Academic and industrial researchers hold differing views on whether--and how severely--the chemistry profession is suffering
Talk to academic chemists these days and they're likely to tell you they're worried. The anxiety they feel doesn't concern a difficult experiment; rather, they fear for the future of their profession. They see fewer United States college students majoring in chemistry. But they also see diminishing quality in the current crop of doctorates. They see unfilled job openings for chemistry faculty at their universities, and they feel threatened by an increase in the number of foreign chemistry doctorates vying to move into these positions.

They worry that the U.S. will fail to attract the young scientific hopefuls needed to replace the chemists who will be either retired or deceased by the end of the 1990s; they add muscle to their warning with the prediction that if academic chemistry falls, so will American industry. They...

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