This is a guest editorial by Albert G. Horvath, CEO of the American Chemical Society, and Sarah Tegen, chief publishing officer of ACS.
On Aug. 10, the science journalism community lost a bright star, and C&EN lost its new editor in chief. Mohammed Yahia died en route to ACS Fall 2023. He was 41 years old. He is survived by his wife and two school-age children.
Mohammed had joined the American Chemical Society, which publishes C&EN, just days before the meeting and was in the process of moving his family to Washington, DC. While we had known him for a short time, we were struck by his energy, enthusiasm, and compelling editorial vision. We are still struggling with the emotion of this unexpected loss.
Before joining ACS, Mohammed had been an executive editor for Nature Middle East and had launched Arabic- language editions of Nature and Scientific American. He was a past president of the World Federation of Science Journalists. He will be remembered as a passionate advocate for global journalism and mentorship of early-career writers.
Global tributes to Mohammed and his work have poured in, and ACS is working with colleagues across the science journalism profession to find a suitable way to remember him.
What struck us about Mohammed was not only his innovative vision for C&EN but the skill he had previously demonstrated in developing global, digital products. As we got to know him, his obvious care and compassion for his new team shone through, along with a highly collaborative style that would have served C&EN and ACS well. We were so fortunate to find someone of Mohammed’s skill, empathy, and leadership to be the editor of C&EN.
We are simply devastated by this loss, and yet we will continue the important work of C&EN. We are grateful that Mike McCoy has agreed to serve as interim editor in chief once again. With 25 years of experience in chemical business reporting, including timeleading a sizable team of reporters and editors, Mike is the leader we need today.
Even in Mohammed’s very early days with the magazine, he was working to fill our significant staff vacancies. He had just begun to make several staff appointments. We’re pleased to carry out his vision and let you know that Laura Howes and Mitch Jacoby have been promoted to executive editors of life sciences and physical sciences, respectively. Chris Gorski will be our permanent science news editor. C&EN will begin recruiting to fill several reporter vacancies in the coming days.
We will immediately return our attention to identifying an editor in chief of similar caliber as Mohammed to help propel us into the future. Our commitment to C&EN and its community of readers is as strong as ever.
C&EN commemorated its centennial at ACS Fall 2023. Its longevity is a product of the outstanding work of so many editors and reporters who came before, and we are committed to ensuring that it remains vibrant and relevant for another century. ACS is a more vital organization with C&EN as one of its pillars. These are difficult days for all of us, and yet C&EN will continue to be resilient.