Volume 88 Issue 18 | p. 47
Issue Date: May 3, 2010

International Chapters

Chemists abroad can find an ACS community in their own backyard—or they can form their own
Department: ACS News | Collection: IYC 2011
Keywords: International Chapters, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Hungary
Field trips are among the activities organized by the Saudi Arabian International Chemical Sciences chapter.
Credit: Al-Turaiki Hasan Mousa/Saudi Aramco
Field trips are among the activities organized by the Saudi Arabian International Chemical Sciences chapter.
Credit: Al-Turaiki Hasan Mousa/Saudi Aramco

In March, the ACS International Chemical Sciences Chapter in Hungary presented its inaugural Csaba Horváth Memorial Lectureship to Barry L. Karger, the James L. Waters Chair of Analytical Chemistry at Northeastern University, in Boston. The ceremony, which was held at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest, honored the memory of Hungarian separation scientist Csaba Horváth, who pioneered high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).

The chapter in Hungary is one of three ACS International Chemical Sciences Chapters connecting ACS members abroad and raising awareness of their country’s contributions to chemistry. ACS has also chartered chapters in Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong.

These groups operate much as ACS local sections in the U.S. do. “Our role is one of enabling them to do what they want, rather than trying to tell them what they should be doing,” says Judith L. Benham, chair of the ACS International Activities Committee. “We want to be respectful of the local or national societies of which they may also be members.”

ACS’s oldest international chapter is the Saudi Arabian International Chemical Sciences Chapter, which was founded in 1988. Chair Ibrahim A. Al-Ghamdi says the chapter currently has more than 600 members. It hosts monthly technical dinner meetings, organizes chemistry demonstrations at high schools, offers field trips for members and their families, and participates in Earth Day celebrations. The chapter has also organized eight international conferences.

Al-Ghamdi says the chapter’s goals for this year are to increase its membership, collaborate with other scientific societies on joint activities, and develop new activities for students. The chapter is preparing for the 8th International Conference & Exhibition on Chemistry in Industry (Chemindix 2010) and the 2nd International Laboratory Technology Conference & Exhibition (Labtech 2011).

The International Chemical Sciences Chapter in Hong Kong was established in 1997 and currently has around 120 members, says David Lee Phillips, the chapter’s chair. This chapter has sponsored a series of regional meetings, including the 8th International Symposium on Applied Bioinorganic Chemistry, held in April 2004, and the 15th International Symposium on Photochemistry & Photophysics of Coordination Compounds, held in July 2004. The chapter also sponsored the Chemistry Olympiad National Exam for U.S. high school students studying in Hong Kong and supported the annual Symposium on Chemistry Postgraduate Research in Hong Kong.

The chapter is working with other chemical societies in the region to organize speaking tours by chemists. Members of the Hong Kong chapter are helping organize symposia for Pacifichem 2010, which will be held in Honolulu in December. The chapter is also gearing up for 2011, the International Year of Chemistry, and will host activities at various venues in and around Hong Kong. In addition, chapter members will give presentations at local high schools. The chapter is also producing a bilingual science exhibit that will be displayed to the general public.

The chapter in Hungary was founded in 2002 and has about 60 members. “The goal of the chapter is to cultivate a relationship between chemists in the U.S. and Hungary” and also to represent the interests of Hungarian chemists living in the U.S., chapter Chair András Guttman says.

In addition to establishing the Csaba Horváth Memorial Lectureship, the chapter holds regular meetings for its members, hosts international conferences, and does outreach at high schools. Guttman says the chapter is planning to organize a session during the ACS fall national meeting in Boston and will be cosponsoring events for the International Year of Chemistry with the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Hungarian Chemical Society.

ACS members who are interested in establishing an international chapter can find more information on the ACS International Activities website at www.acs.org/international (click on “Chapters”). Several chapters are in various stages of the application process, says Bradley Miller, director of the ACS Office of International Activities.

The International Year of Chemistry in 2011 is an “opportune time” for chemists to get involved in their communities, Benham says. “I hope it will rally science professionals to start thinking about how they can impact the world in a slightly larger way,” she says.

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