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Vol. 30 No. 1
January-February 2008

Division Roundups—Part II

Part 1 of the Division Roundups from the 2007 General Assembly in Torino, Italy, appeared in the Nov-Dec 2007 CI (page 7 in print). That article covered Division IV: Polymer, Division V: Analytical Chemistry, Division VI: Chemistry and the Environment, and CHEMRAWN. Prior to the GA, all divisions and standing committees provided a written report that is part of the Council Agenda book available online <www.iupac.org/symposia/conferences/ga07/
council_agenda.html
>.

Committee on Chemistry Education (CCE)
Morton Z. Hoffman, U.S. National Representative

The meeting of CCE, which was chaired by Peter Mahaffy, began with approval of the minutes of its previous meeting at the 19th International Conference on Chemical Education (ICCE) in Seoul, Korea, in August 2006, and a report of the executive strategy meeting that took place in Paris in March 2007.

Among the priority areas of concern of CCE are the ethical education of young chemists, the social responsibilities of scientists, the multiple uses of chemicals for peace and weapons, the relationship of chemistry and sustainable development, and the shift from teacher-centered to user-directed chemical education.

Morton Hoffman (left), U.S. national representative on the Committee on Chemistry Education, and Vincenzo Balzani, plenary lecturer at the IUPAC Congress.

Reports were presented from the subcommittee on the Public Understanding of Chemistry about the procedures that would have to be followed in order for 2011 to be designated by the United Nations as the International Year of Chemistry (note was made that 2007 was the Year of Chemistry in Spain), and from the subcommittee on Chemistry Education for Development about the current Flying Chemists Program to revitalize tertiary education in the Philippines. This latter subcommittee also reported on the establishment of the Network for Inter-Asian Chemistry Educators, among Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan, which held a symposium in Taipei in July 2007.

Next on the agenda was a presentation by the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF). Edwin “Ted” Becker, long-time officer of both IUPAC and CHF, opened the session by describing the Philadelphia-based organization using its mission statement of treasuring the past, educating the present, and inspiring the future. Becker briefly described the collections, including thousands of rare books in the history of chemistry and early science, the world’s largest collection of art about alchemy, and many artifacts as varied as 18th century lab glassware and mid-20th century chemistry sets. Addressing CHF’s education outreach, he talked about the ways in which IUPAC and CHF could cooperate to extend the reach of both organizations, particularly through the web.

Becker was followed by Neil Gussman, who spoke about current programs at CHF and how he saw them fitting together with IUPAC efforts. Gussman is the communications manager for CHF and has more than 20 years experience in public relations for chemical clients. He was particularly impressed by the way the education committee considered real-world communications and the public image of chemistry in its efforts. Other organizations with the goal of increasing education outreach do not consider how the public will view such efforts, dooming them to failure.

Alistair Hay presented a brief report on IUPAC’s collaboration with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (see Nov-Dec 2007 CI, pp. 23–25) that focused on producing educational materials. Hay discussed the newly developed web site <www.iupac.org/multiple-uses-of-chemicals>.

In more recent years, CCE has developed better communication with other IUPAC divisions. The chairman and Eva Åkesson, in her role of divisional liaison officer, visited all eight divisions during the General Assembly to present CCE. Some of the projects and priorities for the future were highlighted, such as the Young Ambassadors for Chemistry, International Year of Chemistry, 20th ICCE, and learner-centered education. Future collaboration and joint projects were discussed. A recurrent topic echoed from each group was the need to better plan for publication, including an educational component, and the need to assess carefully the accessibility level of that information.

Members of CCE presented reports about the chemical education issues that confront their countries, such as incorporating green chemistry into the curriculum, interesting students toward the study of chemistry, improving the abilities of chemistry students, and increasing the time spent by students on the study of chemistry at the primary and secondary levels. My report on the state of chemical education in the USA emphasized the important role of the ACS, its committees, technical divisions, and publications, in producing materials across the educational spectrum, reaching out to high school teachers, encouraging research in educational practices and teaching and learning, and working to reflect the changes that are taking place within chemistry and the other molecular sciences in curricular content and pedagogical approaches. Special mention was made of the proposed revision of the ACS Committee on Professional Training guidelines for the approval of departmental chemistry programs and the certification of their bachelor graduates by the ACS.

The 20th ICCE—Chemistry in the ICT Age will be held 3–8 August 2008 in Pointe Aux Piments, Mauritius <www.uom.ac.mu/icce>. Among the plenary lecturers will be Roald Hoffmann, Loretta Jones (University of Northern Colorado), Peter Mahaffy (The King’s University College), Peter Atkins (Oxford University), Henry Schaefer (University of Georgia), Arthur Olson (Scripps Research Institute), and John Bradley (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa). The meeting will be preceded by an on-line conference on “Computational and Theoretical Chemistry Applications in Chemical Education,” which will be part of the CONFCHEM Conferences on Chemistry of CHED <www.ched-ccce.org/confchem>. A satellite conference at the University of Nairobi (Kenya) will follow the ICCE.

CCE voted to accept the bid of Taiwan to host the 21st ICCE in 2010 in Taipei; the focus of the conference will be communication about the teaching of chemistry. Bids for the 22nd ICCE in 2012 are being accepted as well as expressions of interest for the 23rd ICCE in 2014; the plans for both future conferences will be discussed by CCE in Mauritius. For further information, please contact me as the CCE conference coordinator.

Morton Z. Hoffman <hoffman@chem.bu.edu> is a retired professor from Boston University; he is the U.S. national representative on CCE and the liaison with the ACS Division of Chemical Education.

Division VII. Chemistry and Human Health
Mukund S. Chorghade, secretary

Thanks to a proactive and rigorous effort by the nomination committee, Division VII’s elections were a resounding success. Tom Perun, chair of the Nominating Committee, reported that the election process was smooth, the number of candidates of excellent caliber was high, and the electoral response was nearly 70 percent. We have a broad geographical representation and diversity on the Division Committee as well as significant new expertise. Doug Templeton was elected president-elect until January 2008. He will become president in January 2008 following the retirement of Paul W. Erhardt.

Erhardt presented the annual report that was submitted to the Bureau and mentioned the highlights/salient features. The division’s report adhered to all prescribed guidelines and received favorable responses from other divisions. One of the highlights he mentioned was Analogue-based Drug Discovery, a book on medicinal chemistry that arose out of division projects and has received excellent reviews in professional journals and sold out its first print run of 800. Mention was also made of the successful IUPAC- Richter Prize venture. Erhardt also discussed the following important projects.

Practical Studies for Medicinal Chemistry Students—An Integrating Approach for Developing Countries by Antonio Monge (project 2004-028-1-700) was published as a web edition in January 2007. The book, in Spanish or Portuguese and English, is available for free online.

Excellent progress has been realized on the following projects:

  • concepts and structure for requests in clinical laboratories
  • internationally agreed terminology for observations in scientific communication
  • mapping of IFCC-IUPAC laboratory coding system to SNOMED CT
  • securing and structural updating of information in the NPU coding system and its environment
  • recent advances in Nomenclature, Properties, and Units: strategy for promoting SC-NPU achievements

The second edition of the glossary of terms used in toxicology was published in the September 2007 issue of Pure and Applied Chemistry. Philip Wexler, National Library of Medicine, Division of Specialized Information Services, will incorporate this into his book Information Resources in Toxicology.

Work has commenced on the “Explanatory Dictionary of Concepts in Toxicokinetics (part II)” and is expected to be completed within the stipulated time. Once complete and accepted for publication in PAC, parts II and I will be combined, revised, and reformatted into book form to be published by the Royal Society of Chemistry under the title Concepts in Toxicology.

The Division had four posters exhibited at the Congress in Torino. There was one general poster presenting the activities of the Chemistry and Human Health Division and one poster for each of the three subcommittees: SC on Nomenclature, Properties, and Units in Laboratory Medicine; SC on Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Development; and SC on Toxicology and Risk Assessment.

Committee on Chemistry and Industry (COCI)
Michael Booth, secretary

The well-attended COCI annual meeting, held 6–7 August 2007, included 13 COCI members, four safety trainees, three divisional representatives, and the remainder either observers or invited participants. The meeting focused on the committee’s role and strategic priorities, organizational structure, and programs and accomplishments. COCI is currently considering joint projects with divisions and other standing committees with an emphasis on biomonitoring and aspects of human health. A number of members agreed to serve on a fundraising committee to bolster the funds available to the committee over and above the operations and project budget.

The Safety Training Program, in which professional chemists and chemical engineers in developing countries are exposed to safety practices of the chemical industry in the developed world, continues. At the meeting, it was reported that two more trainees had undergone training at the Mitsui Corporation in Japan. There is no shortage of trainees wishing to participate in this program, which enjoys wide acknowledgement in IUPAC. A recurring problem, however, is the availability of host companies. An idea for a spin off of the program, initiated by one of the Uruguayan trainees, is to develop a safety training program in South America.

One of the new initiatives of the committee is to foster closer collaboration with trade associations, particularly with CEFIC (the European Trade Association) and the International Council of Chemical Associations. COCI organized the World Chemistry Leadership Meeting (WCLM) at the General Assembly as part of its process of collaboration. The proceedings of the WCLM will be reported on the IUPAC website (see feature).

COCI continued to promote the recruitment of new company associates and a new brochure expounding the merits of joining IUPAC is in the final stages of publication. The committee continues to work with the Committee on Chemistry Education on promoting the public appreciation of chemistry. A decision was also made at the meeting to forge closer interactions with National Adhering Organizations. As a pilot project, it was decided to run a workshop with NAOs in Europe as part of the annual meeting in Marl, Germany, in April 2008 (see IUPAC project 2006-030-1-022, <www.iupac.org/projects/2006/2006-030-1-022.html>).

At the project meeting earlier in the year, new projects were proposed on biomonitoring, nanotechnology, and human health, and on biofuels. Presentations were made at the meeting to decide how project proposals should be advanced.

The possibility of introducing an award that recognizes and reinforces the ideals perpetuated by COCI was debated at the end of the meeting. Further recommendations will be advanced at the Marl meeting.

Michael D. Booth <caiainfo@iafrica.com> is from the Chemical & Allied Industries Association, in Auckland Park, South Africa. He has been a member of COCI since 1992 and secretary since 2006.


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