The future of chemistry: a young chemist’s perspective
As a young chemist and recent PhD graduate, I am constantly looking to the future to decide the next steps in my chosen profession. Fifty years from now, I will presumably be at the end of my career and it is hard to imagine what the world will be like. Technology advances much faster than it used to, and it has had a great impact on the chemical enterprise.
I will focus on two issues that I hope we in the chemistry community can address. Firstly, a genuine concern of mine is the pollution of the oceans from plastic waste ; banning plastic straws is one small step in a positive direction, but the problem is much larger than that. Second, at a more human level, we must strive to improve the inclusion and diversity of the chemical field. Although women are more visible than in previous generations, men still hold many of the high-level leadership positions at universities and major companies. Moreover, the field is still predominantly white ; people of color and people from different socioeconomic backgrounds often are not afforded the same privileges when it comes to professional development.
In spite of the dire situations facing our world, I have hope for the future.