By the time you read this editorial, the American Chemical Society Spring 2022 meeting will be in full swing. Under the theme “Bonding through Chemistry,” the gathering is taking place at the San Diego Convention Center March 20–24.
If you made the decision to attend, you are in good company: 10,869 people had registered for the meeting as of March 4. Of those, 8,284 were planning to attend in person, and 2,585 virtually. A total of 11,498 abstracts had been submitted.
These numbers are not final, and we will provide more up-to-date data in next week’s issue. But these data suggest our community is eager to travel and share its science. In fact, these early figures are not that much lower than average prepandemic ACS meeting attendance. Total attendance numbers can vary meeting to meeting, but typically, there would be about 13,000 to 15,000 scientists attending each of the two events every year.
It is reassuring to bring back some sense of normality to our schedules, and ACS meetings are calendar staples for many of us. For this spring meeting, the location is certainly a big draw. San Diego is an attractive city that enjoys beautiful weather, has excellent amenities, and is easy to get to from other US locations. The convention center is located along the waterfront in the heart of the city, providing plenty of opportunities to enjoy breaks between sessions and have meetings outdoors.
But what is definitely helping restore the sense of normality is the easing of travel restrictions around the world. Still, for the ACS spring meeting, proof of vaccination will be required, and mask wearing is recommended indoors and required on shuttle buses.
For a few days, chemistry will be the word in the streets of San Diego. As always, C&EN reporters will be covering the highlights of the meeting. Visit cen.acs.org and look for the ACS Meeting News tag on our website to discover the latest in cutting-edge research presented.
If nothing else, I recommend watching the Kavli lectures. The Kavli Foundation Emerging Leader in Chemistry Lecture will be given by Y. Shrike Zhang, and the title of his talk is “3D Bioprinting for Functional Tissue Fabrication.” Zhang was part of C&EN’s Talented 12 class of 2018.
Alán Aspuru-Guzik will give the Fred Kavli Innovations in Chemistry Lecture with a talk titled “Billions upon Billions of Molecules.” C&EN has featured Aspuru-Guzik multiple times. Two of the companies he cofounded—Kebotix and Zapata Computing—have been part of C&EN’s 10 Start-Ups to Watch, in the 2019 and 2020 cohorts, respectively. More recently, he was featured in our article “The Lab of the Future Is Now,” where reporter Rick Mullin explored how artificial intelligence coupled with increasing automation in the lab may “herald a new world for drug and materials discovery.”
Typically, these two lectures are held in person only and scheduled back to back on Monday of the ACS meeting, but this spring they are on separate days—March 21 and 22, at 6:00 p.m. (PT)—and will be streamed online for virtual attendees.
Another highlight of the spring meeting will be the ACS awards ceremony and banquet. There, the 2022 Priestley Medalist, Peter B. Dervan, will give his address. For those not lucky enough to be there in person or to catch the broadcast, you can read Dervan’s address in this issue (page 36), as well as a profile highlighting Dervan’s life and career (page 30).
I look forward to catching up with some of you. If not in San Diego, let’s make it a commitment for Chicago in August. Welcome back, normality!
Views expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of ACS.