Issue Date: March 3, 2008
ACS President Bruce Bursten's message talks about the relevance of the chemistry profession to people's lives (C&EN, Jan. 2, page 2). He relates the importance of communicating our story to the public. And he shows concern about educating the public about the great work that chemists in all different areas contribute to making their lives better.
However at the end of the article, almost in passing, he notes that issues such as employment, globalization, and the changing landscape of research are important to the membership. And that is the problem with ACS. The relevance of the society to the concerns of many members is an afterthought. All the accolades do nothing to pay the bills. All the accolades will not entice new students into the difficult study of chemistry just to enter into an uncertain economic future.
I guess from the tenured towers of academia, the issues that industrial chemists face really have little relevance.
Plymouth Meeting, Pa.
I have been an ACS member since 1976 and belong to that numerically important group of scientists who, although not North Americans, have been welcomed into the society.
I read with special attention the message from ACS's new president, Bursten. I think his proposed program is terrific and I am convinced that with his personal stature and the collaboration of the rest of the ACS membership, he will have success implementing it. I would like to propose to all ACS members, and especially to the ACS president, that we look upon this society as a point of reunion among people of different nationalities, beliefs, and professional backgrounds.
The 21st century is showing all of us who live on this planet the need to understand each other if we have a sense of future. Today we can affirm that either there is a future for everyone or there will be no future for anyone. In energy, contamination, and so on, universal solutions are needed in which all of us participate, each one contributing the best that they can.
The scientific societies in general, but particularly ACS, offer chemists the possibility to come together with a universal interest without belittling particular interests, thereby providing a marvelous means for contributing to world peace. At least this is what I have always held, and still hold, true to my heart when I requested admission into ACS 33 years ago.
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