Issue Date: July 11, 2011
Nomenclature, Terminology & Symbols
The chair of the Committee on Nomenclature, Terminology & Symbols (NTS) reported that the International Committee on Weights & Measures has postponed action on new definitions of some International System of Units (SI) base units until 2015, leaving time for input from other interested organizations. In a straw poll, NTS voted in favor of drafting and submitting a policy statement about redefinition of the kilogram and the mole. A review of International year of Chemistry 2011 activities called attention to a HIST symposium, organized by a member of NTS, titled “What’s in a Name? Histories of Units & Constants,” which was scheduled for the next day.
NTS is still seeking ways to contribute to the chemical education thrusts and concerns of various units of the society.
Kathryn Hughes, National Research Council staff member, gave a report about the relationships among ACS, IUPAC, and National Academy of Sciences (NAS), bringing attention to some duplication of committee structure and some conflict of purpose or point of view. NAS, rather than ACS, is the U.S. organization that interacts directly with the International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). In most other countries, the adhering body is the residing chemical society representing chemists. This difference in IUPAC representation may cause U.S. chemists to be less aware of the scope of IUPAC activities. ACS development of international outreach programs has resulted in stronger ties between IUPAC and ACS.
The committee continued discussions on its future and engaged in a lengthy discussion and analysis of committee members’ responses to questions about the committee’s duties, strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. Three subcommittees will report at the ACS national meeting in Denver on topics derived from the discussion.
The next meeting of NTS is an open meeting in Denver beginning at 2 PM on Aug. 29.
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