Chemical Abstracts Service Is New Landmark | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: June 21, 2007

Chemical Abstracts Service Is New Landmark

Information service has advanced chemical sciences, technology
Department: ACS News, Science & Technology
Bursten (left), congratulates his former colleague, OSU chemistry department chair Dutta.
Credit: Linda Raber/C&EN
Bursten (left), congratulates his former colleague, OSU chemistry department chair Dutta.
Credit: Linda Raber/C&EN

At a pair of ceremonies held in Columbus, Ohio, on June 14, ACS designated its Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) division the 58th National Historic Chemical Landmark. CAS publishes the world's premier, ever-growing database of chemical information, now including more than 27 million abstracts and nearly 32 million substances in its Chemical Registry System.

Bronze plaques designating the CAS landmark were unveiled both at Ohio State University and nearby CAS headquarters. CAS, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, had its offices at OSU from shortly after its inception until 1964. Still housed in Columbus but no longer formally affiliated with the university, CAS has had its own facilities since 1965.

At the OSU ceremony, Bruce E. Bursten, president-elect of ACS, presented a plaque to Prabir K. Dutta, chair of the chemistry department. It was something of a homecoming for Bursten, who served on the faculty of OSU from 1980 until 2003. ACS President Catherine T. Hunt presented a similar plaque to Robert J. Massie, CAS president. Many ACS Board members and invited guests from as far away as Japan attended both ceremonies.

At the university fete, Massie noted that "CAS grew up on the OSU campus. We hope our histories will remain entwined for many years to come."

At the ceremonies at CAS headquarters, Massie reminded hundreds of gathered CAS staff that they are "the living links to the volunteers and staff of decades past" and that they "carry the torch of dedication to quality that will continue to illuminate the road of discovery, no matter how the world of publishing and communications may evolve."

ACS established the landmarks program in 1992 to recognize important historic events in chemistry and to increase awareness of the contributions of chemistry to society. Other landmarks named through this program have included the invention of Bakelite, the discovery of penicillin, the determination of the atomic weight of oxygen, and the work of historical figures, such as Joseph Priestley, Antoine Lavoisier, and George Washington Carver.

Further information on CAS history and contributions is detailed in the June 11 issue of C&EN, which is available online at

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