Brazil is suffering. In recent weeks, the total number of COVID-19 infections and daily confirmed cases has become the second highest in the world, after the US. Brazil has recorded more than 75,000 deaths so far and daily new cases are currently hovering at around 40,000. And just like the US, Brazil has become a global epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak. The two countries stand out as the only two nations in the world with numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the millions—Brazil is at the 2 million mark and the US is at 3.5 million. For a comparison, the population of Brazil is 210 million and that of the US is 330 million.
The response of Brazil’s leadership to the COVID-19 pandemic can only be described as reckless denial. Since the outbreak started, the president, Jair Bolsonaro, against guidance provided by public health authorities, continued to participate in and host various events including demonstrations and political rallies. It came as no surprise that on July 7 he announced he tested positive for the virus.
Bolsonaro has not shown much respect for science and scientific advice and the country is worse for it. Against this backdrop, C&EN wants to take the opportunity to celebrate science, particularly scientists in Brazil. And for the third time in as many years, we are opening nominations for our 2020 Awards for Brazilian Women in Chemistry and Related Sciences.Women still represent a minority of leadership positions in chemistry globally and Brazil is no exception.
These awards are supported by the American Chemical Society and the Brazilian Chemical Society (SBQ) and conveyed in partnership with our colleagues from CAS, a division of ACS. Our goal is to promote gender equality in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in Brazil. And, especially this year—given the pandemic that is devastating many regions of the world and affecting some groups disproportionately—we aim to highlight the impact of diversity on scientific research and in the field of chemistry.
We are looking for individuals that fit one of the following three categories:
▸ Early career. This award recognizes the achievements of an outstanding young chemical scientist or entrepreneur. This exceptional scientist will be younger than 40 years old and no more than 10 years removed from earning a doctorate.
▸ Leadership in industry. This award recognizes an individual working in the chemical industry whose research and creative innovations have led to discoveries that have contributed to commercial success and, consequently, to the good of the community and society.
▸ Leadership in academia. This award recognizes an established academic who has made an important contribution with a global and societal impact on scientific research in chemistry or a related science.
Winners will each receive a $2,000 cash award as well as 3 years of free access to CAS’s SciFinder and 3 years of membership to ACS. I’m happy to report that in 2020, in addition to ACS and SBQ, we have expanded the number of supporting organizations to include the Brazilian Association of Pharmaceutical Sciences, the Brazilian Society of Materials Research, the Brazilian Society of Pharmacognosy, and the Academy of Sciences of the State of São Paulo.
These societies have been worried about the continued attacks on science and scientific advice. They understand the value that diversity, inclusion, and respect bring to research and the scientific conversation and are willing to stand behind and support this effort.
You have until the end of July to let us know of any candidates you think are deserving of this recognition. In these difficult times, let’s celebrate Brazilian science around the world. Nominate a scientist at cenm.ag/brazilchem.
Views expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of ACS.