The heartland of chemistry has been subdivided and let to surrounding disciplines, which still squabble over the boundaries. But wait, didn’t we deal with all that when we shifted to the chemical sciences, a phrase that spans a spectrum of disciplinary disorder? Perhaps that just prolonged the final moments of chemistry.
Some will tell you that chemistry has had its day and has merely become the scapegoat for environmental disaster. We’re often painted a picture of chemistry as a subject that is neutered in school, simplified in the universities, and irrelevant to everyday life. People might well ask what chemistry has got left to offer the world.
I am very proud to be a chemist and am not afraid to tell people. I will put up with the unimaginative response indicating how hard chemistry was at school, and the knowing nod which indicates I’m one of those geeks who lurks amidst the test tubes. Stereotypes aside, chemistry has so much to offer but will likely never receive credit, mainly because its contributions are in the disputed territories between disciplines. I find that a little sad.
The Undercover academic is a university lecturer in the UK