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For President-Elect: William A. Lester Jr.

September 7, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 36

California Section. University of California, Berkeley

Academic record: University of Chicago, B.S., 1958, M.S., 1959; Catholic University of America, Ph.D., 1964. All degrees in chemistry.

Honors: ACS Fellow, 2011; ACS Stanley C. Israel Regional Award for Advancing Diversity in the Chemical Sciences, 2008; William A. Lester Jr. Festschrift, Journal of Physical Chemistry A, Vol. 112, No. 10, 2008; Symposium in Honor of William A. Lester Jr., University of California, Berkeley, 2007; Berkeley Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence, 2006; International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science, 2006; Outstanding Service Award, National Science Foundation, 1996; California Academy of Sciences Fellow, 1994; American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, 1991; Outstanding Teacher Award, NOBCChE, 1986; American Physical Society Fellow, 1984; Alumni Achievement Award in Science, Catholic University of America, 1983; Percy Julian Award, NOBCChE, 1979; IBM Corporation Outstanding Contribution Award, 1974

Professional positions (for past 10 years): University of California, Berkeley, Professor of the Graduate School, 2010– , professor, 1981–2010; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, faculty senior scientist, 1981–

Service in ACS national offices: Task Force on Large-Scale Computing, Joint Board-Council Committee on Science, 1983–84; Journal of Physical Chemistry, editorial board, 1979–81

Service in ACS offices:Wisconsin Section: secretary-treasurer, 1967–68. Division of Physical Chemistry: chair, 1979. Division of Computers in Chemistry: treasurer (founding), 1974–77

Member: Member of ACS since 1965. Sigma Xi, Board of Directors, 1998–99, chair, Committee on Lectureships, 1998–2002; American Association for the Advancement of Science, Board of Directors, 1993–97; American Physical Society, chair, Division of Chemical Physics, 1986–87; NOBCChE, Board of Directors, 1984–87; California Academy of Sciences. ACS Divisions: Computers in Chemistry, Physical Chemistry

Related activities: Gordon Research Conferences (GRC) Board of Trustees, 2006–11; National Research Council Board on Chemical Sciences & Technology, 2003–06; President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science, 2000–02; National Research Council Army Research Laboratory Technical Assessment Board, 1996–99; National Science Foundation, senior fellow for science and engineering and assistant to the director for human resource development, 1995–96; National Science Foundation, Joint Advisory Committees for Advanced Scientific Computing and Networking & Communications Research & Infrastructure, chair, 1987; U.S.-Sweden Workshop on the Future of Chemistry, U.S. delegation head, Saltsjöbaden, Sweden, Oct. 6–7, 1984; National Research Council, Committee To Survey Opportunities in the Chemical Sciences, 1982–84; National Bureau of Standards, Panel for Chemical Physics, 1980–83; National Science Foundation, Chemistry Division Advisory Panel, 1980–83; National Resource for Computation in Chemistry, director, 1978–81; International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry, U.S. National Committee, 1976–79; GRC, Atomic & Molecular Interactions, chair, 1978; Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Directorate of Chemical Sciences, Chemistry Research Evaluation Panel, 1974–78; published more than 240 journal articles and book chapters; edited or coedited five books; coauthored one treatise


Watch For Your Ballot

All voting members of ACS will receive ballots enabling them to vote for president-elect. Only members with mailing addresses in Districts III and VI will receive ballots to vote for director from those districts. Only voting councilors will receive ballots for the director-at-large elections.

All ballots will be mailed on Oct. 3. The deadline for voting or return of marked ballots, which may be done online or by paper ballot, respectively, is close of business on Nov. 14.

The American Chemical Society is the premier scientific organization in the world. Its programs encompass all the areas of interest to society members. To some extent, one might ask, “What is there left for the society to address?” As we look around our country, we see much that needs attention: the economy, employment, science education, to name a few. For ACS to remain viable and continue to grow, we must retain focus on those aspects of our programs and initiatives that have risen to the fore at this time. I shall not attempt to enumerate them, much less attempt to put forth solutions. No one person can do that which calls for the wisdom and energy of the society as embodied in the council, its many committees, and the membership at large. During these changing times, it is critical that we focus our energy and resources on directions that hold the greatest promise to address current issues coupled with the long-term view of how we shall position ourselves for the future.

ACS has an organizational fabric encompassing national meetings, divisions, local sections, and numerous other activities. These and other resources of the society need to continue to be called upon to provide the data and insight needed for solid decision making. The strategic plan provides an excellent thrust in this direction.

As we proceed, however, it is important to note the changing demographics of our country while at the same time to recognize that many of our youth are turning a deaf ear to science knowledge. We know that a critical component in this regard is the capability of those who teach science. We should build on the recent national emphasis on STEM education by connecting with the Department of Education and other entities that have the potential of strongly influencing K–12 science and math education. This effort is, of course, consonant with developments already under way by the society.

There is also the significant problem at the college level arising out of limited funding that has diminished classroom access by many. We must work locally as well as nationally to foster efforts to address this issue if our country is to continue to build the base of expertise needed to address societal needs in technical areas.

At the postgraduate level, we confront the issues connected with continuing education for those with inclination and capability to do so as well as mechanisms to support this further development. ACS has played an important role in this regard, but the demand remains and is being impacted by the current economy.

This quickly gets us to the employment sector and current realities. That times are difficult is a statement of the obvious as young people strive for employment in sectors that they have studied to work in. At the same time, we recognize that some people who work in these sectors are confronting issues of continued employment. We must work to assist in identifying optimum ways of assisting these important problem areas that impact our membership and society more broadly.

I have touched on problem areas that I believe we can agree on as being of particular importance at this time. I look forward to working with you on remedies to these challenges and others as ACS president-elect. To do so, I need your support.

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