Eric Hansen is a PhD Candidate in Physical Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His main research interest is the preparation of complex nanocrystals with notable optoelectronic, magnetic, morphological, or chemical properties.


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Reinventing Chemistry -- An Introduction

"That life is simply molecular behavior is disconcerting; that human thought is more of the same is even more so." -George Whitesides

DOI 10.1002/anie.201410884

Being a young scientist, I have invested most of my time pursuing the practice of chemistry and have only begun to dabble in its study. My initial efforts into research focused on improving previous literature reports, making small modifications, and then studying the output. I still do this, but I used to, too. However, I did not initially consider which scientific questions warranted more attention than others. In "Reinventing Chemistry", the history of scientific problems over the past 100 years or so are explored, while predictions about the future of chemistry-based research are made.

Dr. Whitesides highlights a number of evolving characteristics of Chemistry as a field: the blending of fields of study, the lessening need for chemical synthesis methods for the chemical industry, and the omnipresence of chemistry in many (if not all) large-scale issues that mankind faces. After introducing 24 topics as "New Classes of Problems", the reader is left with an overwhelming feeling that there is work to be done--a lot of work.

Though this Essay was published in 2015, I do not feel that the topics have aged; though, more topics related to gene editing might be warranted with new discoveries since its publication. Dr. Whitesides noted the brevity employed in each of the topics he presented so I will attempt to expand on each topic on a weekly basis--an exercise for me to better understand science and the subtleties that take a thought from being an interesting topic to a revolutionary idea.

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Reinventing Chemistry -- An Introduction

"That life is simply molecular behavior is disconcerting; that human thought is more of the same is even more so." -George Whitesi...