This letter is in response to Ronald Breslow's Commentary titled "Let's Put an End to `Chemophobia' " (The Scientist, March 22, 1993, page 12). As a 1984 Ph.D. who has held entry-level industrial chemistry positions, I agree with Breslow's claims that chemistry is important. He concludes by encouraging students to consider chemistry.

The real reason that students are not going into chemistry does not have much to do with "image." Instead, students are recognizing that while chemistry is very important, the economic consequences of such a choice are very negative. Usually, unless a young scientist achieves "superstar" status, he or she will be looking forward to substantial periods of unemployment or underemployment. Depending on one's perspective, the reason for this is either (a) overproduction of scientists and engineers or (b) underabsorption of scientists and engineers by prospective employers of scientists and engineers. With either perspective, the imbalance is a supply...

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