I am sure that the American Chemical Society individuals who take the survey on salaries (C&EN, Nov. 4, 2019, page 18) are not only disappointed but frustrated by the poor percentage of members willing to answer a few questions. This is particularly the case when I am convinced that a majority of your members are eager to see the results and compare their salaries with the average for their classification.
How can ACS receive an increased percentage of responses to a survey critical to most members and at the same time ensure that the population responding is random? Unfortunately, the same poor response is exhibited in the voting for ACS officers, with this percentage below 10% (C&EN, Nov. 4, 2019, page 5). Certainly I do not have the answers.
New York City
I am grateful to Howard Barth for his rich tribute to the life and work of Primo Levi (C&EN, Sept. 23, 2019, page 3). For many years I assigned The Periodic Table to my senior inorganic chemistry students to help foster an appreciation of the subject. Levi wrote about chemistry with insight, autobiographical and historical detail, and a good dose of fantasy (“Titanium” and “Mercury” chapters). His essay “The Mark of the Chemist,” in the book Other People’s Trades, takes us back to the days when there was little attention to laboratory safety and the majority of chemists could recognize one another by the scar left by a glass tube inexpertly pushed through a rubber stopper. Books such as The Periodic Table, Oliver Sacks’s Uncle Tungsten, and Lars Öhrström’s The Last Alchemist in Paris can be of great value to the general reader as well as chemists at all levels.
Louis J. Kirschenbaum
Kingston, Rhode Island
The American Chemical Society’s 2018 IRS Form 990 is now available on the ACS website. To access the information, go to www.acs.org/acsirsform990. Please scroll toward the bottom of the page to access the 2018 form and related Guide to Schedule J for explanatory information regarding ACS executive compensation. If you have any access problems, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.