Friday, March 9, 2007

Djerassi: Further Reply to Cuir

From: Carl Djerassi
Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2007 08:36:47 -0500


(1) Could we say that, in some cases, the scientist possess as much freedom as an artist ?
The answer is no, because there are really no limits to an artist's freedom and there are severe ones to an organic chemist. I specifically used organic chemistry, because that is a discipline where pictography is almost indispensable even for communication among specialists. It is impossible to do it in words.

(2) Being able to choose between two or three dimensional representation, between a style and another ?
And while we do have some freedom, as I made plain in my first intervention, it is nevertheless severely restricted. When we depict chemical structures based on X-ray analyses, there is very little one is "permitted" to do (other than colors or movement) because one represents actual reality. But most chemical structures used by chemists are used as a form of handwriting and the range almost goes from shorthand to calligraphy and from one- to three-dimensional representation.

Carl Djerassi

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