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Chemists Convene In Fog City

ACS Meeting News: ‘Chemistry & Global Stewardship’ was meeting theme

by Sophie L. Rovner
August 14, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 33

Photo of graduate students from Stanford hop on a cable car during the fall 2014 ACS national meeting in San Francisco.
Credit: Linda Wang/C&EN
Stanford University graduate students wave from a cable car.

As a hotbed of environmentalism and a destination for travelers from around the globe, San Francisco was a fitting backdrop for the American Chemical Society national meeting. The meeting’s green, international theme was probed in many symposia, including those on climate science literacy and global stewardship of materials facing critical shortages.

Highlights of the meeting included an undergraduate summit on climate change that featured remote speakers in Costa Rica, India, Malaysia, and Poland. And ACS President Tom J. Barton sponsored two presidential symposia: one focused on hydraulic fracturing and the other explored photocatalytic splitting of water, including a session by up-and-coming stars in energy research.

Joan F. Brennecke, a University of Notre Dame professor, discussed ionic liquids and global stewardship in The Fred Kavli Innovations in Chemistry Lecture. Ali Khademhosseini, an associate professor whose affiliations include the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology, spoke about hydrogels for tissue regeneration in The Kavli Foundation Emerging Leader in Chemistry Lecture.

Credit: Linda Wang/C&EN
Brennecke (left) and Khademhosseini presented The Kavli Lectures.
Photo of Joan Brennecke (left) and Ali Khademhosseini at Kavli lectures during the fall 2014 ACS national meeting in San Francisco.
Credit: Linda Wang/C&EN
Brennecke (left) and Khademhosseini presented The Kavli Lectures.

ACS Executive Director and CEO Madeleine Jacobs, who is retiring at the end of this year, was feted on a number of occasions during the meeting. The philanthropic Kavli Foundation announced that, in Jacobs’s honor, it will extend sponsorship of its emerging leader lecture series through 2025. Jacobs also received a standing ovation at the ACS Board of Directors’ open meeting, which featured a lecture about the periodic table by best-selling author Sam Kean.

At the ACS Council meeting, Jacobs spoke of her gratitude and awe for the support she has received during her leadership of ACS and her tenure with C&EN.

Also at the council meeting, councilors approved a petition to charter the South Africa International Chemical Sciences Chapter. And the Committee on Budget & Finance reported that ACS’s projected 2014 revenues will reach $497.2 million and net contribution from operations will total $14.4 million.

In all, nearly 12,000 papers were presented. Approximately 16,000 chemists and other visitors attended, and the exposition drew some 300 exhibitor companies. The on-site ACS Career Fair hosted 604 job seekers and 38 employers. The Virtual Career Fair attracted 687 job seekers with online access to 11 employers.

In addition to the meeting’s theme-related programming, attendees enjoyed other sessions. A new book based on input from members of the Women Chemists Committee, “Mom, the Chemistry Professor,” was discussed at a symposium on chemistry professors who are also mothers. Other sessions covered such subjects as students and workers with disabilities, chemistry education, cooking science, food allergen research, self-healing materials, and advances in nanomedicine.

Finalists in ACS’s pilot Chemistry Champions science communication competition gave presentations before a live audience and panel of judges. Jennifer Novotney, a graduate student at Cornell University who spoke about the importance of polymers and her work with them, was voted the inaugural ACS Chemistry Champion. Novotney will head to Washington, D.C., to star in an ACS Reactions video, meet with science communicators at ACS, speak at an event by NAS’s Science & Entertainment Exchange, and be a guest on Kiki Sanford’s “This Week in Science” radio show.


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