. We learned about this from the response to our submission of a celebration of the many contributions of James Crivello to chemistry and ACS (see page 33).

The long-standing publication of memorials written by colleagues of the late member is to be replaced by populating a form asking for dried-out statistics: essentially name, rank, and serial number as important aspects (, as well as just a few (<100!) words about some fondest recollections of the submitter. Something will then be composed in C&EN’s office. Print publication seems not to be assured.

The previous policy, in existence long before our decades-old ACS membership, was to humanize the memorial with personal notes and an emphasis on the contributions of the decedent to our profession. It is easy to speculate on the forces driving the change. The loss of human warmth that will necessarily ensue is not a trade worth pursuing.

Edwin A. Chandross
Murray Hill, N.J.

Leonard V. Interrante
Troy, N.Y.


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