I loved the title of Rudy Baum’s editorial “The Drama of Chemistry,” as chemistry is really such a fascinating subject—so full of drama (C&EN, May 7, page 3).
Carl Djerassi (whom I have always admired) is probably right that so many theater professionals are threatened or terrified by the subject. That is really sad because they miss so much. As Djerassi said, people are more interested in hearing about adultery than chemistry. Maybe we need a different word for chemistry.
John Emsley wrote “Molecules of Murder,” which is really about chemistry, although it is the “murder” that fascinated people. Agatha Christie wrote about many poisons—chemistry as drama.
Ewan MacColl wrote “Uranium 235,” a play that may have been about the bomb but that contained quite a bit about chemistry. James Watson has done us a service by writing about the drama that went on behind the scenes in the discovery of the structure of DNA. Chemistry is really about life, but sadly so many equate it with a terribly boring school subject to be avoided if possible.
Even Sherlock Holmes dabbled in chemistry!
By Thomas D. Smith
Oak Harbor, Wash