I usually write the short story series Out There on this blog, but I recently attended a talk at North Carolina State University where I am starting my chemistry graduate studies, and I thought I would share my thoughts on it.
The talk was given by the Welsh chemist Dr. Antony Williams. He earned his PhD from the University of London in 1985. He came to the US in 1992 to work for Eastman Kodak. After leaving Kodak, discontented with the CEO’s comments that digital photography posed no threat to the company, he founded ChemSpider, a database of chemical information that he sold to the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2009.
Williams advocates for open access of all scientific information, both mundane facts such as a substance’s melting point, to new data from cutting-edge research, such as steps in the synthesis of compounds which may lead to anticancer drugs. Williams argues that all data sharing is good, and is necessary to advance the field of chemistry. He currently lives in the Raleigh area. His talk can be classified under the umbrella term “cheminformatics,” which is the use of computers and information systems in the field of chemistry.