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ACS hosts international chapters conference in Asia

by Christopher LaPrade, ACS staff
November 20, 2017 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 95, ISSUE 46

Credit: Christopher LaPrade
Fraser Stoddart talked about outreach during his plenary lecture at the inaugural APICC in South Korea.

A nearly two-year planning process to bring together chemistry practitioners and American Chemical Society members in the Asia-Pacific region culminated in the inaugural ACS Asia-Pacific International Chapters Conference (APICC) Nov. 5–8 in Jeju, South Korea.

The general chemistry conference, organized by 10 ACS international chemical sciences chapters in the Asia-Pacific region, was hosted by the ACS South Korea Chapter under the direction of Yung Doug Suh of the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology and Sungkyunkwan University, who served as general-secretary of the meeting.

“This conference brought ACS to the Asia-Pacific,” says conference chair Agnes Rimando of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “There’s nothing more rewarding than to see chemists in the region who may not be able to present at an ACS national meeting in the U.S. happily participate and present new research findings.” APICC was held alongside the 2017 High Performance Liquid Chromatography meeting.

Inspiration for a regional gathering of chemistry practitioners came out of the 2015 International Chapters Summit held during the Pacifichem meeting, which brings together chemical societies in the Pacific Basin. With more than 12,000 members in the Asia-Pacific region, ACS has signaled a commitment to helping members advance their chemistry in the region. Suh adds that “APICC has the ability to broaden the horizon of ACS in the Asia-Pacific.”

“It was gratifying for me to see chemistry practitioners share their work and network across borders,” says Ellene Tratras Contis, chair of the ACS Committee on International Activities and a chemistry professor at Eastern Michigan University.

Fraser Stoddart, best known for his 2016 Nobel Prize-winning work on molecular machines, gave a plenary lecture titled “My Journey to Stockholm.” “Life is not always a bowl of cherries,” Stoddart emphasized during his lecture. He shared the challenges, both personally and professionally, that took him on his route to the annals of chemical history. A scientific communicator known for his prolific tweets, Stoddart encouraged greater collaboration and mentorship in the chemistry community and said he wants to see more chemists share their science with the public.

In the spirit of chemistry outreach, the ACS South Korea Chapter hosted two Chemistry Festivals in conjunction with APICC for roughly 250 students.

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