IUPAC is uniquely positioned to allow chemists from around the world to work together to address global challenges,” says Lynn Soby, the organization’s executive director. But aside from fanfare when new elements get added to the periodic table, IUPAC accomplishments often go unrecognized by the larger chemistry community. “IUPAC is like an iceberg, in that most of its impact is below the surface,” says Leah McEwen, Cornell University’s chemistry librarian and a member of IUPAC’s Committee on Publications & Cheminformatics Data Standards. McEwen has worked on IUPAC efforts to develop international chemical identifiers (InChIs) that computers can read to properly identify a compound. She is also helping with a project to modernize the website for IUPAC’s compendium of terminology (commonly known as the Gold Book). Among other goals, the effort will allow publishers and patent writers to link terms seamlessly to IUPAC definitions. Sometimes called the “United Nations of chemistry,” IUPAC is formally a union of national chemistry or science associations that currently represent 57 countries, including Bangladesh, Croatia, Cuba, Kuwait, Nigeria, and Uruguay. IUPAC is governed primarily by a council composed of delegates from member nations. Individual chemists and companies may also join the union. IUPAC’s work is done on a project basis, and anyone, whether formally affiliated with the union or not, may propose a project. Proposals are reviewed and approved by IUPAC’s divisions, which represent branches of chemistry, or standing committees, which represent areas such as chemistry education.
by Jyllian Kemsley |
March 06, 2017