Get Ready for C&EN’s Talented 12 of 2016

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Last year, C&EN debuted a new take on the state of the chemistry enterprise: by highlighting 12 path-paving young researchers and entrepreneurs that are set to change the face of the industry and solve global problems. The inaugural group was seeking ways to synthesize molecules in a more environmentally friendly way, developing methods to curb global warming by removing carbon dioxide from the air, and investigating the biochemical underpinnings of diseases to help find cures. Now, in the second year of C&EN’s Talented 12, we’ll highlight another set of inspiring chemists to know.

Who are they? The honorees for this year’s Talented 12 will be featured in C&EN’s August 15/22 double issue. Their names will be revealed onsite at the ACS National Meeting in Philadelphia this August, in a special symposium during which the nominees will present their research. Here, we give you a sneak peak into the process of selecting these rising stars, and what to expect at their August debut.

Why did C&EN want to launch a Talent competition to recognize scientists?

C&EN has always been on the lookout for new chemistry our readers may not yet know about but should. We see the Talented 12 as an opportunity for C&EN to do something similar for the chemistry community’s youngest members: Identify hot new rising stars and the potential of their big ideas. These are scientists whose next talk or paper you won’t want to miss.

How do you determine who participates?  Are members both from industry and academia?

All walks of research life—industry, government, academia–are welcome, but we have a few guidelines. We only consider chemists under the age of 42 who are still establishing themselves in their careers. We are also looking for a group of scientists that reflects the breadth and diversity of the chemical enterprise.

What would make an ideal candidate for Talented 12?

We’re looking for young scientists pushing the boundaries in their field. That could mean an academic researcher or an industry scientist who is tackling tough problems and whose work shows signs of having a societal impact. As we tell our advisors, “Imagine if you had met George Whitesides when he was beginning to explore self-assembled monolayers? Or had a hint when Jennifer Doudna was just out of graduate school that she’d one day discover a groundbreaking tool for gene editing?”

Last year was the inaugural launch of C&EN’s Talented 12. What has been the feedback the freshman class?

We’ve gotten a great response from last year’s Talented 12! Not only did they seem to connect strongly with one another while attending last year’s fall ACS national meeting in Boston, many reconnected with former colleagues after the issue came out. And highlighting these young scientists can be a great signal boost for their research. We’ve heard some have attracted students to their labs or had opportunities–to participate in conferences or committees, for example–that otherwise wouldn’t have come as early in their careers.

How can I nominate someone for 2017?

We’ve put a nomination form on the Talented 12 microsite. Starting August 22nd, tell us who you think should be on next year’s 2017 list.

This year C&EN has added a symposium during the ACS National Meeting. What can attendees expect? 

Expect to hear engaging, aspirational talks from most of the 12 young researchers chosen this year. They each will give a snapshot of their research, and then lay out their vision for where their field is headed. These talks will span neuroscience to advanced microscopy to food safety and beyond. You can catch them all—plus guest remarks from Northwestern’s Chad Mirkin—on Monday morning from 8-noon at the convention center.

If you have comments or questions for the author of this post, please e-mail: Axial@acs.org.