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January 29, 2009

ACS News

ACS Releases Global Challenges Report

Water quality and safety are among topics covered in publication

Linda Wang

The American Chemical Society on Jan. 27 released its "Final Report on Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions." The report highlights the research challenges and opportunities in critical areas such as global climate change, food safety, and national security.

Ball speaks at the briefing while Edwards looks on. Cover design by Julie Farrar/Images courtesy of Dosch Design

The launch of the report coincided with an ACS-sponsored press briefing in Washington, D.C., on water quality and safety.

"As the new Administration begins its task of running this country, we hope that the challenges outlined in this report will be among their priorities," ACS President Thomas H. Lane said at the briefing. "As concerned members of the scientific community, we stand ready to lend our expertise and energies to find viable solutions to these global challenges."

ACS's Global Challenges project began in June 2008 as a series of 12 science podcasts. Each podcast takes on a different global challenge, drawing on the expertise of scientists and on scientific advances reported in 2008 (C&EN, Oct. 20, 2008, page 61).

The report is a compilation of the transcripts from each podcast. "These pages reproduce the Global Challenges scripts just as they were voiced in the podcasts," says Madeleine Jacobs, ACS's executive director and CEO, in the report's introduction. "In developing each topic, we called on thought leaders—those individuals recognized among their peers for innovative ideas and insights."

Ball speaks at the briefing while Edwards looks on. Linda Wang/C&EN
WATER EXPERT Ball speaks at the briefing while Edwards looks on.

During the briefing on global water challenges, Marc Edwards, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, spoke of the unintended consequences of recent water conservation efforts; William Ball, a professor of environmental engineering at Johns Hopkins University, talked about the need for water sanitation in the developing world; and Charles N. Haas, a professor of environmental engineering at Drexel University, discussed issues in water security.

Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions is an ongoing project. The 12 podcasts will be updated with new content, including that from research published in ACS journals. The first updates will appear in February and continue weekly or biweekly as research discoveries warrant, says Michael Woods, project editor and assistant director of science communications in ACS's Office of Public Affairs. Woods and his colleagues plan to issue another report in 2010.

The Global Challenges podcasts are available at A webcast of the press briefing can be viewed at The report is available at

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Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2009 American Chemical Society


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