Monday, January 5, 2015

Thomas Connelly's interview at Scientific American

It's a month old, but while I'm casting a skeptical eye at senior ACS leadership, I might as well take aim at the new CEO/executive director, Dr. Thomas Connelly, who was interviewed by Josh Fischman over at Scientific American: 
What are your priorities going to be as CEO?
I would like to see our membership broaden, particularly into different geographical areas than the U.S. and Europe. I also want to focus on STEM education, and educate policymakers and the public about ways that chemistry enables solutions to big problems.

What is important about education?
Our society recently set up an association of chemistry teachers, and we should continue that work, particularly in the kindergarten through grade 12 area. But education should not stop there.

It should continue?
We need to educate the general public. They need to understand the science behind food and energy and human health issues, and chemistry is central to that.

What are some examples of chemistry’s role in these areas?
Chemistry is key to protecting crops in our food supply, for instance. Soil chemistry is important for that, as is crop nutrition. In the environment, chemistry is important for maintaining ecosystems. People need to understand geochemistry and atmospheric chemistry in order to do that.

Are there challenges that chemistry faces?
I don’t think there have been clear messages in all of these areas, and we need clearer communication. Understanding human health from a nutrition standpoint is one instance. Consumers are presented with a lot of information on food labels. But what does it all mean? What is important for your health? We could add a lot of clarity there.
Glad to hear that recent historically high unemployment for all members and very high unemployment for new graduate members in 2013 do not appear to be challenges that chemistry faces. 

4 comments:

  1. Your final comment is why I will not rejoin ACS

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    1. I'm right there with you.

      "There are too many chemists and not enough jobs. Know what we need? MORE CHEMISTS!"

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  2. yah, as a big publisher selling bundled subscriptions (for temporary access to information that we obtain free of charge before we copyright it), and as a special kind of a publisher who is married to a chemical industry lobbyist firm (a lobbyist firm which also pretends to be a professional organization for tax-exempt purposes), we totally need to educate the average consumer so as to soften her chemophobia

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  3. Well, "chemistry" as a science probably doesn't have to face challenges such as about loans, dinners or children expenses... :P

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