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Benfey Responds

I n a letter to the editor [The Scientist, Feb. 4, 1990, page 14], B.J. Luberoff objected to a key sentence in my Commentary ["We Need To See And Teach Science's Historical Context," The Scientist, Dec. 10, 1990, page 14]: "After all, it is science that has brought the world materials that now cause environmental pollution and made possible the engines of modern war." He states that science brought us only knowledge, not materials. However, Roald Hoffmann has been emphasizing that chemists are

Otto Theodore Benfey
I n a letter to the editor [The Scientist, Feb. 4, 1990, page 14], B.J. Luberoff objected to a key sentence in my Commentary ["We Need To See And Teach Science's Historical Context," The Scientist, Dec. 10, 1990, page 14]: "After all, it is science that has brought the world materials that now cause environmental pollution and made possible the engines of modern war." He states that science brought us only knowledge, not materials.

However, Roald Hoffmann has been emphasizing that chemists are a peculiar and creative breed. They largely make the materials they then study, rather than studying the given--their material environment. Luberoff lists as the people who make materials engineers, miners, housewives, carpenters, and even professors. Are the professors not practicing science when they synthesize a new compound? The pages of "pure" science journals are full of synthetic products. Scientists split the atom; scientists made LDS, liquid chlorine,...

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