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ACS Meeting News

ACS Fall 2021 goes hybrid

Meeting highlights included induction ceremonies for the 2020 and 2021 ACS Fellows and the ACS National Awards

by Bibiana Campos-Seijo
August 26, 2021 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 99, Issue 31


ACS Fall 2021 attendees walk through the convention center.
Credit: C Brown Photo
ACS Fall 2021 allowed attendees to participate in person and virtually.

The American Chemical Society celebrated its first hybrid event Aug. 22–26 with both virtual and in-person sessions in Atlanta. More than 8,205 scientists registered; 77% attended virtually, and 23% traveled to Atlanta. In total, 6,700 papers were presented across 35 technical divisions and committees.

The meeting’s theme was “Resilience of Chemistry,” and the keynote session featured talks on aspects of this topic, including resilience in chemical systems, resilience of chemists, and resilience of the chemical enterprise. The speakers were Gerard Baillely, senior vice president of R&D at Procter & Gamble; ACS Board of Directors member Dorothy Philips; and Philip Dormitzer, vice president and chief scientific officer for RNA and viral vaccines at Pfizer.

During the ACS Board of Directors open meeting, Raj Mukhopadhyay, vice president of the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Respect at ACS, moderated a panel discussion on how DEIR efforts may help attract and retain volunteers at the grassroots.

Although the hybrid meeting did not host the customary exposition hall or careers fair, celebrations abounded. These included the ceremony honoring the combined 2020 and 2021 ACS Fellows, the Sci-Mix poster session, and the educational ACS Kids Zone event held at the Georgia Aquarium. In addition, the ACS National Awards ceremony was held as a hybrid event that recognized 2021 Priestley Medalist Paul Alivisatos and the 70 winners of 59 national awards and the award sponsors.

Maureen McKeague of McGill University presented the Kavli Foundation Emerging Leader in Chemistry Lecture, titled “Chemistry of DNA Damage and Measuring Genomic Resilience.” Naomi J. Halas of Rice University presented the Fred Kavli Innovations in Chemistry Lecture, “Nanomaterials and Light for Sustainability and Societal Impact.”

ACS Fall 2021 included numerous measures designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among those attending in person. Masks were mandatory, and attendees had to complete a health survey before arrival each day to receive a wristband that allowed them to enter the meeting. QR codes posted in the event halls gave participants the option to attend from virtual viewing lounges in the convention center or from their hotels.

The Committee on Budget and Finance reported that as of June 30, 2021, ACS’s total revenues were 4.3% above budget, at $324 million. Year-to-date total expenses were $269 million, and net contribution from operations was $55 million.

The ACS Council met virtually and voted to amend the duties of the Committee on Minority Affairs to reflect more current and inclusive terminology. It also voted to approve the continuation of the Committee on Environmental Improvement and passed a motion to approve the 10th edition of ACS’s professional employment guidelines.

In his report to the council, ACS’s CEO, Tom Connelly Jr., confirmed the successful rollout of a new membership model offering three choices: premium, which is today’s current membership, for $160; standard, which offers a subset of benefits, for $80; and basic, a free package with limited access to benefits.

ACS Fall 2021 will be available on demand Aug. 30–Sept. 30.



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