...New ideas are needed for improving the public perception of scientists. What new solutions to this problem are possible? Past successes in engaging and influencing the public suggest employing television or movies to spotlight courageous acts of scientists working in their profession.
A series of profiles of particularly courageous chemists, past or present, could constitute a 2017 ACS national meeting symposium. ACS members can contribute by sending nominations of scientists who risked their lives and careers in the course of their work to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.I don't know if this is what President Nelson is looking for, but a favorite story of a chemist being clever in the face of danger is what George De Hevesy did in Copenhagen in 1940. From Wikipedia:
When Nazi Germany occupied Denmark from April 1940, during World War II, de Hevesy dissolved the gold Nobel Prizes of Max von Laue and James Franck with aqua regia; it was illegal at the time to send gold out of the country, and had it been discovered that Laue and Franck had done so to prevent them from being stolen, they could have faced prosecution in Germany. He placed the resulting solution on a shelf in his laboratory at the Niels Bohr Institute. After the war, he returned to find the solution undisturbed and precipitated the gold out of the acid. The Nobel Society then recast the Nobel Prizes using the original gold.Would that I could be as quick with my mind as De Hevesy was - seems to me this little episode would make for a great caper film.