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Looking back at our time in New Orleans

When ACS last convened in New Orleans in 2008, the city was still getting back on its feet after Hurricane Katrina stormed through. This time, the mood was much different. First of all, the convention center has undergone a major facelift, and it looks really nice! The French Quarter was even more colorful than I remembered, and meeting attendees took time out to explore the rich culture and cuisines of the city. As for me, I had the most amazing oyster po’ boy sandwich from the famous Mother’s restaurant.

Here’s a look back at some of my favorite moments from the 2013 ACS spring national meeting in New Orleans, and be sure to check out the meeting photospread in this week’s issue of C&EN: http://cenm.ag/pics.

19th-Century Medicine In New Orleans

Strolling around the French Quarter on my last day attending the spring ACS national meeting in New Orleans, I stumbled across the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, a 19th-century apothecary shop filled from floor to ceiling with bottles and jars containing crude drugs, herbal medicines, and even voodoo potions. For those of you who didn’t get a chance to visit this gem of a place, check out this virtual tour I put together–and be sure to visit the next time ACS visits New Orleans in spring 2018!

Celebrating Pi: Don’t Try This at Home

Do you remember what you did on Pi Day last Thursday (3/14)? American Chemical Society (ACS) student affiliates from Duquesne University, in Pittsburgh, took the opportunity to “pi” their professors (literally) and made a short video about it:

And on a related note, if you think reading the digits in pi will take forever, check out this video of a man pronouncing the longest word in the world, which happens to be the chemical name of titin, the largest known protein. (Warning: you’ll need three and a half hours to get through this video, but as a reward, you get to watch this man’s beard grow.)

Chemistry, Gangnam Style

Can’t get the “Gangnam Style” song out of your head? Well, for some chemistry students at Shaker Heights High School, near Cleveland, Ohio, the song just might come in handy for their next chemistry exam.

Check out “Molecules Gone Wild (Bio Style),” chemistry teacher Mr. Hsu’s version of Korean pop sensation PSY’s viral hit. The link was sent to us by Alex Madonik of the American Chemical Society’s California Section, who is an alumni of Shaker Heights.

Happy Friday!

Looking Back On Philadelphia (#ACSPhilly)

The American Chemical Society meeting in Philly is now fading into our long-term memories. Chemists accomplished a lot in the City of Brotherly Love: They shared ideas, reported their chemical discoveries, and made new connections. Be sure to check out Monday’s issue of C&EN for stories from the meeting as well as photo highlights. In the meantime, here’s a look back on our time in Philly, told in pictures.

And as we say goodbye to Philly, we look toward next spring’s gathering in New Orleans. The beleaguered region and its residents once again have a cleanup ahead of them, after facing Hurricane Isaac. Our hearts go out to everyone there who is dealing with the consequences of this natural disaster–it reminds us just how fragile life can be.

That’s A Wrap For The 44th International Chemistry Olympiad

The 44th International Chemistry Olympiad concluded a week ago today, and it was truly an amazing experience!

The team from South Korea won four golds, the most of any country during this year’s competition. The U.S. team earned a gold and three silver medals. For more highlights, see C&EN’s news article in this week’s issue.

Congratulations to everyone who earned medals, but like ACS president-elect Marinda Li Wu said to the students during the closing ceremony: “No matter whether you bring home a medal or not, you will all carry back some precious memories that should last a lifetime. Furthermore, you made some personal connections and bonds this week that will become part of your own valuable network. Maintaining and continuing to build that network can help you succeed no matter what your ultimate career and profession.”

With that said, let’s take a look back and see how much fun the students had during their stay in the nation’s capital:

Final Days, Lasting Memories From #IChO2012

We’re closing in on the International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) closing ceremony, which will take place this Sunday in Washington, D.C. C&EN will be there to report the medal results.

It seems like just yesterday that the students were meeting each other for the first time and checking into their dorm rooms at the University of Maryland. Last night, after completing a five-hour theoretical exam, the students reunited with their mentors (who have been hard at work grading the lab practical exams) during a reunion party at the French Embassy. Today the students are spending the day in Baltimore, visiting the Baltimore Aquarium and the Maryland Science Center and attending a Baltimore Orioles vs. Oakland Athletics baseball game.

It’s been an exciting couple of days, filled with both competition and camaraderie. To get a feel for what the IChO experience has been like, the ACS Office of Public Affairs has put together a video capturing reactions from some of the students:

Competition and Camaraderie at #IChO2012

Today, students competing in the International Chemistry Olympiad are taking a five-hour theoretical exam, which counts toward 60% of their total score. Check out Newscripts’ blog post from July 24 for some sample questions and see whether you can compete with a chemistry olympian.

While the students are hard at work, let’s take a look at some of the camaraderie they’ve enjoyed over the past few days:

Students held up their country flags at the Opening Ceremony on Sunday.
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography Continue reading →

Catalyzing Friendships at the International Chemistry Olympiad

One of the coolest and most unique experiences of the International Chemistry Olympiad is getting to meet the top high school chemistry students from around the world. This year, 72 countries are represented in the competition, which is being hosted in the U.S. for the first time in two decades.

This past Saturday, nearly 300 students arrived at the University of Maryland, College Park, where they are staying this week, and C&EN was there to greet them and find out why they love chemistry:

We also put together a short video to share the excitement of the first day, when students met each other for the first time, united with their local guides, and checked into their dorm rooms:

The students have a challenging and exciting week ahead. Today, they’re taking a five-hour lab practical exam, and on Thursday they’ll be taking a five-hour theoretical exam. They’ll also attend a Baltimore Orioles vs. Oakland Athletics baseball game, tour the National Aeronautics & Space Administration’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and take a boat cruise in Annapolis, Md., just to name a few of the activities in store.

We’ll be checking in on the students from time to time this week. And we’ll be cheering them on during the closing ceremony on Sunday, when the medals are awarded.

Good luck to everyone!

Beaker vs. Milli Mole

Beaker looks a little scared. Credit: Lauren Wolf/C&EN

If you think C&EN’s Beaker is quite the globe trotter, check out this awesome video of Milli Mole’s jaunts around the world, courtesy of the chemistry faculty at the University of Central Oklahoma. To see the video, scroll down to the middle of the page and click the play arrow.

Where will this dynamic duo show up next?

Hat tip to Bill Suits. Thanks, Bill!