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The Profession of Chemistry

Nature volume 104, pages 409410 (25 December 1919) | Download Citation



THE late Sir Henry Roscoe, in his autobiography, relates that when he had made up his mind to follow chemistry as a profession his decision caused astonishment and even dismay among his friends and relations, who asked him if he intended to open a shop with red and blue glass bottles in the window. This, he added, was not an extraordinary question in the early 'fifties. Some persons would consider it as not more extraordinary to-day. Fairly well informed people have gradually learned to understand that there is a distinction between the professional chemist and the pharmacist, but the general community still regards the shopkeeper who dispenses medicines and sells drugs and anything else that he thinks may appeal to his clients as a chemist, because he calls himself such. This needless confusion in the public mind exists nowhere else in Europe, and would not exist here if our Legislature and the Public Departments concerned with the issue of Royal charters, and, it may be added, our lay Press, were better acquainted with the functions and aims of the science of chemistry as distinguished from the art and craft of pharmacy.

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