...Having enjoyed both high school biology and physics, I became a biophysics major in college and, as such, finally took an introductory chemistry course as a sophomore. There I was turned on as much by the glassware and equipment as by the chemistry itself. By the end of my junior year, I concluded there were more job opportunities in chemistry than in biophysics or biology and changed my major. I took three chemistry courses with labs each semester of my senior year. After graduation, I was hired by Ford Motor Co. and given responsibility for solving real problems in various manufacturing plants, meeting occasionally with plant managers, and so on. This heady experience led me to claim that “I didn’t know I wanted to be a chemist until I was one.”
Subsequently, as a Ph.D. student at Purdue University, I was exposed to the challenge of fundamental research, which led me to a 43-year career in research and teaching at Wayne State University. I encountered many students who became enthusiastic about chemistry during their undergraduate years, particularly those who engaged in real research projects. For me, an ideal 21st-century chemistry set would provide materials that students can apply to their everyday environment. Even the best-designed canned experiments will not always excite an inquiring mind.
David RorabacherI wonder if Ford hires B.S. chemists anymore? And if they do, whether or not they give them as much responsibility as Dr. Rorabacher seemed to have? Neat story.
Traverse City, Mich.