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Chemists Concerned About How Their Field is Viewed

Posted on December 13th, 2017 by in Chemistry

Chemistry Opinion Survey 2017-12-11 15-06-07

Chemistry and its importance in everyday life is often underrated at best, and wildly misunderstood at worst. The stock image of scientists in white lab coats holding beakers of toxic chemicals has been hard to shake, and many people use “chemicals” as a bad word referring to something that is synthetic and dangerous. Chemists, of course, know better than this. They know that chemistry has a key role in bringing us everything from safe, nutritious food to life-saving medicines.

But do ALL scientists (and would-be scientists) understand this? It may be that chemistry’s image problem isn’t just about some consumers not being aware of the sector’s great value to society. It may also be that students looking to enter a career in the sciences could be affected by these perceptions. And if it appears to them that the most exciting breakthroughs are happening in other scientific fields, they may be drawn in that direction instead.

This would be especially unfortunate if you consider that chemistry is actually driving much of the positive change in the sustainability movement and will be crucial in solving the greatest challenges that we face in the future, like the need for renewable energy and clean water for a growing global population. Now more than ever, we need the best and brightest young scientific minds going into the chemistry field—and we also need to ensure that they are empowered with the best tools to help them do their work.

In a recent survey, Elsevier’s Reaxys team asked 186 chemistry researchers, students, educators and other industry professionals questions on these subjects, getting their thoughts on the current state of chemistry, its reputation, innovation, the growth of technology and digital tools, and more. Their responses, which we captured in this infographic, revealed some fascinating insights about how chemists view their sector and its future.

View the infographic.

All opinions shared in this post are the author’s own.

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