ATG Interviews David R. Lide

Editor-in-Chief, The CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics: A Mountain, a Cathedral, a Battleship, or … an Iceberg?

by Svetla Baykoucheva (Editor, Chemical Information Bulletin, Head, White Memorial Chemistry Library, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742; Phone: 301-405-9080)

Column Editor’s Note: This interview was first published in the Chemical Information Bulletin (vol. 61, No. 2, 2009), a publication of the Chemical Information Division of the American Chemical Society. — SB

“Casting around the metaphors appropriate to the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, one considers mountains, cathedrals, battleships, and other massive things. The Handbook, however, resembles none of these as much as it does an iceberg. Huge, impassive, largely unmaneuverable and mostly concealed, the Handbook and the iceberg both proceed on courses controlled by mysterious forces. A new Editor coming to the Handbook, as does David Lide, might be expected to have feelings of awe, as well as helplessness. The size and impact of the Handbook are overwhelming, but the difficulty of achieving even minor perturbations on its progress must be downright intimidating.”
— G. W. A. Milne (National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health) Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 71st ed. J. Chem. Inf. Sci.,1991, 31 (1), 171-172.

For the past twenty years, Dr. Lide has been the Editor-in-Chief of the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics and has been involved in several other reference book and database projects. After receiving a B.S in Chemistry from Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1949, he went to Harvard where he earned an M.A. in Physics (1951), and a Ph.D. in Chemical Physics (1952). Dr. Lide has served many institutions: President of the Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA) of the International Council for Science, President of the Physical Chemistry Division of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), Chairman of the IUPAC Committee on Chemical Databases, Chairman of the American Chemical Society Task Force on Scientific Numerical Databases, Chairman of the AIP Publication Board (1979-80), Chairman of the AIP Planning Committee for the Physics Vade Mecum, and Councilor of the American Physical Society, representing the Division of Chemical Physics.

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