Letter from William B. Cook to Marshall W. Nirenberg
Cook asks Nirenberg to serve as a member of the Steering Committee for an International Symposium on Education in Chemistry
to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the American Chemical Society's Division of Chemical Education.
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1969-04-17 (April 17, 1969)
Cook, William B.
American Chemical Society
Nirenberg, Marshall W.
Reproduced with permission of William B. Cook.
Beyond the Laboratory: Professional, Personal, and Political Life, 1967-2002
I will state the purpose of this letter immediately. I would like to ask you to devote a bit of your valuable time to serve
as a member of the Steering Committee for an International Symposium on Education in Chemistry which will commemorate the
50th Anniversary of the American Chemical Society's Division of Chemical Education.
The objective of the Symposium is to bring together outstanding research chemists from industry, government and academae to
consider chemical education at the college and university level. Chemists from around the world will be asked to participate.
Research chemists are not always as intimately involved in the educational process as those who are more "teaching"
oriented, yet it is essential that the research oriented chemist contribute his thinking to the process of educating students
Support for this Symposium, to be held at Snowmass-at-Aspen, Colorado during the summer of 1970, has been guaranteed by the
Division of Chemical Education. The ACS Board of Directors, at its December 8, 1968 meeting, voted to ". . . . endorse
the concept of a 50th Anniversary Symposium on Education in Chemistry sponsored by the Division of Chemical Education and
offer its assistance to the Division in the preliminary planning of the Symposium." Robert L. Silber, Director of Membership
Activities of ACS together with the Division's Executive Committee will assist the Steering Committee in every way possible.
The 1970 Symposium will be the first of a continuing biennial series of symposia on education in chemistry. All symposia
speakers, panel members and colloquia leaders will be selected on the basis of the quality of their work. The Division will
continue to sponsor technical programs at ACS national meetings as has been practiced in the past.
The "Westheimer Report" of 1965 called attention to the dissatisfaction of chemists with support of research in chemistry.
Scant attention was devoted in the report to the dissatisfaction of chemists with the scope and quality of chemistry instruction.
In one part of the document, the authors admit that the report failed to examine in sufficient detail the ". . . . balance
in teaching and research" and suggest that, ". . . . chemistry could well profit from a further study of educational
needs and opportunities, and perhaps from long-range research in education." Research in chemical education has a better
chance for success if chemists such as yourself participate.
The steering committee will be responsible for developing the symposium program. The committee probably will convene only
two or three times for one day. We hope to hold the first meeting during May, 1969. Your advice and counsel may be sought
on other occasions via phone or letter.
Please give serious thought to this proposal. Bob Silber will call you soon to discuss personally your anticipated participation
as a steering committee member. All of your expenses will be covered.