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Topic: Relevant Languages for Chemistry and Engineering?  (Read 18283 times)

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Offline iheartquimica

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Relevant Languages for Chemistry and Engineering?
« on: April 06, 2008, 10:58:31 PM »
Hi everybody!  I'm new and I've been looking for an opinion, so I hope I get several here =) [I think I posted this in the right place...]

I'm a chemistry major, but also a language buff.  I have this core list of languages that I would like to learn in the near future, but I'd like to pick up a relevant language to hopefully make me a stronger candidate for grad school.  Did my research, and I know most grad schools don't require a language, but hey, that language could make a difference entrance wise and career wise, no?  I've been told German and French by my advisor; I've read Russian and Japanese were good too.  I would like to get YOUR opinion on this matter =)... preferably from grad students and professionals in the field who have experience and insight to this question, though anyone's thoughts are welcome too!  You're thoughts will help me decide which intensive program to sign up for at Cal next year.

Thanks, salamat, gracias, grazie, danke schon! Ahe... yeah, four down. =P
Go Bears!

Offline LQ43

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Re: Relevant Languages for Chemistry and Engineering?
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2008, 11:05:03 PM »
Since no one else has replied.....I've got working knowledge of French and Japanese. It made it easier to communicate and work with my labmates and supervisor and other non-English speakers. But I never read or wrote Japanese or French technical papers - always the English translation. However, I did come across some interesting Russian papers that I had to give up on since there was no English translation - had no research $ for translations. Chinese might be worth considering too.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2008, 11:25:18 PM by LQ43 »

Offline hmx9123

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Re: Relevant Languages for Chemistry and Engineering?
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2008, 02:57:52 AM »
If you can read English and German, you have 90% of the chemistry field covered.  The old German stuff (pre-1900 up to WWII) is gold, and the English stuff after it is excellent.  The third language I would learn is Russian.  The Russians have a lot of literature that is inaccessible by the Western world, or at least hard to get at if you don't read Russian, and because they were behind the iron curtain for so long, they sometimes have very different literature.  They also excelled at specific fields as well, so that is worth looking into.

As for French, I think I have ONE French paper I've ever looked up.  This is all coming from a synthetic chemistry perspective, though, as I'm sure Engineering and bio sciences are very different.

Offline macman104

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Re: Relevant Languages for Chemistry and Engineering?
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2008, 03:24:52 PM »
My Organic professor tells us the exact same thing that hmx said.  The old german chemists did alot of basic and important work (again from a organic perspective).

Offline HighTek

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Re: Relevant Languages for Chemistry and Engineering?
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2008, 01:21:01 PM »
My vote is for German...as told to my by another instructor.  However, to prepare myself for globalization, I am studying Arabic...then German....only cuz they make great beers (thats not my only reason  ;) )...
I'm experiencing both Alzheimer's and Deja Vu right now, I think I forgot this before.

Offline DrCMS

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Re: Relevant Languages for Chemistry and Engineering?
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2008, 06:01:48 PM »
I would say the most important language for Chemistry is English, in the future I'd say the second most important will become Chinese.

Although when I went to Hangzhou a few years ago as a consultant I was put up in the company owned hotel.  One night eating in the resturant alone I found myself next to a table where everyone was speaking English. The odd thing was there were all asian and were all speaking English as a second language.  There were doing business in English as I guess it was the only lanuage they all had in common.

Offline nj_bartel

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Re: Relevant Languages for Chemistry and Engineering?
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2008, 06:44:27 PM »
My general chem professor was fluent in both english and german and he does research work at a german college.  He mixed in german with some of our lectures, and it was really pretty amazing how perfectly built the chemistry language was in german.  Going to go with the majority and also vote for german.  (Oh, and if you go to a german school to do research, there are very many english speakers as well).

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