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Vol. 28 No. 5
September-October 2006

Past President's Column — ChemistryA Core Science with a Political Dimension

by Leiv K. Sydnes

Chemistry plays a key role everywhere in the world, irrespective of a particular country's level of development. Whether
the issue is nutrition, crop production, water quality, pollution cleanup, pest control, drug development, fuel efficiency, or biofuels, chemistry is a central discipline for solving many of the crucial problems facing us today.

For our science, such a position is quite prestigious. However, since issues such as those listed above are also hot items on the political agenda, it is inevitable that chemistry, clearly or indirectly, becomes entangled in political processes and at times even ends up playing a major role in events that chemists cannot control. It is therefore no exaggeration to state that there is a significant political dimension associated with chemistry. Surprisingly enough, many chemists are astonished to discover this fact and they typically react by declining to interact with the public and refusing to become involved in any political process.

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