Monday, April 25, 2016

This week's C&EN

A few of the articles from this week's C&EN

9 comments:

  1. "Star students" went to Bell Labs? That's impossible-everyone knows that only Big Government can fund Science!

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    1. I think it's a bit more nuanced. Because of the government-sanctioned monopoly position enjoyed by AT&T until the breakup of the Bell System in the 1980's, the Bell companies functioned effectively as the State Telecommunications system of the USA. As such, they were guaranteed margins sufficient to support Bell Labs, where indeed much basic science was done. The situation was not much different from that of State-run telecommunications ministries in other countries, most of which also maintained high-level research labs. The court-mandated breakup of the Bell system (due to lawsuits originated by MCI) ended the monopoly, which ended the high margins, which was the beginning of the end of Bell Labs. So government had a strong hand in this- when there was State support, the lab was successful; once that support was withdrawn (i.e. when the monopoly was ended), the entire effort collapsed within 2 decades.

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  2. Oh, and nice work on the superscripts becoming part of the company names in that table, C&EN; I always wanted a nice "Shimadzub" pump. Did they lay off all the layout people there too?

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    1. Fixed! Or my own browser fault, who knows.

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  3. Yes, star physics students go to finance and consulting.

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  4. Unfortunately hedge funds and Wall Street have siphoned off many star physics and math students. But when there's few academic jobs around it's hard to complain about it.

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  5. Unfortunately hedge funds and Wall Street have siphoned off many star physics and math students. But when there's few academic jobs around it's hard to complain about it.

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  6. Re: "Interesting comment that "I can already see my molecules." Fair enough, but perhaps the point of virtual reality may be to show you where your chemical intuition is wrong? " I too can "see" my molecules most of the time. It's also a question I like to ask my artist friends- can they actually see the painting, sculpture, hear the music, etc. in their mind as they set about creating it. VR can be pretty slick, and should provide insights, subject to the limitations of the software used to create the VR. Not all insights may be real, either.

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