Issue Date: February 6, 2017
Responses to Newscripts
The article “Firmenich’s whiff whacking” in Newscripts shows a picture of Bill Gates inhaling a synthetic latrine smell compound by taking a direct sniff of the chemicals from the glassware (C&EN, Jan. 2, page 56). However, to take every opportunity to enhance readers’ lab safety awareness, it would be helpful if the picture showed him smelling with the proper technique of cupping his hand above the container and wafting the air toward him as common chemical safety procedure requires.
I find the Newscripts column “A talk so bad, it’s good” insensitive and appalling (C&EN, Jan. 16, page 40). Everyone appreciates a gifted speaker who is well prepared and is in command of the material and the audience, but most of us fall short. Some of the most interesting information I have heard is shared by people who are great scientist/researchers but are not gifted at presenting.
To suggest that the audience should practice Bad Talk Bingo is deplorable. You show a picture that looks to be a classroom. I can just imagine the poor student who is nervously presenting their research after two years of work and hours of preparation. They struggle to make it through the presentation only to hear someone shout “bingo.” I can only imagine what it would be like if the student has any speech impediment.
Thomas C. Hemling
Jan. 23, page 26: In the feature story about how thin films helped detect gravitational waves, LMA was referred to as a French specialty coatings firm. It is a specialty coatings research center based at Claud Bernard University Lyon 1 in France.
Jan. 23, page 28: The multipart cover story package on machine learning contained the following errors: The introduction incorrectly stated that GlaxoSmithKline is partnering with a pair of government labs. The firm is partnering with more than two government labs. In the piece on deep learning, Mark Murcko is listed as chief scientific officer of Relay Pharmaceuticals. He is CSO of Relay Therapeutics. In the piece on machine learning, the reaction scheme is credited to Chematica. It should be credited to ChemPlanner.
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