Changing the world with chemistry These women use chemistry to make cutting-edge materials, new medicines and more Bethany Brookshire Sep 21, — 7: This system is used to control flowing liquids such as oil. When the flow gets too high, the surge relief system stops it from causing damage. Jha Science News for Students asked women in science, technology, engineering and math STEM to send us their pictures, videos and sound clips.
No comments In his final column, Mark Peplow gives his verdict on careers, collaboration and public engagement This is the last of my Critical Point columns for Chemistry World.
The first is about how chemists present their subject to the wider world, and how that shapes public attitudes to chemistry. The second concerns chemistry as a career, or as the foundation for a panoply of other jobs.
And the third is about science as a collaboration, one that can unite people across disciplinary and national boundaries. There have been significant developments in all of these areas during my stint at the Critical Point coalface. But have they been changes for the better — and what are the prospects for the future?
A wider conversation Many chemists see outreach as a way to inspire the next generation of chemists. Researchers who benefit from government funding, ultimately paid for by taxpayers, have a responsibility to explain to the public what they do and why they do it.
In stark contrast to the expectations of RSC members, it did not uncover an ingrained suspicion of chemistry and its practitioners. Instead, it simply found a lack of awareness, worse than for most other fields of science.
Even a brief discussion with focus group participants was enough to stir positive opinions about chemistry and its practical benefits.
The Public attitudes to chemistry repor t came with a communication toolkit that offers chemists valuable advice on how to talk to people about their subject — not only in public lectures or outreach events, but also in day-to-day interactions.
Its goal is to help more chemists become confident ambassadors for their subject.
So did it make any difference? Anecdotally, more chemists are getting involved in these efforts, joining the hardcore of enthusiastic and dedicated people who have been doing chemistry outreach for a long time.
It also helps to cement the idea among chemists themselves that outreach is a worthwhile activity. Being an ambassador is an ongoing task, and there are more opportunities than ever to have meaningful conversations with people about chemistry.
Universities need to acknowledge that and help students to understand the dizzying array of employment options that chemistry unlocks. For now, though, the provision for such careers training is still patchy at best and undervalued by many academics.
Universities also need to prepare their students for the world of work beyond the lab. Postdocs need similar support. These days, many face years in low-paid positions before they secure a permanent job, and all too often they are left poorly equipped for a career outside of academia.
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Whitesides earned a PhD in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology, where his graduate work focused on the use of NMR spectroscopy in organic chemistry.
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