ACS Seeks Champion Communicator | May 19, 2014 Issue - Vol. 92 Issue 20 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 92 Issue 20 | p. 35
Issue Date: May 19, 2014

ACS Seeks Champion Communicator

Department: ACS News
Keywords: ACS, public outreach, science communication
Credit: Elaine Seward/ACS
Logo for ACS's 2014 Chemistry Champions video contest.
Credit: Elaine Seward/ACS

If you’re eager to brush up on your science communication skills and you relish some friendly competition, consider entering the American Chemical Society’s new ACS Chemistry Champions contest. Your video entry could win you a free trip to the fall 2014 ACS national meeting in San Francisco, as well as training in explaining chemistry to nonscientists. That training could pay off when you want to describe the pleasures of chemistry to a friend or even when you interview for a job.

The competition is intended to “give younger chemists the opportunity to develop and enhance their communication skills,” says Public Policy Communications Manager Darcy J. Gentleman, who is spearheading the project for ACS.

Modeled loosely on the “American Idol” singing competition series on TV, the contest will winnow the initial entrants down to a small group of semifinalists and ultimately to a single champion. The competition is open to ACS members who are undergraduate or graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, or pretenure faculty at U.S. academic institutions.

Details about the contest, including instructions, entry requirements, a release form, and tips on speaking with nonscientists, can be found at

To enter, create a two- to three-minute video in which you describe your research as if you’re speaking with a family member who isn’t a scientist. After posting it on YouTube by 3 PM EDT on June 6, you’ll promote your video via Twitter.

ACS staff will judge the videos by the number of views they garner as well as presentation quality and scientific accuracy. Up to 10 semifinalists will be selected to advance to the second round, which will take place at the fall ACS national meeting. Semifinalists will receive free flights to and from the meeting; hotel accommodation for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night; and $200 toward meeting registration fees.

Semifinalists will hone and deliver their presentations during a private science communication workshop on Saturday, Aug. 9, in San Francisco. ACS staff will select up to five finalists.

The finalists will give their revised presentations before a live public audience on the evening of Sunday, Aug. 10, in San Francisco. A judging panel will provide constructive criticism of the presentations. The winning ACS Chemistry Champion will be selected by a real-time popular vote incorporating Twitter participation.

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Chirakkal V Krishnan, retired professor and teacher of chemistry (May 22, 2014 6:25 PM)
My preference is for the competition open to all. Also I would prefer to see a free membership for the winner, if the winner is already not a member.
ACS Chemistry Champions (May 28, 2014 12:30 PM)
Thank you for your interest in Chemistry Champions. The project is a pilot for 2014: we have decided to focus our initial efforts on younger/early career ACS Members, experiment with social media abilities to communicate science, and provide an opportunity for those making it to the Finals to present in front of a public audience.

As Chemistry Champions develops interest and we have the experience of running it once, we hope to consider alternative options moving forward. Please contact us at with any questions.

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