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June 27, 1953


JAMA. 1953;152(9):818-821. doi:10.1001/jama.1953.63690090011011a

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One of the major impediments in the advancement of scientific knowledge is the confusion resulting from the multitude of names that exist for a particular chemical. A compound that has become familiar to the public may be identified by a chemical name, a common or generic name, an official name, trade, brand or proprietary names, or a popular or nonproprietary synonym. The growing number of compounds and the variety of their designations are overwhelming to all but those with sufficient time and compelling interest to keep abreast of current terminology.

Certain names are justified, and each type of nomenclature has its own strong adherents. For example, many believe that chemical names make unmistakably clear the structure and composition of a compound. Such names are accurate and descriptive; nevertheless, they have universal meaning only to chemists and certain other specialists. To the technically uninformed or to those in other scientific pursuits,

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