The View from the Program Chair, Irv Levy, Winter 2011

Thanksgiving week is just around the corner as I compose this letter. How appropriate since I am very thankful to many people who have worked with me to program and facilitate the ACS national meetings in Denver last summer, San Diego this coming spring and looking toward Philadelphia in the fall of 2012.

I must say that though I’ve attended dozens of ACS national meetings since the early 1980’s, I am certain that this most recent meeting in Denver will be one that I can never forget because of the personal circumstances that I experienced during the meeting. On Saturday evening as the conference began I learned that one of our adult children had been injured while visiting friends in Europe. Meanwhile, a hurricane was bearing down on my home in Boston. I spent the majority of the meeting in my hotel room on the phone and computer arranging for our daughter to be transported from Italy back home to Boston and helping my wife to find a way to get to Italy to be with her and to make the local arrangements.

I only mention these personal details because I was completely reliant on our meeting co-chairs to truly run the program. And Joe March and Wayne Jones really stepped up to the plate. I can’t thank them enough and I encourage you to do the same the next time you have a chance.  Our trio of energetic organizers for the High School Program – Greta Glugoski-Sharp, Elisabeth Mansfield and Angela Powers – organized an outstanding program that was very well attended. Thanks to all of you for running a great meeting!

The program itself was well attended and very interesting. We especially enjoyed the unique exhibit of chemistry on stamps that was organized and implemented by Ronald Hill and Dan Rabinovich. I personally appreciated the opportunity to work cooperatively with Seth Rasmussen and the division of the History of Chemistry on this project and hope to work with HIST on other symposia in the future.

This week we’re putting the final touches on the upcoming meeting in San Diego. Meetings in San Diego always draw large numbers of participants and this meeting is no exception.  The teamwork of Bill Harwood and Amy Cannon has been amazing as we work with symposium organizers and authors who have submitted over 1,700 papers for the meeting! There will be 40 sessions programmed during the week including symposia honoring ACS national award recipients Diane Bunce and Loretta Jones. To round out our award winners we will also honor Roxana Allen during the High School Program. Russ Davidson is our local high school teacher in San Diego who is organizing the High School Program.

As always, there are a number of people behind the scenes who provide direct and indirect support for the programming at a national meeting. Many thanks to the ACS staff who are the ones who bring it all together: Farai Tsokodayi, John Sophos, Nancy Bakowski, and Nikki Fisher are a great team.  Terri Taylor and Marta Gmurczyk in the ACS Office of High School Chemistry expertly handle many details for the High School Program. Thank you all for your many efforts that result in these meetings run so smoothly.

Meanwhile, we’re only a few weeks away from the formal Call For Papers for the Fall 2012 meeting in Philadelphia. We are lucky to have the expert guidance of Paul Rillema and Steven Fleming who have assembled an impressive array of symposia for this meeting. Why not celebrate the end of the International Year of Chemistry by composing an abstract for submission to that meeting? You’ll hear more about that meeting in the spring newsletter but be sure to check on the DivCHED website for updates as the programming moves forward. The deadline for abstract submission is April 2, 2012.

It may seem too far away to mention, but that’s not actually the case: our co-chairs for the Spring 2013 meeting in New Orleans, Carmen Gauthier and Nicole Snyder, would be glad to hear from you if you have an idea for a symposium that you might like to organize when we return to the “Big Easy” in a 2013.

Remember that my goal as the chair of your program committee is to make it easy for you to so “Yes, I’ll volunteer” by providing any support you might need.

I look forward to working with you in the future whether it be as a symposium organizer, a meeting co-chair, or a member of the program committee. We are here to produce national meetings that serve your needs.  Please do let us know what those needs are and do consider what role you might be able to play as a volunteer. Drop me a note ( with your ideas or say hello in San Diego. Hopefully I won’t be in my room on the telephone all week!

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