From the Editor
What do you do when you find yourself wondering about the meaning of your job? While working more and ignoring the question might be an option, it does not provide the satisfaction that one might look for! Personally, I have often found the motivation and energy I needed in a lecture hall, listening to someone talk about science.
While I was a college student, having enrolled in chemistry classes, there were many times when I lost sight of the big picture and my interest started to wane. The classes were very technical, and the numerous challenges were apparently unrelated to each other. And yet, for myself, I needed to acquire a sense of progression, which did not transpire easily from our curriculum. One highly motivating moment occurred when I attended a public lecture by Hubert Reeves. With humor, energy, and simplicity, this charismatic scientist took us on a journey of the universe. The picture was bright and clear: science was the answer, and chemistry an exciting part of it. Science is a puzzle, and in a few words, Reeves explained to those assembled the joy of putting the pieces together. At that time, he gave me the motivation to continue my degree—and to go back to p. chem. and thermo. classes.
During graduate school, I was fortunate to attend several scientific meetings where I received inspiration from many lecturers. Those who most impressed me were not only chemists, but those who tried to reach beyond the boundaries of their specific disciplines. For example, I recall listening to physicists, who spoke about solitons and polarons and who made us understand that behind a concept there is a reality that comes from the understanding of physics merged with chemistry; and biologists and biochemists who showed how nature works, and encouraged us to reproduce and/or adapt similar processes for designing drugs or protecting crops.
Today, I have left the laboratory, but I am still privileged to have a job that keeps me close to science and scientists. At work, I often have the chance to push things forward and hopefully facilitate the job of volunteers who choose to participate in IUPAC activities. When all that is not enough to keep me going, I simply return to the science lecture hall at a nearby university and the magic happens once again as the new ideas and challenges of science provide fresh motivation. This August however, the place to go for such inspiration will be the IUPAC Congress, where the theme of Chemistry at the Interfaces promises many vibrant presentations.
Page last modified 30 June 2003.
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