The Chemputer

Gomez Adams

Grammar Fascist
Staff member
Dec 1, 2020
Suwanee, Georgia
Very interesting article in Discover magazine this month. (Actually, October issue. I'm behind in my reading and just got to this last night.)

There's a doctor name of Lee Cronin that is trying to build a Chemputer. That is, a computer that will do all manual chemistry functions automatically and precisely.

Reading the article, it's quite amazing. I had no idea that most chemistry is done literally by hand to this day. There is very little if any automation in any of it. What's more, the results can very from chemist to chemist if they're not properly (read as EXPERTLY) trained.

Much like a chef with fine foods, depending on when an ingredient is added can make all the difference in the world. Do you add right at boil? Just before boil? Several seconds after boil?

All the nuances of chemistry like that is what this guy is trying to get rid of. I had never given chemistry much thought, but this sounds like it's quite an undertaking.

Online version of that story is here: