How To Reach C&ENACS Membership Number


September 2, 2002
Volume 80, Number 34
CENEAR 80 34 p. 39
ISSN 0009-2347



Over the past year, how many of us would have accepted an offer for a guaranteed return on our investments? If you are thinking that there is no longer such a thing, then consider that, as ACS members, we have an opportunity to do just that by participating in one of the ACS regional meetings held across the U.S.

I suggest it is time to renew, to blend our organizational resources—local sections, divisions, committees, councilors, governance, and staff—to produce an innovative model that captures the present and future of chemistry!
But during this past year, how many of us have passed up the chance to witness strong technical presentations by three Nobel Laureates? Experience symposia on nanotechnology, computational chemistry, and advances in pharmaceutical chemistry? Share our knowledge and perspective with undergraduate and graduate students at outstanding poster sessions? Recognize outstanding achievements among our colleagues as 34 industrial chemists were recognized with Industrial Innovation Awards? The answer is “far too many.” Our challenge is to ask, “Why?”

Regional meetings, conceived and carried out by volunteers in our local sections, have been with us since 1908. Might it be time for us to be brave enough to strike out of our comfort zone and apply the process of “creative destruction” to our long-standing tradition? The survival of regional meetings may depend on it. I suggest it is time to renew, to blend our organizational resources—local sections, divisions, committees, councilors, governance, and staff—to produce an innovative model that captures the present and future of chemistry!

We have a strong foundation on which to build: our local sections, regional steering committees, and the ACS Committee on Meetings & Expositions. Unlike the national meetings, regional meetings can be, and should be, a more intimate gathering of chemists and allied professionals who encourage personal interactions and thought-provoking encounters. Let’s make the meetings a forum for interdisciplinary discussions. Invite biologists, geologists, physicists, and environmentalists. Consider holding the meetings in partnership with other scientific societies to create a stimulating atmosphere where scientists of all levels can experience chemistry as the enabling science that catalyzes the dissolution of boundaries that traditionally separate disciplines.

Who will be charged with the challenge of this potential “reinvention” of regional meetings? The answer is you—the members! Questions you might consider include the following: Will members be better served by four rather than eight meetings per year? Should the meetings be produced by one local section or through collaboration of several? Might one or more ACS technical divisions cosponsor a meeting? Could there be joint meetings with the Younger Chemists Committee or the Committee on Chemistry in the Two-Year Colleges? Should the meetings focus on a single, topical theme that would be of particular value in the region? Are regional meetings serving the purpose for which they were founded: to bring good chemistry to those unable to attend national meetings for reasons of cost and location?

I ask each of you to engage in responding to this challenge by attending a regional meeting this fall or in 2003 (see page 41 for the Rocky Mountain Regional Meeting program and below for the schedule of regional meetings). Present a paper, participate in a symposium, and take the opportunity to discuss your observations about regional meetings with the district director and other ACS governance members. Visit the website at for more details. In fact, drop us a note with your comments and suggestions at

Be ready to answer the call for a gathering of volunteers who have the expertise, interest, and foresight to create a vision for future regional meetings and define the new specifications and criteria for that vision. We need to be proactive and practical, concrete and creative. By 2005, attendance at the combined regional meetings should produce the equivalent of a “third national meeting.” It is an investment we cannot afford to overlook.

Views expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of the ACS Board.


Rocky Mountain Albuquerque, N.M., Oct. 12–15

Midwest Lawrence, Kan., Oct. 23–25

Southwest Austin, Texas, Nov. 3–6

Southeast Charleston, S.C., Nov. 13–17

Great Lakes Chicago, June 1–3

Middle Atlantic Princeton University, Princeton, N.J., June 8–11

Northwest Montana State University, Bozeman, Mont., June 12–14

Northeast Saratoga Springs, N.Y., June 15–18

Western Long Beach, Calif., Oct. 15–18

Central Sheraton Station Square, Pittsburgh, Oct. 19–22

Southwest Oklahoma City, Okla., Oct. 25–28

Midwest University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo., Nov. 5–7

Southeast Renaissance Hotel, Atlanta, Nov. 20–22


Chemical & Engineering News
Copyright © 2002 American Chemical Society

E-mail this article to a friend
Print this article
E-mail the editor

Home | Table of Contents | Today's Headlines | Business | Government & Policy | Science & Technology | C&EN Classifieds
About C&EN | How To Reach Us | How to Advertise | Editorial Calendar | Email Webmaster

Chemical & Engineering News
Copyright © 2002 American Chemical Society. All rights reserved.
• (202) 872-4600 • (800) 227-5558

CASChemPortChemCenterPubs Page