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History and Effectiveness of CHEMRAWN Conferences, 1978-2006

John M. Malin
Chair, CHEMRAWN Committee

The 28-year history of CHEMRAWN (CHEMical Research Applied to World Needs) has produced 14 full-fledged CHEMRAWN conferences. The meetings have varied in subject, location, size, and budget, but they have all addressed a single goal-to catalyze the use of chemistry and related sciences and engineering to meet world needs. This article summarizes those conferences to form an understanding of how the CHEMRAWN process has fostered new ideas and supported solutions to world problems.

Bryant Rossiter, the first Chair of the CHEMRAWN Committee, described the beginnings of IUPAC's CHEMRAWN conferences and their purposes as follows:

"138 years ago at Cambridge, England, the 18-year-old William Perkin undertook an independent research study that resulted in the discovery of aniline dyes. Against the advice of his teacher, Professor Hoffman, Perkin applied his research to world needs-and launched the coal-tar-dye industry. Therefore, in reality, the concept of CHEMRAWN, "CHemical Research Applied to World Needs," is not new. What is new is the increasingly complex, interdependent world, with a burgeoning population, limited resources, rising middle class expectations, vastly improved communications, the possibility of nuclear war, and the new spectre of global terrorism. These and other major world problems are not unique to chemists, but afflict the whole of humankind. Solutions to many of the world's material, economic, social, and even political problems rest in our ability to: transform basic elements of raw materials into new means to increase food production; provide alternative sources of energy and chemical feedstocks; deliver new drugs for the alleviation of human disease; supply less costly and corrosion-free substances for building and fabrication; and innovate new materials for communications. These are the domain of chemistry and chemists, therefore, and have a special and vital role to play. Stated simply, chemistry is a central discipline that interacts with virtually every aspect of human endeavor. Indeed, chemistry is the wellspring of life itself. Little wonder then that chemists should be called upon to address the world's most pressing needs.

> donwload full text, including summaries of individual conferences [pdf file -146KB]; 50 pages - online 27 Oct 2006

> supplement CHEMRAWN XV: Chemistry for Water [pdf file -11KB]
2 pages - online 30 April 2007

> Review/feature published in Chem. Int. Mar-Apr 2007, pp 4-7

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