Volume 89 Issue 14 | p. 3 | Editor's Page
Issue Date: April 4, 2011

This And That From Anaheim

Department: Editor's Page
Keywords: ACS Meeting

I arrived in Anaheim on Thursday, March 24. As usual, everyone stayed busy throughout the meeting.

As it always does at national meetings, the C&EN Editorial Board met at 7:30 AM on Friday. The C&EN Editorial Board monitors the editorial health of the magazine and adjudicates disputes between the C&EN editor-in-chief and ACS members, among other duties. The ACS president and the chair of the board of directors are two of the board’s seven members, so the C&EN Editorial Board has to meet early to free them for meetings scheduled throughout the rest of the day.

Which I love. It means the most important governance meeting I attend is the first thing that happens all week. It’s not that it’s all downhill from there, but it certainly takes some pressure off.

One of the points I made in my presentation to the board is that C&EN is not just a print publication anymore. Yes, about 96,000 ACS members still take the print edition, and it is still our flagship product. But consider the following:

■ The electronic edition of C&EN is increasingly popular, with 67% of members living outside of North America taking it and 16% of members living in North America taking it.

C&EN Online had 14.3 million page downloads in 2010, an 11.7% increase over 2009; 28% of those downloads were Latest News stories, which means that people are using the site to keep them up-to-date on developments in the chemistry enterprise.

■ C&EN introduced two news channels to ACS journal home pages in 2010, the Environmental SCENE and the Analytical SCENE; we will introduce two to four more news channels this year.

CENtral Science was reinvented in 2010 as a network of focused blogs, now numbering 10, with three—Terra Sigillata, Just Another Electron Pusher, and Transition States—hosted by people not on C&EN’s staff.

There’s more, but I think you get the idea. The C&EN brand includes much more than the magazine you’re familiar with. And there’s more to come—such as C&EN Mobile.

Two of the titans of the chemistry enterprise celebrated landmark birthdays in conjunction with the national meeting. On Saturday, I drove from Anaheim to Pasadena to attend HarryFest at Caltech, a 75th birthday bash for chemistry professor Harry B. Gray that drew more than 300 fans. Back in Anaheim on Sunday evening, a slightly smaller but no less enthusiastic group of colleagues and former students gathered for a reception and dinner to mark Columbia University chemistry professor Ronald Breslow’s 80th birthday.

Also on Sunday, at a presidential event on chemistry and Hollywood, the large hall was packed, and what was particularly gratifying was that it was packed with young faces. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many young ACS members in one place at one time. It bodes well for our organization’s future.

One of the speakers at the symposium was Donna J. Nelson, a chemistry professor at the University of Oklahoma and science adviser to the television series “Breaking Bad.” Turns out, Nelson became aware of the show by reading a story in C&EN by Associate Editor Jyllian Kemsley that noted how seriously the writers for the show take the science behind it. What’s interesting is that C&EN received several letters that were very critical of the story. C&EN should not have given any space to such a dark television show about a high school chemistry teacher engaged in illegal activities, the letters argued. I remain dumbfounded by the fact that some ACS members don’t want to acknowledge anything but the bright side of chemistry.

The opening of the exposition on Monday morning marked the debut of the new, unified ACS Village booth. Now all elements of ACS that have a stake in the meeting, from Chemical Abstracts Service and the Publications Division to Membership & Scientific Advancement, Education, and Member Insurance are together in one dramatic and impressive booth. ACS Executive Director and CEO Madeleine Jacobs cut the ceremonial ribbon to open the booth.

Thanks for reading.

Rudy Baum
Editor-in-chief

 
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