Analytical chemists trekking to New Orleans for this month’s Pittsburgh conference might be forgiven a certain amount of hubris. Their services are in demand, by industry and academia, as never before. “I think it’s the tightest area in chemistry, with the possible exception of polymer chemistry,” declares Ted Logan, Manager of Ph.D. recruiting at Procter & Gamble Co.

Actually, the U.S. supply of Ph.D.s in analytical chemistry is rising. The compound growth rate of 6.7 percent between 1981 and 1985 was almost double the 3.7 percent that applied to all chemistry Ph.D.s. But that level of growth is still too slow to meet the rapidly rising industrial demand. In fact industry recruiters worry that their offers of high salaries and state-of-the-art equipment will draw too many analytical chemists away from academia, and hence threaten the supply of the next generation of Ph.D.s.

What has created the demand? Experts point to...

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