How To Reach C&ENACS Membership Number
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March 31, 2003
Volume 81, Number 13
CENEAR 81 13 p. 6
ISSN 0009-2347


ACS MEETING

CHEMISTS GATHER IN NEW ORLEANS
National meeting attracts more than 14,500 despite wartime worries

LINDA RABER

Increased security at U.S. airports, visa difficulties for foreign scientists, and corporate travel restrictions made getting to the ACS national meeting in New Orleans last week cumbersome for many attendees. But very few cancellations were attributable to anxiety over terrorism rekindled by the start of the U.S. war with Iraq.

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CRAFTY Kids & Chemistry Live session took place at the New Orleans aquarium.
PHOTOS BY SUSAN MORRISSEY
In fact, national meeting attendance was quite high: Registration stood at 14,576 as of C&EN press time. And a record number of papers--more than 8,700--were presented at the meeting.

Anniversaries were celebrated and scientists were lauded at many special events and symposia. Daylong presidential events surrounding the 10th anniversary of the ACS Committee on Minority Affairs (CMA) were particularly notable and consisted of a luncheon featuring a speech on careers in drug discovery by Cecil B. Pickett, president of Schering-Plough Research Institute; a symposium on the history of ACS activities in minority affairs; and a poster session and reception honoring ACS Scholars and Project SEED students. The ACS Scholars Program also got a boost from the ACS Board of Directors, which authorized the continuation of the program until 2008.

Other presidential events included two symposia of distinguished scientists from industry, academe, and government speaking on aspects of long-term research; a symposium on the polymer science of everyday things; a Kids & Chemistry Live session at the New Orleans aquarium; and a symposium on the role of media in science communication. And few who attended the awards banquet will soon forget the moving videotaped presentation by Priestley Medalist Edwin J. Vandenberg (C&EN, March 24, page 32). After the videotape was shown, he quietly accepted his award to a standing ovation from hundreds of his peers.

As usual, much business was conducted by society governance at the meeting. After a 40-minute floor debate, the ACS Council overwhelmingly approved a petition to increase local section and division funding. The petition will be funded primarily by a temporary assessment approved by the ACS Board. The per-member charge will be $2.00 in 2004, $4.00 in 2005, $6.00 in 2006, and $8.00 in 2007. Also, the society raised ACS member dues for 2004 to the fully escalated rate of $120.

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HONORED On behalf of his deceased father, Slayton Evans III (right) accepts a CMA award from ACS President Elsa Reichmanis.
Money is tight for the society. ACS ended 2002 with a net deficit of $789,000, with operations and board appropriations producing a deficit of $1.5 million and the member insurance program producing a contribution of $729,000. The net deficit is $482,000 less than the deficit that was budgeted. The weak economy has had a significant impact on ACS's advertising revenues and investment income. As a result, the society did not realize the budgeted level of net contributions from the Publications Division and the investments program. However, this shortfall was more than offset by strong performance from Chemical Abstracts Service combined with meaningful cost reductions in staffing and travel in society programs and administrative functions.

And the economic woes are also affecting membership levels. At the end of 2002, the total membership of ACS was 161,144. This is a 1.4% decrease in membership from 2001, and there was a slight decrease in the overall member retention rate. These declines are attributable, in part, to the unfavorable financial climate for the chemical enterprise.

In other actions, under delegated authority, the ACS Board Committee on Grants & Awards voted to accept the recommendations of the ACS Petroleum Research Fund Advisory Board for funding grants totaling more than $7 million--contingent upon ACS-PRF retaining a valuation of at least $400 million.

ACS councilors chose two candidates for 2004 ACS president-elect from a field of four nominees: William F. Carroll Jr., vice president of chlorovinyl issues at Occidental Chemical, Dallas; David F. Eaton, technology director of corporate ventures at DuPont, Wilmington, Del.; Michael E. Strem, president of Strem Chemicals, Newburyport, Mass.; and Kathleen C. Taylor, a retired chemical engineer from General Motors, Birmingham, Mich. Nominees gave brief speeches to the council, which then selected Carroll and Strem to run for office in the general election this fall.



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This picture of a multicolored "stellar bull's eye," now three light-years across and growing, was taken in early 2002 by the Hubble Space Telescope and released last week by NASA. The star suddenly and inexplicably flashed to 600,000 times its previous brightness. For a brief time, it was the brightest star in the Milky Way.
NASA PHOTO

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