If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.


ACS News

Senior Chemists Committee: Making progress

by Thomas R. Beattie, Chair, ACS Senior Chemists Committee
May 29, 2017 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 95, Issue 22

Tom Beattie
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography
A photo of Tom Beattie.
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography

The Senior Chemists Committee’s mission is to address and support the needs and ambitions of senior chemists and to use their experience and knowledge. As the newest ACS national committee, we are keenly interested in measuring our progress as we proceed.

We have made strides in the past year. For example, to facilitate better communication with our constituents, we have replaced our e-mail address with This easily recognizable e-mail address will be the point of contact for both outgoing messages, such as the Newsletter for Senior Chemists, and incoming feedback, such as responses on our Senior Chemists Group on the ACS Network, as well as general inquiries. This modification to the e-mail address has increased our newsletter open rate by 25%, a substantial increase considering that our e-mails are distributed to 45,000 recipients.

We have also expanded our recognition efforts. ACS has long honored 50- and 60-year members. During a committee discussion, the question was raised, “What about the 70-year members?” I am pleased to report that for the first time, local sections received 70-year certificates to give out in addition to the usual 50- and 60-year member certificates. Remarkably, we recognized 118 70-year members representing 70 local sections, and in a letter to all local section officers, the committee encouraged them to include these members in their recognition efforts. Now, the question of 80-year members has been raised—and, yes, there are some!

Senior Chemists Committee Strategic Plan

Our vision: Improving lives using the knowledge and experience of senior chemists.

Our mission: To address and support the needs and ambitions of senior chemists and to utilize their experience and knowledge.

Strategic goals: 1. Develop and implement an active senior network to provide two-way communication. 2. Increase the number of local section senior chemists committees to 35–40 in the next three years. 3. Develop activities that engage senior chemists to use their expertise and experience.

Another area in which the Senior Chemists Committee has been working is in promoting engagement through our local sections. For example, we are encouraging connections between senior ACS members and teachers who are members of the American Association of Chemistry Teachers. The committee recently distributed a letter to local section leaders detailing how the committee can facilitate these connections. A similar message was broadcast in the latest Newsletter for Senior Chemists.

Eight ACS regional meetings will take place in 2017, and the Senior Chemists Committee will be encouraging an event at six of those meetings to capture the interest of senior chemists. Although there are no statistics on senior chemist attendance at regional meetings, if seniors do attend, the Senior Chemists Committee wants to enhance their meeting experience. In the fall, we will evaluate our experience and decide whether to continue in 2018.

The committee was present at the ACS Leadership Development Conference Resource Fair in Dallas in January and made numerous contacts with attendees, particularly new local section officers. It was a productive experience, which has convinced us to return in January 2018.

We will also have a booth in the exhibition hall at the ACS national meeting in Washington, D.C., in August to meet and engage in discussions with our senior chemist colleagues. Please stop by and learn more about us and how we can enhance your ACS experience.

Our Senior Chemists Group on the ACS Network is up and running. We are pleased with the number of visits to the site, and we are encouraging more committee members to post messages and interact. Our site also contains information about how to organize a local section senior chemists group.

We were pleased, too, with the outcome of a symposium at the ACS national meeting in San Francisco in April, which was cosponsored by the Younger Chemists Committee and the Division of the History of Chemistry. Five speakers described highlights in industrial chemistry. Because of the strong attendance, we are exploring a symposium for the 2018 spring ACS national meeting in New Orleans, possibly with an academic focus.

While most of the initiatives I’ve described are new, I want to mention progress made in our continuing programs. This year, more local sections described having a senior chemists committee in their annual report. On the basis of self-nominations in the annual report, we will be awarding a ChemLuminary Award for an outstanding local section senior chemist activity. We are also offering local sections the opportunity to apply for grants to establish senior chemist activities with younger chemists and with the public.

Our participation in the Student Speed Networking with Chemistry Professionals event at ACS national meetings is continuing and will happen again at the fall ACS national meeting in Washington, D.C., along with the Tuesday morning Senior Chemists Committee breakfast. And the Newsletter for Senior Chemists is thriving, with some new features in the May 2017 issue. Please check for a May 19 e-mail from if you have not already found it.

Finally, the Senior Chemists Committee added five new associate members in January, which helped increase diversity on our committee. Overall interest within the committee is very high, and members have already committed to a strategic planning follow-up meeting at the 2018 fall ACS national meeting in Boston. If you have comments, questions, or suggestions, please contact me at

Views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of C&EN or ACS.


This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.