The editorial about awards season prompts my every-five-years-or-so harangue about the awards given by the American Chemical Society (C&EN, Jan. 21, page 3).
The majority of ACS members work in industry; a minority work in academia. The vast majority of ACS awards go to academia. As one distinguished academic colleague told me recently, “All we do is get awards.” Indeed. Occasionally an industrial chemist or engineer will win an award other than the industrial chemistry award. Here is the message ACS is delivering: The best of the best work is in academia.
I am a 30-plus-year industrial bench chemist. You know, bench, where actual chemistry gets done. I tell my colleagues that a Science paper, the endgame in academia, is a good start!
Folks, the chemical enterprise provides actual material solutions critical to society’s needs. To say that only research from academia is award-worthy is wrong.
Larry LewisI've long been convinced that these awards are basically some sort of in-group sort of thing. I suppose what this means is that the academics are better at establishing those sorts of awards and handing them out.
(I wonder if anyone has a statistical analysis of all the different ACS awards. Probably not. (I wonder if Dr. Lewis has one?))