Godspeed, Mr. Baum

August 21st, 2012

If you haven’t heard, Rudy Baumis retiring as editor-in-chief of C&EN. Today, at the ACS meeting in Philadelphia, his tenure at the magazine was celebrated with a special symposium on “Communicating Controversial Science”. That’s a fascinating subject, and I would have loved to attend. My interest is especially piqued by William Schulz’s talk billed as “a reporter’s notebook of stories that have covered a wide range of ethical violations, including one of the worst cases of scientific fraud ever.” That’s got to be Sames-Sezen, right? Anybody have the scoop?

The symposium also featured talks from chemical superstars like Dick Zare, Nate Lewis, and George Whitesides. And look who made an appearance in George’s talk:

Credit: Carmen Drahl, C&EN

Uhhh…me?! That C&EN cover is one of the fakes I designed way back in a post from 2007. I can’t tell whether it is the “chemistry bloggers” edition here or a similar one I used in a group meeting on thioesters. The title of George’s slide was “C&EN is What?”, and I have no idea whether C&EN is or is not my fake cover. Anybody willing to fill us in?

I hope the remarks regarding me/blogs were kind, but regardless, I was tickled to see that photo appear in my Twitter feed. I’m glad I can say that I was a (small) part of Rudy’s celebration. As I’ve stated here before, I am a big fan of Rudy Baum’s leadership at C&EN. I think it is great that he has the stones to write on controversial subjects, that he regularly publishes letters critical of his positions, that he has pursued coverage of “negative” stories such as safety mishaps, and that he has embraced new media. I hope C&EN‘s new skipper, Maureen Rouhi, expands on these developments…especially with more investigative reporting. Best wishes to her and the mag.


I shamelessly stole the above picture from Carmen Drahl. You can follow news from the meeting on her feed (@carmendrahl) or by following the #ACSPhilly hashtag.

5 Responses to “Godspeed, Mr. Baum”

  1. Matt Says:

    It was a good session. Although .. I think that you would have been a little disappointed with Schulz’s talk. More of a remembrance than insider information. The Sames-Sezen portion was all Sezen all the time.

  2. Carmen Says:

    Hey Paul- the point of “C&EN is what?” was to note that C&EN is a weekly newsmagazine and that today weeklies are under a lot of different pressures. He was asking audience to think about what the right model for news delivery is today- is it to try to be first? Is it to focus on curation, commentary, etc? The big point was to ask whether ‘slow’ topics (chemjobs, funding, etc) are news. He also posted a laundry list of topics covered on Chembark, prefacing it by saying some joke to the effect of “I’m geriatric, but here’s some stuff to consider.” I didn’t get a shot of that slide. I wasn’t around for the whole session but I thought it was great. Paul Anastas had some really great thoughts about learning the language of each tribe you must communicate with (Congress, businesspersons, grandmas).

  3. Paul Says:

    Thanks for the updates, Matt & Carmen. I’ll have to remember to watch the videos (assuming they were recorded).

  4. Shaun Says:

    Awesome, wish I could have attended. I’ve also appreciated Rudy’s editorials over the last few years.

  5. wolfie Says:


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