Re: Obligatory: the IT angle?
Thanks for that link, it's an excellent read; here's a further excerpt to bring us back to biting the hand that feeds IT:
<quote, apropos rocket motor performance calculations>
All the compilations of thermodynamic data are on punch cards, now, versatile programs, which can handle a dozen or so elements, are on tape, and things are a lot simpler than they were.
... there is one disconcerting thing about working with a computer—it's likely to talk back to you. You make some tiny mistake in your FORTRAN language — putting a letter in the wrong column, say, or omitting a comma — and the 360 comes to a screeching halt and prints out rude remarks, like "ILLEGAL FORMAT," or "UNKNOWN PROBLEM," or, if the man who wrote the program was really feeling nasty that morning, "WHAT'S THE MATTER STUPID? CAN'T YOU READ?" Everyone who uses a computer frequently has had, from time to time, a mad desire to attack the precocious abacus with an axe.
Plus ça change, eh?
I don't think the chemistry is beyond anyone who has half a chance of remembering some O-level inorganic chemistry, by the way, unless you're actually thinking of *using* the information to prepare some rocket fuel. In that case, you're mad!