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September 5, 2005
Volume 83, Number 36
p. 77



The borders between once-distinct scientific disciplines are growing increasingly blurry. This presents aspiring chemists with both novel challenges and new opportunities. In this special report, C&EN explores some of the ways in which chemistry is crossing traditional divides--between medicine, chemistry, and biology; between industry and academia; and between research and teaching.

8336ed1_lab.tifcxd PHOTO BY PETER CUTTS

First, Associate Editor Amanda Yarnell reports from a scenic Greek isle about a summer school focusing on the interface between chemistry and biology. The intense two-week course allowed almost 100 chemistry and biology grad students and postdocs to learn about cutting-edge interdisciplinary research. Opportunities for informal mingling and conversation let both faculty and students leave the program with new scientific understanding and a better grasp of promising research possibilities.

Many graduate students head off to faculty positions without adequate preparation for their substantial teaching duties. C&EN's summer intern, David A. Barry, explores some of the new programs allowing chemistry grad students and postdocs who want to focus on education to gain teaching experience. These programs show students how to balance the time conflicts of a faculty position and give them a leg up during the job hunt.

Landing a faculty position always takes years and years of education. But some chemists take this to extremes by enrolling in combined M.D.-Ph.D. courses. Associate Editor Aalok Mehta describes the drawbacks and benefits of such programs; training can take more than a decade, but physician-scientists tend to find faculty positions more easily, amass significantly less debt, and obtain better funding than those with only medical degrees or Ph.D.s.

Finally, Senior Editor Celia M. Henry describes a unique partnership pushing the bounds of industry-academia collaboration. The DuPont-Massachusetts Institute of Technology Alliance focuses strongly on education by providing fellowships for grad students without attaching strings and offering students the opportunity to participate in heavily collaborative research projects that provide a glimpse of real-world research life.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2010 American Chemical Society


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