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Chemical Developments and Our Daily Life

Nature volume 160, pages 3536 (12 July 1947) | Download Citation



The celebration next week of the centenary of the Chemical Society (see Nature, July 5, p. 6), and the meeting of the International Congress of Pure and Applied Chemistry following it, afford a fitting opportunity to cast a glance at some of the more important applications of the science as they affect the daily life of the ordinary citizen. Despite progress in education, the great majority of people seem to have but an inkling of the part played by chemistry and its sister sciences in improving the material conditions of their existence, and very few have any real interest in the subject; they will grasp for an aspirin, grab for a ‘nylon’ stocking or a coat of many colours, they make full use of the modern rapid means of communication, and relish the margarine that now masquerades as butter, without a thought that these innovations are the outcome of long and patient research in chemistry, physics or biology. One may excuse such ignorance and apathy in those who were born in Victorian days, but there is less excuse for the younger generations, although these also have been handicapped at school in their range of interests by too much concentration on the distant past.

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