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Vol. 31 No. 2
March-April 2009

From the Editor

In less than 6 months, we will meet for the biennial IUPAC Congress and General Assembly (GA) in Glasgow, UK. IUPAC members engaged in divisions and committees will, as usual, juggle a busy schedule of meetings, but also hopefully find the time to participate in the Congress organized by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

image of Fabienne MeyersIn recent years, IUPAC Congresses have been flagged with major themes. This year’s theme is “Chemistry Solutions.” Two years ago, in Torino, Italy, the theme was “Chemistry Protecting Health, Natural Environment, and Cultural Heritage.” In 2005, in Beijing, China, it was “Innovation in Chemistry.” In 2003, in Ottawa, Canada, it was “Chemistry at the Interfaces,” and in 2001, in Brisbane, Australia, it was “Frontiers in Chemistry.”

Interestingly, these themes reflect how chemistry is changing, how the chemistry community sees itself, and how chemists necessarily adapt to the world around them. While academic research focuses on pinning down a problem, it is a contemporary necessity to design “solutions.” Today, many recognize that chemists help to make a better world by providing solutions to pressing problems involving health, water, energy, and the environment. As the organizers of the Glasgow event advertise (Officers' Column, p. 2 in print), “the aim of the 42nd IUPAC Congress is to reflect the breadth of the chemical sciences, highlighting the impact of our science and exciting innovations with an overall focus on ‘Chemistry Solutions.’”

During the GA, it is hoped that the more compact schedule offered this year will also catalyze “solutions.” How the Union and its numerous committees will approach and plan for the celebration of the 2011 International Year of Chemistry will surely be a topic of discussion among many, if not all, groups. “The IYC2011 will give a global boost to chemical science in which our life and our future are grounded,” says Jung-Il Jin, IUPAC president. It will also provide an opportunity for chemists to portray themselves as “solution providers.”

In this issue of CI, a range of articles shows how IUPAC is key to many aspects of our science—from the pure to the applied. On the “pure” end, Mills and Milton give us an update on the mole and clarify some of the basic concepts. On the “applied” front, Schepers reviews how complex and “nightmarish” the naming of chemicals can be for customs officials, and outlines some possible solutions. Another “applied” contribution involves biosafety and security. Articles in the Project Place section
(p. 20 in print) demonstrate even more “solutions” or plans for solutions.

See you and your solutions in Glasgow!

Fabienne Meyers
fabienne@iupac.org


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