The creative chemist
Top : descriptors in organic chemistry have matured over the centuries, from taste and odor to the modern concepts such as aromaticity.
Bottom : descriptors in nanochemistry are the nanoparticles average diameter and composition, along with schematics to describe the morphology.
As a 34-year old chemist, I belong to the ill-defined category of the “early-career scientists” or, more casually, the “young chemists” : a generation that grew up under a dire lack of academic positions, was raised under the tyranny of the impact factor, and committed early on to a never-ending grant-seeking quest, in order to fulfill a passion for chemistry : its wonders, its wealth of possibilities, its collective endeavor, its ability to create a better world.
In my views, current evolution of career paths and working conditions are strangling creativity of the young scientists. Short-term project funding, tenure evaluations based on productivity more than originality, conformism of some hiring processes that do not receive well the interdisciplinary profiles, mandatory duties on many fronts (administrative tasks, management, teaching, refereeing…), are as many obstacles preventing creative work.
So let’s encourage atypical career paths, let’s welcome people who crossed disciplinary boundaries, and let’s improve our listening and collaboration skills to welcome the creative chemist !