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September 12, 2011
Volume 89, Number 37
pp. 40 - 41

ACS Elections: Candidates' Election Statements And Backgrounds

For Director-At-Large: Charles E. Kolb

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Northeastern Section. Aerodyne Research Inc., Billerica, Mass.

Academic record: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, S.B., 1967; Princeton University, M.S., 1968, Ph.D., 1971

Honors: ACS Fellow, 2009; ACS Northeastern Section Henry A. Hill Memorial Award, 2005; ACS Creative Advances in Environmental Science & Technology Award, 1997; American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, 2001; American Geophysical Union Fellow, 2000; American Physical Society Fellow, 1997; Optical Society of America Fellow, 1988; National Associate, National Academies, 2003; Conceptual Foundations of Chemistry Lecturer, Arizona State University, 1998; Harris Lecturer, Texas A&M University, 2001; Hottel Lecturer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2003

Professional positions (for past 10 years): Aerodyne Research, president and CEO, 1984– , executive vice president and director of research, 1981–84, Applied Science Division, corporate vice president and director, 1979–80; Center for Chemistry & Environmental Physics, director, 1977–79, principal research scientist, 1975–77, senior research scientist, 1971–75

Service in ACS national offices: Committee on Environmental Improvement, 2003–12, chair, 2006–08, committee associate, 2001–02; Presidential Task Force on Enhancing Innovation & Competitiveness, 2007–08; Editorial Advisory Board, Environmental Science & Technology, 2011

Service in ACS offices: Member of ACS since 1969. Northeastern Section: chair-elect, 1990; chair, 1991; trustee, 1994–96; Richards Medal Committee, 1998–06, chair 2005–06; Esselen Award Committee, 2007–11, chair, 2009–10

Member: American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Physical Society, Optical Society of America, American Geophysical Union, Combustion Institute, Union of Concerned Scientists. ACS Divisions: Environmental Chemistry, Physical Chemistry

Related activities: Twenty National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences boards and committees, including Committee on Atmospheric Chemistry, 1987–90, chair, 1990–93; Committee on Tropospheric Ozone Formation & Measurement, 1989–91; Committee on Review & Evaluation of the Army Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program, 1993–2000, vice chair, 1998–2000; Committee on Research Opportunities & Priorities for the EPA, 1995–97; Board on Atmospheric Sciences & Climate, 1990–93, 1997–2000; Committee on Review & Evaluation of Chemical Events at Army Chemical Disposal Facilities, chair, 2001–02; Committee on Chemical Demilitarization, 2003–10; Committee on Monitoring at Chemical Agent Disposal Facilities, chair, 2004–05; Committee on the Significance of International Transport of Air Pollutants, chair, 2008–09; Board on Chemical Science & Technology, 2008– ; Committee on Assessment of Agent Monitoring Strategies for the Blue Grass & Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plants, chair, 2011; NASA Panel for Chemical Kinetics & Photochemical Data Evaluation, 1991– ; Atmospheric Effects of Aviation Program Steering Committee, 1998–2000; NSF Advisory Committee for Geosciences, 1998–2000; MIT Regional Laser Center Advisory Board, 1981–92; University of Massachusetts, Boston, Scientific Advisory Board, 1992–94; Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Science Advisory Committee, Harvard University, 2003–05; Princeton University Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering Advisory Council, 2000– , chair, 2008– ; Idaho National Engineering & Environmental Laboratory, Board of Visitors, 1998–2000, Environmental & Energy Sciences Review Committee, 2001–04; Gordon Research Conference on Atmospheric Chemistry, cochair, 1991; Editorial Advisory Board, International Journal of Chemical Kinetics, 1990–92; atmospheric sciences editor, Geophysics Research Letters, 1996–99. Published more than 200 archival journal articles and book chapters; three patents in laser spectroscopy and mass spectrometry atmospheric monitoring


These are challenging times for both our American Chemical Society and the many national and regional societies where ACS members live and work. Most governments, from national to local levels, face fiscal deficits that threaten to curtail investments in both their educational and their research and development activities. Funding shortfalls have already had or will soon have negative impacts on the activities of many ACS members. Many corporations and nonprofit institutes are faced with reduced revenues and increased competition that threaten their vitality and their employees’ security. Governments and corporations worldwide face economic, educational, environmental, energy supply, health care, and security challenges that demand innovative and efficient responses.

ACS itself, which has traditionally relied heavily on revenues from its extensive publishing activities, must scramble to ensure that the ongoing revolutionary changes in how information is produced, vetted, and disseminated do not eliminate much of its income. Traditional approaches may not be adequate to steer ACS safely through an unsettled future or help ACS members navigate the career challenges that many are experiencing.

However, trying times often also offer exciting opportunities. New technologies, many based on chemical innovations, will be key to the development and growth of more sustainable and reliable energy systems, a cleaner and more stable environment, more effective strategies to prevent and treat disease, more competitive and greener commercial products and services, and better methods to protect societies from both terrorist and military assaults.

Goal 3 of ACS’s recently developed strategic plan pledges that the society “will be a global leader in enlisting the world’s scientific professionals to address, through chemistry, the challenges facing our world.” ACS’s membership represents a huge reservoir of scientific, technical, and entrepreneurial talent that can be activated and empowered by clear expositions of the challenges and opportunities facing our world. I believe that Goal 3 can be best met by vigorously developing projects and programs that explain and explore scientific and technological bottlenecks and breakthroughs relevant to pressing societal problems. Engaging our membership, and, as appropriate, the membership of our relevant sister scientific and technical societies, in our pursuit of Goal 3 is the best way to ensure the continued vitality and relevance of ACS and the research and educational impact of ACS members.

I am not a traditional candidate for high ACS office. I am not an academic, a government scientist, or an employee of a chemical, materials, or pharmaceutical company. When I finished graduate school in 1971, I joined a small new multidisciplinary R&D company as its first chemist. Since 1984, I have led that company, which employs about 50 graduate scientists and engineers, all working in multidisciplinary teams addressing important environmental quality, energy technology, and national defense problems. Because most of our R&D projects involve collaborations with academic or national laboratory colleagues, we frequently mentor undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students. In the course of our R&D activities, we have developed a number of useful research tools that we now sell to our research colleagues worldwide, generating about half of our revenues.

I present this biographical data only to illustrate that I have experienced the power of multidisciplinary, multi-institutional, and multigenerational teams focused on real-world problems. Furthermore, at my company, these teams often produce fundamental advances in chemistry, frequently published in ACS journals. I believe that similar teams of ACS members, supplemented as necessary with colleagues from other disciplines, can stimulate exciting progress on the challenges that currently confront society and at the same time help ensure the vitality and relevance of the American Chemical Society. Chemists and chemical engineers, as practitioners of the central science and working with their peers in other fields, can and must be encouraged and empowered to engage the major issues of our times.

Work with my corporate board of directors and service on a wide variety of advisory boards for universities, national laboratories, and the National Research Council have taught me that effective boards require the active participation of members with diverse experiences and differing viewpoints. If elected to the ACS Board, I will use my nontraditional background to work with interested members and staff to motivate and implement activities that inform ACS members about major societal challenges and empower them to contribute to their solutions.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society
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