Wednesday, May 8, 2019

This week's C&EN

A few of the articles in this week's issue of Chemical and Engineering News:

5 comments:

  1. I think step one behind getting industrial chemists to go to meetings would be to not put articles encouraging participation behind a paywall.

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  2. I worked at Ionis a long time ago (back when it was called Isis). I regrettably did not hang onto any of my stock. But it's been nice to see the company succeed.

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  3. There are issues with the ACS meetings for sure. First, there are, actually, too many oral presentations. Many of these should be moved to poster presentations - many, many instances where attendance is poor (mostly speakers and a few friends). Be more like SfN and have significantly larger poster sessions. Second, I understand that scheduling is difficult, but similar divisions should be grouped together. Namely, ORGN and MEDI should not be across the convention center from each other (or in different buildings). Lastly, I would highly support having poster sessions in-between the oral sessions (again, like SfN). Having evening poster sessions do not promote attendance - if last talk is at 4:30, most people aren't coming back at 7 for the poster session. Poster session attendance at the Orlando MEDI/ORGN on Wed. PM was really poor as was the quality of posters. The lack of industrial chemists presenting posters has really diminished the quality overall.

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  4. I've attended ACS meetings as an industrial chemist in the past. The content was much more relevant to me when I worked for an old-school big chemical company that was interested in pie-in-the-sky academic-style research, but of limited use to my last few employers. If they can't persuade industrial chemists to speak, I doubt today's companies will have much interest.

    I also think the ACS meeting is too damn big, as the article pointed out. I attended my REU advisor's student's talk, in the subfield of my academic training rather than my current one, and I ended up shooting half of the day because I had to take a shuttle bus to some hotel ballroom far from the one where my subfield's talks were held. Even in a large enough convention center to accommodate the whole thing, you can only attend one talk at a time, and you're unlikely to have the repeated random encounters that turn strangers into friends and networking contacts. I would advocate getting rid of the main meeting and having a bunch of smaller ones focused on the different subfields.

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  5. I think all large conferences, not just ACS, are becoming an anachronism as global communication becomes easier and easier. Conferences used to be a place to share research that you might have difficulty disseminating to a large audience in a different way. Now you can post it online for free and get a bunch of peoples' eyes on it. Phil Baran's group has their own blog. This type of detailed view of daily lab life complete with experimental write-ups/pics/video would have packed a large hotel conference room 20 years ago. The last time I can remember an ACS talk being stacked was when LaClair presented in the midst of the hexacyclinol kerfuffle. Conferences are Blockbuster in a Netflix age. Paper journals are already dead, conferences won't be far behind. The only people that lament them going away are old professors who grumble about the good ole days (and the execs who profit off of them).

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