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C&EN Special Issue – CAS Celebrates 100 Years

June 11, 2007
Volume 85, Number 24
Web Exclusive

Not As Easy As It Looks

E. Thomas Strom, Volunteer Abstractor

I started volunteering after I got out of the Army in 1966. I was working for Mobil in electron spin resonance. I'm not sure where I read that CAS wanted abstractors, but I volunteered in my field because I figured that was the area I wanted to read about anyway. Plus, I would get the literature in advance of publication. I volunteered for a year or two.

Writing a good abstract is not as easy as it looks. You want to have enough content so people know whether they're going to be interested in the article, but you don't want to be redundant. The title can give you some hint that you might be interested in a particular article, but if the abstract is well-written, it really tells you whether you want to home in or skip it and not worry about it. The abstract is a really vital link. It was then, and it is now.

Knowing what abstractors go through, I try to write the very best abstract I can, along with writing the best article I can.

I retired from Mobil at age 59-and-a-half. I continue to teach part-time at the University of Texas, Arlington.

Strom received a B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of Iowa (1958), an M.S. in nuclear chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley (1961), and a Ph.D. in physical organic chemistry from Iowa State University (1964). He worked 32 years for Mobil Research & Development Corp. in Dallas, before retiring in 1995. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Texas, Arlington, and is editor of The Southwest Retort, a regional ACS newsletter for members in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and New Mexico.

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