Monday, November 28, 2011

Better times, better times...

A sweet letter from this week's Chemical and Engineering News:
I was 17 years old and canoeing down the Suwannee River in north Florida with my Boy Scout troop. My scoutmaster was a chief chemist at a quality-control lab in an International Minerals & Chemical’s phosphate facility in central Florida. While sitting around a campfire one night with another adult chaperone—who happened also to be a chemist working for IMC—my scoutmaster asked me the typical question an adult asks of a teenager: “So, Joe, what are you going to study in college?” I responded in a typical teenager-like way: “I don’t know. I’ll probably study biology and go to medical school like my father.” 
Both chemists sitting with me around the campfire that night simultaneously responded: “Well, you should study chemistry instead of biology if you’re thinking about going to medical school. If things don’t pan out, chemistry is a much better degree to fall back on.” I thought about it for a second. It certainly made sense. I decided then and there to study chemistry and never looked back, and I never applied to medical school. Fate is a funny thing. 
By Joseph E. Coury
Houston
I'd still say that chemistry is a better fallback choice than biology, but I'd be much more hesitant about recommending it as a career choice. Sigh.

3 comments:

  1. Well, we've always got worm juice to fall back on. Sigh indeed

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204443404577052353225234154.html

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  2. You know, I saw that article. Sad/good? Depends on what your previous income was, I suppose.

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  3. I actually new this guy in grad school. Gung-ho, technically good, and was able to surf some really good ideas from his advisors. Not sure if he developed his own ideas, but may have. Anyway, just the kind of guy that if he could swallow his pride would be a great shill for Medellin Jacobs.

    I hope his career is going better than mine. Probably is.

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