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July 24, 2017 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 95, Issue 30


Letters to the editor

Metal-organic frameworks

I refer to the June 12 issue, pages 9 and 18, and the mention of MOFs for harvesting water from low-humidity air. I assume in the “regeneration” of such a desiccant the water is released in vapor form. Efficient condensation now is the challenge, as the ultimate desired product is liquid water. Maintaining the cold surface (stripping away the heat of condensation) is no small challenge in a hot, arid climate. I urge those who pursue water harvesting with MOFs to tackle this problem early and look at the heat and mass balances of the total process early in their research.

Jim Birkett
Nobleboro, Maine

E-mail etiquette

As someone who does extensive communication via e-mail, I was pleased to read this synopsis in your July 3 edition (page 37). There are a few additions that I would like to make, spell-check being the first. E-mail spell-checkers are ignorant of a lot of misspells. For instance, “an something” when one meant to spell “and something” or “This amount is do” when proper grammar is “This amount is due.” Of course there is always the double word “the the,” which leads me to the second addition—grammar. “We ain’t got no good inglish” is something I constantly see in e-mail correspondence. If you are going to use abbreviations, spell them out the first time so all readers understand the full message. Read your message out loud prior to sending. This allows one to actually hear proper grammar. Type your e-mails like everybody in the world is going to read them. After all, we are professionals, and someday the world may read that e-mail.

Lisa Van Houten
Frostburg, Md.

From the web


Re: More than R&D

A reader shares his experience at a company.

When I first joined Westvaco, almost 30 years ago, there was a pretty steady flow of new Ph.Ds into research and then out to the operating plants within a few years. As a newly minted Ph.D, I spent two years doing product development work in a lab, with limited success. Then I became the process engineer for a 10,000 gallon resin reactor with an adjoining 25,000 gallon saponification tank. I quickly learned a lot of things they don’t teach in engineering school, both about real world equipment and also the people who operate it 24x7. And I enjoyed it much more than product development.

More recently, the company, now called Ingevity, does not hire as many Ph.Ds, but chemists and engineers still populate departments like marketing, supply chain, and logistics, not to mention senior management. [To me], it seems to work pretty well.

Bill Flarsheim


June 26, page 20: In “Five green chemistry success stories,” the position of CF3 and OCH3 groups in the structure of letermovir were reversed. The correct structure is shown.

July 17, page 37: The survivor list in the Cornelius Steelink obituary should have included “Predeceased by first wife, Jean.” The memories should have been attributed to “Steelink family and friends.”


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