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Chemists Gather In The Golden State

ACS Meeting News: ‘Chemistry of Life’ was the San Diego meeting’s theme

by Sophie L. Rovner
April 2, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 14

Credit: Linda Wang/C&EN
From left to right, The Kavli Foundation Vice President Miyoung Chun and President Robert W. Conn join Bertozzi, ACS Board Chair William F. Carroll Jr., and ACS Executive Director and CEO Madeleine Jacobs.
From left during the ACS national meeting in San Diego in March 2012: Miyoung Chun, The Kavli Foundation vice president; Robert W. Conn, The Kavli Foundation president; Carolyn R. Bertozzi, T. Z. & Irmgard Chu Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and professor of molecular and cell biology at University of California, Berkeley, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, who presented The Kavli Foundation Innovations in Chemistry Lecture; William F. Carroll Jr., ACS Board Chair; and Madeleine Jacobs, ACS executive director and CEO
Credit: Linda Wang/C&EN
From left to right, The Kavli Foundation Vice President Miyoung Chun and President Robert W. Conn join Bertozzi, ACS Board Chair William F. Carroll Jr., and ACS Executive Director and CEO Madeleine Jacobs.

Sparkling seas and California’s famed sunshine—along with thousands of research presentations and a bustling exposition—drew chemists from around the world to San Diego last week for the 243rd American Chemical Society national meeting.

Almost 17,000 chemists and visitors attended the meeting, including more than 5,700 students and 1,000 exposition exhibitors. The on-site ACS Career Fair hosted more than 30 employers and 900 job seekers, who had access to more than 80 available positions. The Virtual Career Fair attracted more than a dozen employers and nearly 2,700 job seekers who logged on to computers to interact.

Chemists presented more than 11,700 papers, many related to the meeting’s “Chemistry of Life” theme. Others delved into topics as diverse as how to preserve arson evidence and how to capture CO2 from smokestacks.

Highlights included plenary lectures as well as The Kavli Foundation Innovations in Chemistry Lecture, which was presented by University of California, Berkeley, chemist and molecular and cell biologist Carolyn R. Bertozzi. On the lighter side, Jorge Cham, creator of “PHD Comics”(“Piled Higher and Deeper”), shared his perspective on the tribulations of student life.

The society’s Office of Public Affairs media outreach efforts garnered coverage of the meeting in outlets such as the San Diego Union-Tribune,Time, and major TV networks.

ACS and AkzoNobel held a press conference to announce the launch of a major new science award, the biennial AkzoNobel North America Science Award. The award will recognize outstanding scientific contributions in chemistry and materials science. The first award winner, to be announced next February, will receive a $75,000 prize. The call for nominations appears online at and will be open through July 6.

ACS also saluted Dow Chemical in San Diego for the company’s support of the 44th International Chemistry Olympiad, which will take place in July. Dow is the event’s sole sponsor and has invested $2.5 million to bring the event to the U.S. for the first time since 1992.

Other activities included the ACS Board of Directors’ open meeting, which featured a discussion of the future of graduate education and research, and the ACS Council meeting, at which candidates were chosen for major society offices. Councilors selected two candidates for 2013 ACS president-elect: Thomas J. Barton, Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Iowa State University, Ames, and Luis A. Echegoyen, Robert A. Welch Professor of Chemistry, University of Texas, El Paso.

The council also approved ACS dues of $151 for 2013, approved revisions to a code of conduct for chemists, approved petitions related to market data collection and to requests for recording votes during council meetings, and discussed the ACS Climate Science Toolkit (C&EN, Nov. 21, 2011, page 40).

The Committee on Budget & Finance reported on the society’s 2011 financial performance at the council meeting. Revenues totaled $472 million, while net contribution from operations reached $21 million, $8 million more than had been budgeted. The strong showing resulted largely from expense management across the society and better-than-expected performance by the Publications Division.

The Committee on Chemical Safety voted to approve a report from its Safety Culture Task Force that provides guidance, suggestions, examples, and recommendations to help strengthen the safety culture in academe.


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