It's a common complaint among scientists in the UK that a number of British universities have been closing their Chemistry departments over the last few years. I have to say though, if they're anything like the Chemistry department at my employers, I can see one problem they have. Not that they don't do good work - they do. Not that they aren't contributing to the future wealth of the country - they probably are. But it's because they're completely and utterly insane.
I have, for various reasons, recently had to stay late at work for a number of days in a row, mostly due to the ongoing but soon to be completed installation of my Very Expensive bit of scientific equipment. Which I'm in charge of, hence my inability to say "forget this, I'm going outside while it's still sunny and warmish". This level of work is really getting me down - I'm fed up of it, I'm starting to resent work again, Mondays are not particularly attractive days to me.
But apparently, my workload wouldn't cause a chemist to bat an eyelid, except perhaps in horror that I don't work 12 hour days on a Saturday as well.
This is why no-one wants to be a chemist. 80 hour weeks to earn 30 thousand pounds a year? That's an hourly payscale up their with non-graduate office workers. For that you're going to slave around noxious and dangerous chemicals? Don't think so.
Chemistry is too hard, is supposedly the problem. But maybe it's not that would-be students are too stupid to do it, maybe they're too smart to.
(Actually, this is slightly unfair on Chemists, some are actually decent, rational people to work with, rather than decent irrational people - so much so, in fact, that I worked late today to get results for a Physicist rather than bump a chemist off one of my machines tomorrow). Next week, I tell myself, I will not overwork.