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July 13, 1963

The professional scientist; a study of American chemists

JAMA. 1963;185(2):151. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03060020111060

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Many disciplines, as they emerge from the modern university into the industrial world, demand the right to be called professional. Foremost among these is chemistry, which is no longer content to perpetuate itself in the academic halls. Industrial requirements for the chemical specialist have prompted this change of status.

The professional self-image of chemists in their altered roles is the subject of an extensive sociological study. Using sampling techniques among chemists, the authors find that only medicine, law, and dentistry—the traditional professions —hold higher prestige than chemistry. Nevertheless, chemists, from research administrators and academicians to bench chemists and chemical engineers, all consider themselves professional persons.

Important considerations in this study include the structural ladder of the chemist's world, recruitment and careers in this field, and the role of the professional organization in helping its members. As this is the first large-scale analysis dealing with new professions in the contemporary world,

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