bibi C&EN editor's desk

Editor’s Desk: Chemistry Stardom

C&EN's editor-in-chief discusses C&EN's Talented 12 at the ACS national meeting, and other events she's looking forward to at the show.

By Bibiana Campos Seijo

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I’ve been finalizing my schedule for the upcoming ACS national meeting at the end of August, and I’m very excited for a number of reasons: First, it’ll be in Washington, D.C. which is home turf for me and my ACS colleagues. Second, the much-anticipated total eclipse of the sun will happen on day two of the meeting. Third, our annual celebration of young talent – aka C&EN’s Talented 12 – will take place in a symposium on Monday Aug. 21.

The total eclipse will be stunning for those who happen to be in North America, as the sun will undergo the most spectacular disappearing act seen in this part of the world in decades. For those who live within a strip of the U.S. stretching from Oregon to South Carolina, the eclipse will change daytime skies into twilight for just a few minutes. Outside those regions, a partial eclipse—this looks like as if the moon took out a bite of the sun—will be visible. In D.C. on Aug. 21, the sky will briefly darken, with an estimated 81% obscuration of the sun.

To coincide with this planetary event, ACS is convening a symposium, organized with NASA, on Aug. 22–23. “Journey to Mars: Chemistry for Humanity’s Next Big Leap” will bring together industry, academia, government, and the public to an event that will focus on the cutting-edge technological developments required “to advance human space travel to Mars and translate them into radical new practical knowledge for the benefit of Earth and its people.”

Coincidentally, the ACS recently launched a new journal in the area of space chemistry called ACS Earth and Space Chemistry. The journal will explore ‘the chemical nature of materials and processes that occur on Earth, in our solar system, and beyond our solar system’ and will publish high impact research in the areas of geo, atmospheric, astro and ocean chemistry.

Space science continues to capture people’s imaginations, and I look forward to the symposium and solar eclipse and to learn more about our new journal. A word of warning: If you plan to watch the eclipse at the national meeting, you’ll need more than just sunglasses to see it. ACS has ordered 5,000 pairs of the necessary protective eyewear, which can be collected from the Attendee Resources Area at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, and at Operations Offices at hotels on a first-come, first-served basis.

Class of 2016 Talented 12 winners

The other events I’m looking forward to will feature the ‘Class of 2017’ of C&EN’s Talented 12. For the past three years, our C&EN editorial team has profiled up-and-coming chemistry stars poised to make differences in the world, with a new set of 12 chemists revealed each year. This August at the ACS meeting, we’ll once again bring the new class – which was nominated by industry experts and evaluated by our advisory board – to meet with attendees, and present their research.

The first event is the official announcement of the winners on Sunday night (20 Aug) at 6pm at the ACS booth, just after the official opening of the exhibition floor. So it’ll be bustling – simply follow the drum rolls! We’ll disclose to the world who exactly this talented group is.

Then on Monday morning, starting at 8am in Room 146C of the convention center, we’ll host a series of presentations, starting with keynote speaker Harry Gray, a pioneer in the field of bioinorganic chemistry. Each of the 12 winners will then deliver a 12-min TED-style talk. [By the way, if at this point you are wondering what the significance of the number 12 is I say one word: carbon.]

For a flavor of what the symposium will be like, you can watch some of the talks by the class of 2016 here.

This will certainly whet your appetite!

There is going to be so much talent and so much stardom in a room – you may need to bring the protective eyewear to watch the eclipse to this event too! See you there!

Bibiana Campos Seijo C&EN advertising

Bibiana Campos Seijo


NOTE: this article was adapted from an Editorial published in the July 17 issue of C&EN. It is also available online here.

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