Surrounded by the snowcapped Rocky Mountains and home to numerous oil, gas, and mining companies, Denver proved a fitting site for the American Chemical Society national meeting and exposition, which spotlighted the “Chemistry of Natural Resources” from March 22–26.
Inspired by the area’s rugged landscape, some attendees challenged themselves on an indoor rock-climbing wall set up by the ACS Publications Division in the Colorado Convention Center’s expo hall.
In keeping with the meeting’s theme, three plenary lectures covered topics including the role of gas hydrates in energy transportation and storage; the impediments to producing advanced biofuels; and the challenges of supplying clean, safe water now and into the future.
Other national meeting highlights included The Kavli Foundation lectures presented by Theodore Betley, a professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Harvard University, and by Laura L. Kiessling, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry and director of the Keck Center for Chemical Genomics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
In a reflection of the still-difficult job outlook for chemists, the on-site ACS Career Fair hosted 27 employers and 715 job seekers, who had access to 85 available positions. The online Virtual Career Fair attracted six employers and 918 job seekers, who were vying for 38 job openings.
In all, nearly 14,000 chemists and other visitors attended the meeting in Denver. More than 10,000 scientific papers were presented.
ACS Central Science—the society’s new open access, multidisciplinary journal—unveiled its first issue at the meeting. “Our vision for the journal is to showcase the centrality of chemistry,” said founding editor Carolyn R. Bertozzi, a professor of chemistry and molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley. “We are particularly excited to be the first fully open access journal at ACS, meaning we can reach the broadest audience possible.”
Also at the meeting, the ACS Board of Directors recognized the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for its efforts in promoting the peaceful use of chemistry.
During the ACS Council meeting, candidates were chosen to run for major society offices this fall. Councilors selected two candidates for 2016 ACS president-elect: G. Bryan Balazs, an associate program leader at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Allison A. Campbell, associate laboratory director of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory.
In addition, the council discussed the financial aspects of the society’s national meeting technical sessions and exposition, and provided advice on how to manage resources needed to support those activities.
The council voted to approve a $4.00 increase in ACS dues to $162 for 2016. It also approved establishment of ACS International Chemical Sciences Chapters in India and Taiwan.
The Committee on Budget & Finance reported on the society’s 2014 financial performance at the council meeting. Revenues totaled $499.0 million, and net contribution from operations reached $17.9 million, $4.2 million more than had been budgeted. The strong showing resulted from favorable performances from ACS information services and investments, as well as continued emphasis on expense management across the society.
Despite these favorable operating results, the society’s financial position weakened in 2014, with unrestricted net assets declining $62.3 million, to $144.7 million at year-end. This decline was the result of a significant accounting charge related to the society’s two closed postretirement benefit plans.