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Policy

Coming soon: science emojis

by Bibiana Campos Seijo
November 14, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 45

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Credit: Anna Smylie
Credit: Anna Smylie

After the November 8 elections in the U.S., are you feeling 😀 or 😭 ? Either way, you can read our coverage on how the election of Donald J. Trump to President and a Republican-controlled Congress may affect the chemistry enterprise on page 5.

But I don’t want to talk about the election. After weeks of political wrangling, I want to talk about something a lot more trivial and that was widely used during election night: the happy and not-so-happy faces I have inserted into my opening line.

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Credit: Anna Smylie
Credit: Anna Smylie
[+]Enlarge
Credit: Anna Smylie
Credit: Anna Smylie

For those of you who don’t know what these symbols are, they are called emojis—the word comes from Japanese and translates as pictographs—and they are used in websites and electronic communications such as text and e-mail to replace words or emphasize emotion. If you don’t know what emojis are, then you definitely won’t know that there is a list of official emojis—close to 1,000 of them, with 70 new emojis being added every year—and an organization called Unicode Consortium that oversees this list. You also won’t know about Emojicon, a 3-day emoji convention that gathered close to 400 people in San Francisco at the beginning of November. During Emojicon, emoji enthusiasts and designers came together to develop proposals for new ones.

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Credit: Anna Smylie
Credit: Anna Smylie

A reporter from the C&EN team, Jessica Morrison, was at Emojicon representing ACS. She had been invited to attend and participate in the science track, which was created to ensure that scientists have their share of emojis. Watch C&EN in the coming weeks for a report by Morrison on what’s behind the push for science emojis.

The science track was productive and ended up submitting a proposal to create emojis for the planets of the solar system. In coming weeks, the team expects to submit a second proposal to create a variety of science-related emojis, including ones based on the sketches shown here.

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Credit: Anna Smylie
Credit: Anna Smylie

While we wait for review by Unicode and potential inclusion of official science emojis, you are welcome to use ACS’s Chemojis, a set of chemistry emojilike stickers, created by a team at ACS led by Morrison. You can download them at cen.acs.org/acs-chemoji.html.

Given that 6 billion emojis and emoticons, such as the classic :) or ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ , are sent around the world every day on mobile messaging apps, you are likely to encounter these little fellows again very soon.

Views expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of ACS.


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