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Science  26 Mar 1976:
Vol. 191, Issue 4233, pp. 1250
DOI: 10.1126/science.191.4233.1250


The Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy is the largest meeting devoted to chemical instrumentation in the United States, and probably the largest in the world. From 1 to 5 March, more than 7500 scientists gathered at the Cleveland Convention Center to listen to some 497 papers and to visit the booths of 324 instrument manufacturers and distributors. Another 3000 visited only the instrument exhibition. Because so many manufacturers exhibit their established instruments and introduce new ones at the Pittsburgh Conference (which is so named because it is sponsored by the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh and the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh even though it has been held in Cleveland for the past 9 years), it is an ideal place to examine trends in instrumentation and, thereby, current trends in chemistry. Many of those trends are discussed in the following stories. Other trends include the growing number of women participants. As recently as 5 years ago, there was only one woman among the manufacturer's representatives at the meeting. No figures are available this year, but women probably accounted for at least 5 percent of the sales force. Also the number of professional women visiting the exhibition was much greater than ever before. Another important trend was the enthusiasm of the visitors to the exhibition. Many of them seemed to have money in their pockets and to be ready to spend it, an indication that the instrument business—and, therefore, the physical sciences—will enjoy a year of healthy growth.