The American Chemical Society (ACS) today released its 2007 annual report, Our Science, Our Lives, Our Stories. In their own words, dozens of ACS members, including Nobel Prize Laureate Roald Hoffmann, describe why they became chemists, what they find rewarding about their work and how the transforming power of chemistry helps address mounting global problems and improves people’s lives.
Whether their interest in chemistry was nurtured by an elegant book, an encouraging parent or an extraordinary teacher, most ACS members say the science captivated them early in life and never let go.
“My interest in chemistry was sparked by two main sources: my first chemistry set at age 12 and watching my favorite program, Mr. Wizard,” recalls Isiah M. Warner, a 33-year ACS member who is a professor of chemistry at Louisiana State University. “While others were watching cartoons on Saturday morning, I was watching Mr. Wizard.”
For Hoffmann, who was inspired at age 10 to become a chemist after reading about Marie Curie and George Washington Carver, chemistry is more than just a science.
“Chemistry is truly a democratizing force, making available to a wide range of people products and comforts that were available to only a few in centuries past,” he says.
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