Young Observers Reflect on IUPAC-2017

The U.S. National Committee for the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) supported a group of Young Observers in attending the IUPAC-2017 conference in São Paulo, Brazil from July 7-13. As part of their attendance, they were invited to share their experiences with the ACS Axial community.

Brandon C. Presley:

I attended the 2017 IUPAC General Assembly and World Chemistry Congress in São Paulo, Brazil. I participated in several events during the conference, including meetings with the Division of Chemistry and Human Health, the World Chemistry Leadership Meeting and the IUPAC Council meeting. A major theme of these events was continuity in chemistry—the ability for this central science and IUPAC to be appealing, maintain high quality, and continue for years to come. This theme was of particular interest to me as I held a leadership role in 2016 at NMS Labs in Willow Grove, PA. My involvement within IUPAC has provided many skills to enhance my leadership capabilities. The younger generation of skilled chemists must develop and maintain relationships within the chemistry community, and be encouraged to take on leadership roles. Training, development and succession planning is essential so that chemistry as a discipline is sustainable and exhibits continuity throughout generations.

Dean Tantillo:

The IUPAC Young Observers program provided a fantastic forum for interacting with chemists of many cultures, ages, career paths and career stages. It is rare and wonderful to experience such concentrated diversity.  Doing so in the context of learning about the inner workings of IUPAC and its far reaching efforts for the betterment of the world through all facets of chemistry was a unique experience that I will long remember, an experience that reinforced some of my previous goals in terms of service to the profession and increasing diversity and inspired new ones.

Yu (Frank) Yang:

I enjoyed participating IUPAC 2017 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Prior to the meeting, I was involved in a book project for Division VI- Chemistry and the Environment Division. I participated in the Division VI Committee meeting, interdivision Committee meeting with Division V and VII, and Green Chemistry committee meeting. During World Chemistry Leadership Meeting activities, I worked on a project proposal for celebrating IUPAC 100 and promoting chemistry outreach and education. I also explored the opportunities to be involved in projects for spectroscopy and nanomaterials. Last but not least, I gave a poster presentation during the World Chemistry Congress on microbial degradation and plant uptake of carbon nanotubes. These activities have greatly enhanced my knowledge about IUPAC and broadened my network with chemists from all over the world. I am looking forward to developing more activities with IUPAC in the near future.

Javier Vela:

I had a great experience while attending IUPAC 2017 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. As one of the Young Observers representing the U.S., I attended Division, InterDivision, Committee and General Council meetings, and also participated in some of the World Chemistry Leadership Meeting, including contributing to a new project proposal to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of IUPAC in 2019. To fully take advantage of this unique opportunity, I also visited the Institute of Chemistry at the University of Sao Paulo. There, I networked with local colleagues and potential collaborators, and gave a research talk. Finally, I also gave a contributed oral presentation at the IUPAC conference on Thursday, July 13, 2017.

John B. Matson:

IUPAC is a worldwide organization devoted to establishing terminology, defining nomenclature systems, and setting global standards—work that may sound dry and boring to anyone who has never been involved. After participating in the IUPAC General Assembly, specifically the meetings of Division IV (Polymer Division) and the Subcommittee for Polymer Terminology, I learned that this work is interesting, invigorating, and vital for the chemistry community. The documents that IUPAC publishes dramatically affect the chemical community by providing international consensus in a variety of areas, with implications in academic journals, patents, and reference books. The meetings I attended included scientists from around the globe at different career stages, and getting things right required input from everyone. I saw and contributed to the goal of defining terms as precisely and accurately as possible and felt the pride that results from writing documents that will guide a generation of scientists.

Jens Breffke:

I attended the IUPAC World Chemistry Congress and General Assembly in Sao Paulo as a U.S. Young Observer. I participated in the Division V (Analytical) and the Committee on Chemistry Education. Actively involved in the programming of the Congress. I also organized a symposium on Intellectual Property for younger scientists. The keynote speaker was Dr. Xavier Pillai from Leydig, Voit & Mayer, Ltd in Chicago. I took a leading role in the inaugural meeting of the International Younger Chemists Network which had its signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with IUPAC at this very meeting. As part of the World Chemistry Leadership Meeting I developed as team leader of an IUPAC Project proposal, which shall now be further developed with the Committee on Chemistry and Industry and prepared for submission. Finally, I presented my previous research at NIST on the development of next-generation super-resolution microscopy.

Raychelle Burks:

One of the many highlights of my time at this year’s IUPAC meeting was participating in meetings of the Committee on Chemical Research Applied to World Needs (CHEMRAWN). Green chemistry, water quality, e-waste, infectious diseases, food safety, global security… the diverse array of topics chemistry reaches and CHEMRAWN advocates for is truly inspiring! As an analytical chemist working on detection schemes for analysis of environmental and forensic interest, CHEMRAWN offers a way to merge my scholarship and humanitarian interests. CHEMRAWN also offered me a chance to contribute my social media experience. Along with three CHEMRAWN members, I co-organized a social media task force and co-wrote proposal for social media engagement to maximize CHEMRAWN’s engagement with mission stakeholders.  I look forward to continue working for CHEMRAWN, plus the Analytical Division (V) and the Committee of Chemical Education. Participation in the Young Observer program has allowed me to network with peers, form professional collaborations, contribute to the global chemical enterprise, and make new friends!

Did you attend the IUPAC-2017 conference? Share your experiences in the comments.

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