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Pre-Reading Task

1. What’s the difference between a chemical engineer and a research chemist?

2. What is so particular about the job of a research chemist?

3. What personal qualities should a person possess in order to become a research chemist?


Everything around us, from living matter to inanimate objects, is composed of chemicals. It's the job of research chemists to use knowledge and experience to investigate the fundamental physical and chemical properties of the world. Research chemists are highly trained and educated, and must spend many years perfecting the profession. More than just tinkering with elements in a laboratory, research chemists use their knowledge of chemical reactions to investigate how to use them in medicine or other scientific innovations.

In addition to the necessary knowledge of science and chemistry, a research chemist must be curious about the natural world and the ability to come up with new experiments or products. He's often required to work with other scientists from different fields. This ability to work in a team setting and communicate with others is very important. Research chemists in leadership or management positions must be able to organize and direct others to ensure research goals are met.

Most employers prefer to hire research chemists with at least a bachelor's degree in chemistry, biology, or related fields of study. Many require a master's or even a doctoral degree, especially in university research centers. The use of computer modeling and analytical software has become increasingly important, and research chemists usually need ongoing training to keep up with advances in their field.

Depending on the nature of the research, some may work irregular or extended hours. They can work for private companies, government organizations as well as colleges and universities or may come into contact with dangerous and potentially deadly chemicals and environments, but safety protocols eliminate serious risks of injuries.


A research chemist uses his/her knowledge of science, technology, and chemistry to investigate the properties, components and abilities of chemicals and processes. He or she designs and conducts experiments to try to understand the basic processes of chemical reactions, using her research to develop processes and materials for humanity to use. For example, a petrochemical researcher uses his/her understanding of petroleum to break down oil into its chemical components to make products like adhesives, plastics, pigments and cosmetics. Some researchers specialize in basic research, the study of the fundamental processes and structures of chemicals. Others use knowledge in applied research settings, using the chemical materials to develop useful products and processes. Research chemists create and improve processes and products, such as cosmetics, electronics and drugs. Chemical compounds make up everything found in nature, and a research chemist examines those compounds to determine how they interact with other chemicals. This process can help research chemists improve everyday human life by giving the findings practical applications, like developing new medicines and disease treatments. The results can also be used to improve current scientific developments or to further, enhance or re-evaluate current scientific theories. Research chemists utilize advanced lab equipment and computers to conduct their analyses.


Ex. 1. Complete the following passage using the words from the box

previous, maintaining reports, evaluation, get reported, improved, current means, test, research and development


In most cases, a research chemist works as part of a team or within a 1. … (R&D) department. Research chemists often 2. … a company's current products or examine a laboratory's 3. … of testing to find out if they can be 4. … . Once they complete testing, their results 5. … to other members of the department or team. If necessary, further 6. … and testing occur. Their duties also can include 7. …, documents and files regarding testing. In addition to testing and improving 8. … products and procedures, research chemists may develop new products.


Date: 2015-01-29; view: 1534

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