Letters to the editor
Immigrants and US science
I applaud Andrea Widener, the writer of the article “Science in the US Is Built on Immigrants” (C&EN, March 4, page 34). She delineated well the seminal R&D and technology-transfer contributions of international doctoral and postdoctoral scholars, many of whom naturalized afterward, to the socioeconomic welfare and quality of life in the US. In fact, the robust entrepreneurial spirits of millions of such highly skilled immigrants toward US global competitiveness are well documented by myriad think tanks and the federal government and thence remain indisputable. Moreover, she has correctly demonstrated the adverse ramifications on the flow of international students and scholars into the US, post-9/11 but far more markedly since the 2016 national election.
As to the title of the feature article, I would have phrased it a bit more inclusively so as to highlight not only immigrants but also international students; after all, a portion of them after graduation return home or to a third country but subconsciously act as good-will ambassadors of the US in their regions.
I would also have hoped she had mentioned the adverse impact of the political rhetoric on the career opportunities and advancement of the naturalized Americans, especially those born in the seven countries including Iran; the seven were unilaterally selected by the current administration for extreme visa restrictions.
David N. Rahni
Pleasantville, New York
Your illustration of the structure of a copper-based metal-organic framework on page 9 in C&EN’s March 4 issue was very difficult for me to interpret. Like many males, I have a mild red-green color deficiency. The colors in the aforementioned structure illustration were not sufficiently contrasting to make the structure easy to interpret. Even in strong light, I am still not sure which atoms are colored as carbon, nitrogen, copper, or halogens. Only a general knowledge of organic chemistry gives me any clue as to the identities of the individual atoms in the structure drawing. From my visual vantage point, your representation is not an improvement over structures using conventional condensed representations and/or conventional atomic symbols. Your illustration of the structure of berkelium(III) tris(dipicolinate) on page 24 of the same issue was slightly better, owing to greater contrast between the colors representing the various atoms. I ask that you please consider your readers with color vision impairments in future editing and representations of structures.
David J. Cohen