American Chemical Society

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American Chemical Society

150 px

HeadquartersWashington, DC
LocationFlag of the United States United States
Official languagesEnglish
PresidentBruce Bursten

The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a learned society (professional association) based in the United States that supports scientific inquiry in the field of chemistry. Founded in 1876 at New York University, the ACS currently has over 160,000 members at all degree-levels and in all fields of chemistry, chemical engineering and related fields. The ACS is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The ACS holds national meetings twice a year covering the complete field of chemistry, plus dozens of smaller conferences in specific fields. Their spring 2008 National meeting which was held in New Orleans, was the first large meeting to be held there since Hurricane Katrina. Its publications division produces several scholarly journals including the Journal of the American Chemical Society. The primary source of income of the ACS is the Chemical Abstracts Service and its publications. Chemical & Engineering News is the weekly news magazine published by the American Chemical Society and sent to all members.

The ACS membership is organized into 189 geographical Local Sections and 33 Technical Divisions.


The American Chemical Society had it origins in a small group of 35 chemists that met on April 6, 1876 at the University Building in the present day New York University.[1] Although at that time there was an American science society (American Association for the Advancement of Science) the growth of chemistry prompted those assembled, including William H. Nichols, under the direction of Professor Charles F. Chandler of the Columbia School of Mines to found the American Chemical Society. The society Chandler said, would “prove a powerful and healthy stimulus to original research, … would awaken and develop much talent now wasting in isolation, … [bring] members of the association into closer union, and ensure a better appreciation of our science and its students on the part of the general public.”

A formal vote for organization was taken, a constitution was adopted, and officers were selected. Chandlers was an obvious choice as president since had been instrumental leadership in establishing the society, however, he felt that the New York University Professor John William Draper had the reputation as a scientist to lead a national organization. At the age of 65 John William Draper was elected as the first president of the American Chemical Society and the headquarters was located in New York. Draper’s presidency was important more due to his name and reputation and than his active participation in the society.

Educational Activities

The American Chemical Society also sponsors the United States National Chemistry Olympiad (USNCO), a contest used to select the four-member team that represents the United States at the International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO). The ACS Division of Chemical Education provides standardized tests for various subfields of chemistry. The two most commonly-used tests are the undergraduate-level tests for general and organic chemistry. Each of these tests consists of 70 multiple-choice questions, and gives students 110 minutes to complete the exam.

The American Chemical Society grants membership to undergraduates as student affiliates. Any university may start its own chapter of the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society (SAACS) and receive benefits of undergraduate participation in regional conferences and discounts on ACS publications.

PubChem controversy

Since the inception of National Center for Biotechnology Information's open access PubChem chemical compound database initiative, ACS has actively lobbied NCBI and its supervising agencies to stop the database development effort. ACS markets its own subscription- and pay-based Chemical Abstracts Service. In a May 23, 2005, press-release, the ACS stated:

The ACS believes strongly that the Federal Government should not seek to become a taxpayer supported publisher. By collecting, organizing, and disseminating small molecule information whose creation it has not funded and which duplicates CAS services, NIH has started ominously, down the path to unfettered scientific publishing...

The journal "Nature" reported that ACS had hired a public relations firm, Dezenhall Resources, to try and halt the open access movement[2]. "Scientific American" later reported that ACS had spent over $200,000 to hire Wexler & Walker Public Policy Association to lobby against open access[3].

Journals and Magazines

Incomplete List Of Past ACS Presidents

  • 2008 Bruce Bersten (current)
  • 2007 Catherine "Katie" Hunt
  • 2006 Ann McNally
  • 2005 Bill Carrol
  • 2003 Elsa Reichmanis
  • 2002 Eli M. Pierce

See also

External links

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