Monday, March 6, 2017

What the he-double-hockey-sticks is IUPAC?

Also in this week's C&EN, an explanation that I needed in an article by Jyllian Kemsley on IUPAC (emphasis mine):
Sometimes called the “United Nations of chemistry,” IUPAC is formally a union of national chemistry or science associations that currently represent 57 countries, including Bangladesh, Croatia, Cuba, Kuwait, Nigeria, and Uruguay. IUPAC is governed primarily by a council composed of delegates from member nations. Individual chemists and companies may also join the union. 
IUPAC’s work is done on a project basis, and anyone, whether formally affiliated with the union or not, may propose a project. Proposals are reviewed and approved by IUPAC’s divisions, which represent branches of chemistry, or standing committees, which represent areas such as chemistry education.... 
...Overall, approximately 1,400 volunteers actively contribute their time and expertise to IUPAC, supported by five full-time staff members, including Soby. IUPAC’s 2017 budget is about $1.5 million, which covers salaries and funding for projects, including travel for groups to meet in person, conferences, information technology, and other expenses.
IUPAC’s strength is its ability to gather outstanding scientists from all over the world to weigh in on projects of international importance. “These people are highly committed and give their very best,” says Mark Cesa, a retired industrial chemist who has been involved in IUPAC for two decades through its Committee on Chemistry & Industry and is the union’s immediate past-president.
Just for comparison's sake, the American Chemical Society's 2015 operating budget was somewhere around 500 million dollars. (click on the first set of "talking points.")  


  1. I think that their sole function is to be nit-picky about how people name their chemicals.

    1. More specifically, I think their sole function is to be ignored by most scientists who will just give compounds acronyms or numbers anyway.

    2. Exactly - only textbooks call formaldehyde "methanal," phosphoric acid "phosphonic acid," etc.

  2. 1.5M for salaries and travel of five people.

    That's 300k per person. I'd gladly re-learn my IUPAC naming rules for that kind of yearly compensation...


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