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Chemists Converge In Atlanta

Nearly 13,000 chemical scientists network, share research, enjoy March Madness

April 3, 2006 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 84, Issue 14

Take A Look
Credit: Photo by Linda Wang
The exhibition hall saw heavy traffic as attendees stopped by between sessions.
Credit: Photo by Linda Wang
The exhibition hall saw heavy traffic as attendees stopped by between sessions.

By Linda Raber


It was an interesting study in contrasts to see the Louisiana State University men's basketball team heading out of the Hilton Hotel in Atlanta to play the game that put them into the NCAA Final Four just as many chemical scientists were arriving for the start of the 231st ACS national meeting. The ballplayers were extremely tall, very young, and accustomed to an adoring crowd. The ACS meeting attendees were, in general, of more moderate heights and, let's say, had more patina.

ACS members may not yet have the adoring crowds, but they do have a new vision statement (C&EN, March 27, page 52), which was officially unveiled at the meeting: "Improving people's lives through the transforming power of chemistry." The ACS vision statement was splashed on tour buses and was prominent in all of the meeting hotels and at meeting events-even on T-shirts.

The meeting drew 12,658 chemical scientists, students, exhibitors, and guests. Attendees made more than 8,000 presentations in 741 technical sessions. In the exhibit hall, 270 exhibitors showcased their products and services in 454 booths, 14 workshops, and six theater presentations.

Three particular areas were emphasized at this meeting: Thirteen ACS technical divisions combined their efforts to create 175 sessions addressing nanotechnology-related issues. Nine divisions programmed 77 sessions in the area of drug discovery, and seven divisions had 79 sessions addressing energy-related issues.

In introducing a Presidential Symposium, "Ensuring the Future: Sustaining and Strengthening Basic and Applied Research," ACS President E. Ann Nalley observed that a theme of her presidency is "conveying to the public the value of research." Nalley noted that the ACS Congressional Charter specifically mentions improving the happiness of citizens and that that goal can be achieved by transforming basic research findings into useful applications.

In governance actions, the council approved an increase in ACS member dues for 2007 from $127 to $132. The board reduced the assessment for local section and division funding from $8.00 to $4.00. The assessment ends in 2007. The council also had a spirited discussion about relaxing the requirements for ACS membership. Much of that conversation focused on what the membership status of undergraduate students should be.

The four nominees chosen by the Committee on Nominations & Elections for ACS president-elect 2007 were introduced at the council meeting, and each gave a brief presentation. Councilors selected Bruce E. Bursten, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, professor of chemistry at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, to stand for election in the fall, along with any petition candidates.

Other facts and figures reported at the meeting include that ACS closed 2005 with 158,422 members, up nearly 300 from 2004, reversing a four-year downward trend. In addition, ACS ended 2005 with a net contribution from operations of $11.6 million, which is $9.1 million better than the approved budget. A record 1,164 undergraduate students presented posters during the meeting. At the Chemjobs Career Center, 1,247 candidates participated in 1,180 interviews for 197 positions posted. At the last ACS meeting, in Washington, D.C., 1,917 job seekers were scheduled for 1,678 interviews for 289 positions posted.


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