There is no role for bench chemists: technology will replace them. Discuss.

A Job losses are an inevitable consequence of advances in technology and the clinical chemistry laboratory provides a relevant illustration of the impact of automation technology on the work force. Significant staffing reductions have resulted, but none of the currently available automation technologies can operate without the oversight of chemistry staff - so the role of the chemist is assured for the foreseeable future! 

Larry Kricka, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, US

A Tremendous advances in computational chemistry have enabled ’normal’ chemists without an extensive background in quantum mechanics to predict important properties of molecular materials and pharmaceuticals. So, do we really need to go to the lab and do the experiment? The answer is a clear and unequivocal yes. First, the predictions might be inconclusive and we need the experiment to find the correct answer; second, an adequate calculation can often take longer than lab work; third, an elegant and efficient synthesis can only be planned and carried out by a skilled and experienced bench chemist; and fourth, we need the actual material to work with, a picture and a spreadsheet won’t do.

Matthias Bremer, Merck, Germany

A I disagree that technology will replace the bench chemist. The important role of bench chemists is to use their brains to produce new technology that will help the future development of society.

Kiyokatsu Jinno, Toyohashi University of Technology, Japan