Peter Anderson writes (bookshelf, Bulletin, Oct. 2003) "university departments such as chemistry and physics whose major role in the undergraduate curriculum for many years has been the provision of introductory service courses to biology, biochemistry and engineering students." Oh dear! How could I have wasted my time all these years teaching advanced organic chemistry to undergraduates?
Thank you Peter Anderson for enlightening me on my true function at the university. I will immediately set about contacting my former students who are now pursuing graduate studies or who are gainfully employed in Canada or the U.S. to let them know that it was all just a big mistake - they were really meant to be biologists, biochemists or engineers.
I had no business showing them that without chemistry our world would be by far the poorer, sicker and more ignorant.
Why Anderson feels the need to spout such arrant and arrogant nonsense about the merits of another academic discipline, is more than I can fathom. Perhaps he should take a look around and see just what a chemistry department actually teaches its students before passing judgement - or would that be too much to ask of a colleague?
Philip G. Hultin
Chemistry, University of Manitoba