Given its longtime association with oil and gas production, which was glamorized by the eponymous television series, Dallas proved a fitting place for last week’s American Chemical Society national meeting and exposition, which spotlighted chemistry and materials for energy.
In true Texas style, attendees enjoyed several engaging ACS Publications Division-sponsored events such as a country-western line dancing demonstration. A “Celebrity Tic-Tac-Toe” game show also corralled crowds. Nine journal and magazine editors took part, answering a variety of questions in a lighthearted “Hollywood Squares” format.
In keeping with the meeting’s theme, three plenary lectures covered topics including catalysis for sustainable energy, methods for characterizing fuel-cell and battery materials, and molecular approaches to solar energy conversion.
National meeting highlights included the The Kavli Foundation lectures presented by John A. Rogers, a professor of materials science and engineering in the department of chemistry at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and by Emily A. Weiss, an associate chemistry professor and research professor at Northwestern University.
In a reflection of the still-difficult job outlook for chemists, the on-site ACS Career Fair hosted 30 employers and 770 job seekers, who had access to 91 available positions. The Virtual Career Fair attracted seven employers and 861 job seekers, who were vying for 15 job openings.
In all, more than 13,705 chemists and other visitors attended the meeting in Dallas. More than 10,000 scientific papers were presented.
At a theater in the expo hall, ACS made presentations aimed at enticing members to participate in Chemistry Champions, a new contest spearheaded by the ACS Office of Public Affairs that will showcase innovative ways to communicate the benefits of chemistry to the public.
The open meeting of the ACS Board of Directors featured a discussion of the question: “What is the one best thing that you like that ACS does and why?” ACS members, including a number of students, provided answers that highlighted the society’s ability to build community, support education, disseminate chemical information, and advocate for chemistry.
During the ACS Council meeting, candidates were chosen for major society offices. Councilors selected two candidates for 2015 ACS president-elect: Peter K. Dorhout, dean of arts and sciences and a professor of chemistry at Kansas State University, Manhattan, and William A. Lester Jr., a professor of the graduate school in the chemistry department at the University of California, Berkeley, and senior faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
The council voted to approve a $4.00 increase in ACS annual dues to $158 for 2015. It also approved establishment of ACS International Chemical Sciences Chapters in South Korea and Malaysia, as well as a petition that enables the North Jersey Section of ACS to expand its territory to include the area of the former Monmouth County Section.
The council also approved changes in the way ACS distributes funds to the divisions beginning in 2015.
The Committee on Budget & Finance reported on the society’s 2013 financial performance at the council meeting. Revenues totaled $490.5 million, and net contribution from operations reached $15.1 million, $2.0 million more than had been budgeted. The strong showing resulted largely from cost-containment measures adopted throughout ACS.