A catalyst makes a reaction happen. In a process known as catalysis, a
relatively small amount of foreign material, called a catalyst, augments
the rate of a chemical reaction without being consumed in the reaction. A
catalyst can make a reaction go faster and in a more selective manner.
Because of its ability to speed up some reactions and not others, a
catalyst enables a chemical process to work more efficiently and often
with less waste. Hence, catalysts are important in industrial chemistry.
The most well-defined areas of industrial catalysis are petroleum,
pharmaceutical, and environmental catalysis. Petroleum catalysis employs
catalysts to manufacture petrochemicals derived from crude oil.
Pharmaceutical catalysis uses catalysts in the manufacture of molecules
that have a targeted and very specific function in the body.
Environmental catalysis uses catalysts to remove toxic or waste products
from manufacturing effluent.
ACS Career Brief
Next to parents, educators have the greatest influence on a young person's
development. They act not only as teachers but also as role models and
mentors. Chemical educators whether in colleges, high schools, middle
schools, community colleges, or graduate schools say the aspect of their
work that satisfies them the most is helping shape the lives and minds of
students. It is the reason they have chosen teaching as the career in
which to practice their knowledge and skills as chemists. Given the fact
that responsibilities vary at different types of educational institutions,
it is important to select a position with demands that match your
interests. Those who enjoy teaching high school chemistry say that they
like working with adolescents, who possess maturity but also have an
innocence about them.
Those who teach undergraduate and graduate students
say they appreciate the attributes they commonly find in these older
students. At the postsecondary level, various types of educational
institutions emphasize different aspects of chemistry--teaching, learning,
and research. Some universities expect faculty to focus on research and
publish in scholarly journals, for instance, while others emphasize
teaching. To accommodate students with relatively diverse backgrounds,
faculty at community colleges often teach a range of introductory and
remedial courses. Educators teach problem-solving skills, stimulate
creativity, provide challenges, and offer support. Teachers have different
personalities, interests, and styles of teaching -- but a love of chemistry
and an interest in working with young people are two common denominators
for chemical educators. Individual teachers may be drawn to the level at
which they teach by a real affinity for that particular age group.
ACS Career Brief
Chemical engineers apply the principles of chemistry, math, and physics to
the design and operation of large-scale chemical manufacturing processes.
They translate processes developed in the lab into practical applications
for the production of products such as plastics, medicines, detergents,
and fuels; design plants to maximize productivity and minimize costs; and
evaluate plant operations for performance and product quality. Chemical
engineers are employed by almost all companies in the chemical process
industry. Their work also extends to processes in nuclear energy,
materials science, food production, the development of new sources of
energy, and even medicine. In addition to process and product development
and design, chemical engineers work in areas such as production, research,
environmental studies, market analysis, data processing, sales, and
management. They affect or control at some stage the materials or
production of almost every article manufactured on an industrial scale.
Career Cornerstone Center Chemical
Chemical information specialists manage technical information as an
occupation. With the exponential increase in the number of scientific
journals, papers, and patents published today, the management of technical
information is becoming an increasingly complicated task. Research
scientists are often unable to keep up with the periodicals and patent
literature in their own fields. The primary role of all chemical
information specialists is to organize this information and make it
available and easily accessible to re-searchers, students, industry
professionals, and others. Opportunities in chemical information include
being a scientific librarian, a technical information specialist, a market
researcher or management consultant, a technical publisher, a software
developer, or a computer programmer.
ACS Career Brief
Note: Some resources in this section are provided by
the American Chemical Society and the US Department
of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.