Which country has the best system for educating professional chemists and why?
A: The optimal system for synthetic organic chemists is a hybrid of the middle-European and US systems. A European education focuses on chemistry, biology, physics and mathematics, exposure to laboratory work, comprehensive exams, and a research project. The US system excels in its coverage of current literature, elitism, and expectations during the PhD.
Peter Wipf, University of Pittsburgh, US
A: In Germany there are laborious practical exercises whereas in the UK there are more PC controlled problem-solving experiments. Practical exercises that mimic real working laboratories would be best. German students excel with a broader factual knowledge; in the UK, problem solving skills are more valued. For a traditional but sound chemistry degree, choose a German university, for a customised chemistry program, come to the UK.
J?rg Feldmann, University of Aberdeen, UK
A: Lectures in basic chemistries are completed much earlier in Japanese than in US and German universities. But it is not too late to start a research career after intensive learning on basic knowledge. Knowledge will last a lifetime, but a specific research skill lasts only several years. Our dean began reforming the education system in our graduate school last year.
Takehiko Kitamori, University of Tokyo, Japan