The View from the Program Chair, Irv Levy, Winter 2012

PACS, we hardly knew ye…
But don't let the door hit you on the way out!

If you are involved in any way with the New Orleans ACS meetings then you surely know that our beloved (?) PACS system ran into some serious problems towards the end of the deadline for this meeting. To complain about it now, would put me at risk of being penalized for piling on. But I can say, with great pleasure, that PACS is on the way to becoming a memory. I have been asked to serve on the ACS Abstract System Replacement Advisory Group. While our work is in its early moments, I can report that ACS is very serious about the need to implement a system that will be very much friendlier for our volunteers to use.  This system would not be in place until fall 2013 at the earliest, so PACS will still be with us for at least one more meeting.

As we move forward with the PACS replacement project there may be times when an email solicitation comes from me asking for your input in the process. I want to represent the needs of all the members of the division, not just my own personal agenda. Please feel free to contact me at any time if you have ideas related to this. At the moment, though, ACS is thinking in a creative way that could take most of the burden of learning a new system off the membership. Stay tuned in the weeks and months ahead!

New Orleans, land of dreams …

Many thanks for our organizers who have worked under a lot of stress as the PACS issues resolved for New Orleans. Special thanks go out to Carmen Valdez Gauthier and Nicole Snyder who work very graciously with presenters, organizers, and ACS during the down time and into the Thanksgiving holiday season.  

Look for some special features coming up in the New Orleans program. For example, on Sunday and Monday we will be hosting three sessions of Undergraduate Research oral presentations.  We look forward to this opportunity to encourage our youngest members to become active in our division, not only during the poster sessions but also during the oral sessions.

On Sunday evening, during the General Posters session, we host an exhibition of the work of finalists in a competition called “Communicating Chemistry: Cajun Cooking”. After a national competition among students interested in presenting the chemistry of Cajun cuisine (organized outside our division), a small group of finalists will present their work.

We continue to receive comments from folks who are asked to speak on Thursday during the General Papers. Typically, these comments are a plea for larger audiences.  In New Orleans we are addressing this in several different ways. First, we have scheduled one of the General Papers sessions earlier in the week, hopefully making the point that General Papers are not intended to be a marginalized part of our program! We have also scheduled two large concurrent General Papers sessions on Thursday. It is our hope that two concurrent sessions will lead to less dilution of the audience. We also designed our program in New Orleans to have no programming on Thursday afternoon. This worked well in Philadelphia and will continue to be a feature of our programming whenever it is feasible to do so. Please support your colleagues by making it a point to attend one of these sessions if you have any way to do so. There are many excellent presentations in the General Papers sessions.

We’ll meet again …

Philadelphia’s meeting is a happy memory, thanks to Paul Rillema, Steven Fleming and the other organizers and presenters who made it all happen. And, believe it or not, the fall program in Indianapolis, under the expert care of Julie Smist and Tyson Miller, is not too far away as abstracts will open for submission in January.  

But for now, I find myself daydreaming about April in the Crescent City. Our program will be large with nearly 1,800 presentations (posters and oral combined). It’s time to start making your plans to join us in New Orleans … I hope to see you there. If you can’t find me at the venue, check out the patio at Café du Monde. I’ll be buried under a pile of powdered sugar and beignets.

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