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Chemistry card game

September 5, 2016 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 94, Issue 35

I began reading about the “science-themed card game” Lab Wars with curiosity and interest (C&EN, July 25, page 48). However, as I read further, I became dismayed with the full nature of the game.

To encourage scientists to conduct heists and steal secrets runs counter to ethical scientific practice. This might be the “real world” of current business and political practice, but it should be frowned upon in ethical scientific practice.

In a time when political leaders seem to encourage outrageous and morally reprehensible actions and international terrorism abounds, I would hope we would try to discourage such activities in our science labs—not seemingly encourage them. Ethical scientific practice could set a better example for the world.

The article does not note whether the game includes penalties for ethical and legal misdeeds. There is an implication, however, that no penalties are imposed, since both admirable and “nefarious” actions seem to lead to a win.

Lynn Larsen
Jarrettsville, Md.


July 18, page 7: The news story about a mutant enzyme that produces novel triterpenes showed the wrong structure for the pentacyclic triterpene. Here is the correct structure.

Aug. 1, page 2: The chemical safety letter about peroxide formation should have referred to “2-propanol,” not “isopropanol,” which incorrectly combines two different alcohol naming conventions.

Aug. 15/22, page 49: The Talented 12 profile about University of California, Berkeley, chemist Ke Xu incorrectly stated that a technique he developed could distinguish between components in a cell that are less than 10 nm apart. It can distinguish between components that are 10 nm apart or more. The profile also incorrectly stated that, in the past, researchers had to use different cell samples in order to use superresolution fluorescence imaging and electron microscopy. Researchers have used both techniques on the same sample, but the sample had to go through a difficult, error-prone dehydration process.



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