Saturday, July 9, 2016

Academic chemistry in Venezuela not doing so hot?

Via the science web magazine Undark, sad stories from Venezuela (by Aleszu Bajak):
...“Theft has become routine,” said Gioconda San Blas, a biochemist and president of Venezuela’s Academy of Physical, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, who recently wrote about the looting of Venezuela’s laboratories. “And they’re not only stealing things. They’re taking biological samples. How do you replace the biological heritage of a laboratory?” 
“The federal sources of science funding are practically paralyzed due to an absence of economic funds,” said Alberto Fernandez, a chemistry professor at the the Central University. “We’re living a tragedy.” 
Gabriel Fraute, a chemistry graduate student at the University of the Andes in the western city of Mérida, said he had to pick up a job at a restaurant to help support his family while he tries to finish his thesis. In the laboratory, he says, things are dire. Virtually no reagents are left in the country, making chemical experiments of any kind difficult, if not impossible. 
“We’re very behind in instruments. They’re very old, broken and difficult to repair,” he said. “It’s also difficult to access scientific journals.”
Yikes. I know things haven't looked so great for Venezuela in the post-Chavez area (and it's not like I presumed that Venezuelan academic science was particularly well-funded), but this sounds pretty dire. I wonder - where do Venezuela graduate students go to study? Brazil? The United States? Readers, what say you? 


  1. Patriot Drinking Games? The Beer and the Dragon? Rainbow Sixpack?

  2. I think we sometimes forget science is for privileged countries with the money and resources to conduct experiments. It's very unfortunate to read things like this because our scientist siblings are unable to tap into their full potential because of political or other external circumstances. Hopefully, they can come to the U.S. or wherever to follow their passion.

  3. "The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money." Margaret Thatcher.

    Coming soon to America? I wonder...