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September 3, 2001
Volume 79, Number 36
CENEAR 79 36 p. 13
ISSN 0009-2347
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National meeting draws 15,000 plus, features Technology Milestones exhibit


The skies were clear over Lake Michigan as the American Chemical Society met last week in Chicago. Attendance of 15,290 exceeded expectations as chemical scientists from all over the world presented research and learned of the latest advances in their fields. The program featured 6,089 papers presented in 66 concurrent sessions. And the exposition was a record breaker with 328 companies exhibiting in 543 booths. In addition, ACS celebrated its 125th anniversary with a special exhibit, a musical play, and a party for all attendees.

RECORD BREAKER Meeting attendees flock to the largest ACS chemical exposition ever, with 328 exhibitors and 543 booths.
The society unveiled its Technology Milestones exhibit, which was two years in the making. "The purpose of this exhibit is to show how chemistry has contributed to the quality of our lives during the past 125 years," said ACS President Attila E. Pavlath, who featured the exhibit as one of his primary Presidential Events. The exhibit, which grew out of a recommendation from the ACS Committee on Science, consists of six large panels that describe chemistry's contributions to health, energy, food and agriculture, transportation, recreation, and communication. Four of the panels are interactive and provide viewers with more detailed information on significant milestones in supporting chemical technology. In addition, 24 posters give information about trends in technology over the past 125 years. "Next steps may include taking the Technology Milestones exhibit to science museums, translating it into an Internet display, or creating an appropriate publication," Pavlath noted.

The meeting also featured a reprise of Pavlath's own musical play, "It Is Time for a Change!" The play featured performances by actors playing the roles of William Shakespeare and Oscar Hammerstein, who, along with an actress playing ACS committee chair "Jane Q. Change," aim to convince the cautious professor "Status Quo" to be open to changes that will benefit ACS members. To persuade him, they quote Shakespeare and sing "Climb Every Mountain," "The Impossible Dream," and "You'll Never Walk Alone," among other inspirational songs. At a party following the play, the society's board members cut the society's birthday cake.

While ACS meetings are fun, serious business is also conducted. And the ACS Board of Directors and Council dealt with a number of issues the society is facing, making decisions that will influence the near future of ACS. The effects of the downturn in the economy are being felt by the society. The Society Committee on Budget & Finance reported that the core programs of the society are projected to end 2001 with a net contribution of $220,000. With the inclusion of projected net program expenses from the Member Insurance Program of $2.6 million and the society's board appropriations of $5.6 million, the society's overall operations are projected to end 2001 with a net deficit of $8 million.

Board and council also heard a report of Pavlath's recent electronic survey of ACS members intended to gauge their satisfaction with the society and its products and services. While a substantial majority of ACS members are satisfied with their ACS memberships, there is still room for improvement. The survey indicates that younger members are somewhat less knowledgeable about and/or satisfied with their memberships than older members and that the primary draw of ACS membership is society publications. (A detailed report will appear in a future issue of C&EN.)

Also on the electronic front, JobSpectrum.org officially introduced its employment and career website for the general chemical community (C&EN, June 4, page 13).

The board approved the recommendations of its Task Force on Women in the Chemical Professions to embark upon a pilot program to lower barriers to and increase participation of women in chemical science professions. Among the recommendations are that ACS convene an academic awareness summit and produce "Thriving in the Workplace" roadshows, a Web-based resource center, and a business and leadership course.

And for those tracking the statistics: As of July 31, total ACS membership was 158,649--with growth in both the student and recent graduate membership categories very positive. The National Employment Clearing House reported brisk traffic during this meeting with 1,392 jobs posted, 169 employers registered, 1,105 candidates for jobs, and 4,001 interviews conducted. In addition, more than 3,000 visits were made to the ACS Career Resource Center.

MILESTONES Pavlath and Kelly Shannon, ACS Student Affiliate chapter president at Illinois Institute of Technology, visit the Technology Milestones exhibit.

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