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Skimming The Classifieds

February 22, 2016 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 94, Issue 8

Feb. 1, page 20: U.K. officials use gas chromatography with flame ionization detection, not GC-mass spectrometry, for roadside detection of fuel fraud.

I was surprised and at the same time amused when I noted the sudden escalation of academic openings in the final three September 2015 issues of C&EN. In previous months, the number of advertisements had been mired at a few or several, encompassing one page or less. Suddenly, the number jumped to 12 pages and 90 positions in the Sept. 14, 2015, issue; tapered off to three pages and 17 openings in the Sept. 21, 2015, issue; and continued at three pages and 21 openings in the Sept. 28, 2015, issue.

Though it is encouraging to see more listed academic positions, almost all positions had one unifying theme: Namely, to meet the requirements listed, applicants must be able to walk on water. What has happened to the simple requirement that all a potential employee has to do is be able to teach and maintain current knowledge about his or her specialty? Instead, in almost all the cases advertised in C&EN, the successful candidate is expected to initiate a research program, obtain outside funding, and bring glory to the department.

Is the sudden escalation in positions available a result of increased enrollment, departure of faculty, or faculty retirement? In any event, if any other position, whether industrial or government, were available, I would suggest that any recent Ph.D.s should avail themselves of that opportunity with a workweek of 40 hours or less.

Nelson Marans
Silver Spring, Md.


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