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American Chemical Society

Division of the History of Chemistry

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Previous Announcements


LADIES IN WAITING FOR NOBEL PRIZES: OVERLOOKED ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF WOMEN CHEMISTS
Call for Papers.
The HIST symposium on "The Posthumous Nobel Prize in Chemistry" last March at the San Diego ACS meeting received a surprising amount of coverage. Stu Borman wrote a two and half page piece for an April issue in C&EN, and readers of the magazine rated that article as the 10th most popular article in 2016 in C&EN. However, that symposium lacked any coverage of women chemists also deserving of Nobel Prizes. Our HIST symposium for Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, at the ACS National Meeting in Washington, D.C. will attempt to restore balance. The symposium, titled above, is being co-sponsored by the ACS Women Chemists Committee (WCC). Furthermore, Vera Mainz applied successfully for a DAC grant to sponsor a performance of the theatre piece "No Belles" following the symposium. This play, presented by the Portal Theatre Group from the Pacific Northwest, tells the tale of eight female scientists: six are Nobel Prize winners; two (Rosalind Franklin and Lise Meitner) are not. The keynote speaker for the symposium is Magdolna Hargittai, who is author of THE book on women scientists, Women Scientists: Reflections, Challenges, and Breaking Boundaries, published by Oxford University Press in 2015.

The symposium "The Posthumous Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Correcting the Errors and Oversights of the Nobel Prize Committee" is currently being turned into an ACS Symposium Book edited by Tom Strom and Vera Mainz. This August symposium would make a fitting sequel, provided the numbers of significant but overlooked women chemists are sufficient. We think they are, and we look forward to all of you demonstrating that fact.


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The Newsletter, Program, and Abstracts for the 254th National ACS Meeting in Washington, DC, August 20-24, 2017, are now available.



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Call for Nominations HIST Citations for Chemical Breakthrough Awards
The Division of History of Chemistry (HIST) calls for nominations for its Citations for Chemical Breakthrough Award program. Presented annually to multiple awardees beginning in 2006, these awards recognize seminal chemistry publications, books and patents. The term "breakthrough" refers to advances in the fields of science embraced by the American Chemical Society that have been revolutionary in concept, broad in scope, and long-term in impact. Each award will be made to the department or institution where the breakthrough occurred, not to the individual scientist(s) or inventors.

The Nomination Information and Required Nomination Form is now available. Nominations are due May 26, 2017. More information on this award program can be found on this website.

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The 2016 HIST Election is now over. Thank you to the 218 members who voted (an increase of 23% from the last election)! To view the results click HERE.


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The Newsletter, Program, and Abstracts for the 253rd National ACS Meeting in San Francisco, CA, April 2-6, 2017, are now available.



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The 150th Anniversary of the Morrill Act was celebrated in 2012 via symposia at both the San Diego and Philadelphia National meetings. Many of the speakers at those symposia contributed articles to the Bulletin for the History of Chemistry, v38(2) 2013. By special request, the articles in this issue of the Bulletin related to the anniversary of the Morrill Act are being made available via OPEN ACCESS.

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Keith Lindblom is coordinating the Wikipedia Year of Science activities for ACS this year, and there will be two events in Philly that HIST members might be interested in. Advance registration for both activities is requested. Contact Keith Lindblom at k_lindblom@acs.org.

  • Wiki Education Foundation Workshop - Resources for incorporating Wikipedia assignments into university classrooms. Students develop writing and research skills while expanding public access to knowledge. August 24, 10 AM to noon, Pennsylvania Convention Center Room 113B.
  • Wiki Edit-a-thon and Training - Improve coverage of notable chemists and chemistry topics on Wikipedia. Bring a laptop and start editing! August 24, 1 to 5 PM, Pennsylvania Convention Center Room 113B.

Wikipedia keeps a list of "Vital Articles" that should be maintained at high quality; the list includes several prominent chemists from the past (Lavoisier, Pasteur, Mendeleev, Curie). Yet none of these makes Wikipedia's highest quality rating. So you can see that improvements to articles about the history of chemists and chemistry are needed, and that HIST members have a unique ability to contribute.


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The Newsletter, Program, and Abstracts for the 252nd National ACS Meeting in Philadelphia, PA, August 21-25, 2016, are now available.

As part of its activities at the 252nd ACS National Meeting in Philadelphia, the History of Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society is pleased to host the 2016 HIST Award Banquet. To be honored at the banquet will be Prof. Ursula Klein, winner of its 2016 HIST Award, and Prof. Matthew Lavine, winner of its 2015 Out-standing Paper Award. The Banquet will be held at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, located along Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia's Old City (315 Chestnut Street). The Banquet will be on Tuesday, August 23rd, starting at 6:30 PM and will feature parmesan panko-crusted chicken with tomato relish and arugula pesto, saffron couscous salad, grilled vege-tables, rolls and butter, and dessert, as well as and a cash bar. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased from Vera Mainz, HIST Secretary-Treasurer (Tickets cover the full cost of the meal, with the exception of beverages). You can pay Vera via check or cash (exact amount preferred) at the banquet or when you see her. If you do plan to attend, please RSVP by August 11th via email (mainz@illinois.edu). The Chemical Heritage Foundation is approximately 11 blocks from the Pennsylvania Convention Center.


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There will be a symposium at the Philadelphia meeting honoring Ernest Eliel . Please consider attending!


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The HIST award for the Outstanding Paper Award for 2015 has been awarded to Prof. Matthew Lavine at Mississippi State University. The award is presented to the author of the best paper published in the Bulletin for the History of Chemistry during the previous three years, 2013, 2014, 2015.


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The recipient of the 2016 HIST Award of the Division of the History of Chemistry of the American Chemical Society is Professor Dr. Ursula Klein of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, Germany. This award is the successor to the Dexter Award (1956-2001) and the Sydney M. Edelstein Award (2002-2009), also administered by the Division of the History of Chemistry. The HIST Award will be presented to Prof. Klein at the fall national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia, PA, on August 23, 2016.



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Call for Nominations for the 2016 Citation for Chemical Breakthrough Awards

HIST is calling for nominations for its 2016 Citations for Chemical Breakthrough Awards. The awards recognize breakthrough publications, books, and patents worldwide in the field of chemistry. The advances must have been revolutionary in concept, broad in scope, and long term in impact. Departments or institutions being recognized will receive a plaque to be hung near the office or laboratory where the breakthrough was achieved. Nominations must include a full literature citation and a supporting statement of less than 200 words. All nominations must be received by Friday, July 1, 2016.

The nomination form can be found at:
http://www.scs.illinois.edu/~mainzv/HIST/awards/citations_chem-breakthroughs.php


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The Newsletter, Program, and Abstracts for the 252nd National ACS Meeting in Philadelphia, PA, August 21-25, 2016, are now available.


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Current ACS President Donna J. Nelson has proposed that a series of videos be created presenting the stories of chemists who showed great courage in the course of their scientific work. As a first step in this process, she requests that members of HIST send her nominations ( djnelson@ou.edu ) by August 1, 2016. The information requested can be found in the linked flyer.


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The Newsletter, Program, and Abstracts for the 251st National ACS Meeting in San Diego, CA, March 13-17, 2016, are now available.


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The Atom and the Molecule - A Symposium Celebrating Gilbert N. Lewis

A celebration of 100 years of the shared electron bond on March 23, 2016 at Burlington House, Picadilly, London, sponsored by the Royal Society of Chemistry Historical Group. Attendance is free, but you do have to register beforehand. The topics are suitable for anyone interested in teaching or recent developments in the understanding of "the bond", along with a good sprinkling of historical insights.

More can be found at http://www.ch.imperial.ac.uk/rzepa/blog/?p=14984 and in the program.


Call for Nominations HIST Award for Outstanding Achievement in the History of Chemistry

The Division of History of Chemistry (HIST) of the American Chemical Society (ACS) solicits nominations for the 2016 HIST Award for Outstanding Achievement in the History of Chemistry. This award, formerly known as the Dexter Award and then the Edelstein Award, continues a tradition started in 1956.
This award is sponsored by and administered by HIST. The recipient chosen to receive the HIST Award is presented with an engraved plaque and the sum of $1500, usually at a symposium honoring the recipient at the Fall National Meeting of the ACS, which in 2015 will be held in at the 252nd ACS National Meeting & Exposition, August 21-25, 2016, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The award is international in scope, and nominations are welcome from anywhere in the world. Previous winners of the Dexter and Edelstein Awards include chemists and historians from the United States, Canada, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.


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Call for Nominations for the 2015 Citation for Chemical Breakthrough Awards

The Citation for Chemical Breakthrough award program recognizes breakthrough publications, books and patents worldwide in the field of chemistry. The term "breakthrough" refers to advances in the fields of science embraced by the American Chemical Society that have been revolutionary in concept, broad in scope, and long-term in impact. Each award will be made to the department or institution where the breakthrough occurred. Nominations are simple: the full reference and a justification of no more that 200 words maximum. The deadline for receipt of nominations is Friday, October 16, 2015. The nomination form can be found at:
http://www.scs.illinois.edu/~mainzv/HIST/awards/citations_chem-breakthroughs.php


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The recipient of the 2015 HIST Award of the Division of the History of Chemistry of the American Chemical Society is Professor Christoph Meinel, University of Regensburg, Germany. This award is the successor to the Dexter Award (1956-2001) and the Sydney M. Edelstein Award (2002-2009), also administered by the Division of the History of Chemistry. The HIST Award will be presented to Prof. Meinel at the fall national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston, MA, on August 18, 2015.


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New HIST symposium planned for the Spring 2016 ACS National Meeting: PRECEPTORS OF CHEMISTRY. Full details can be found HERE.


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New HIST symposium planned for the Spring 2016 ACS National Meeting: THE POSTHUMOUS NOBEL PRIZE IN CHEMISTRY. CORRECTING THE OVERSIGHTS AND ERRORS OF THE NOBEL PRIZE COMMITTEE. Full details can be found HERE.

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TRAVEL FELLOWSHIP ANNOUNCEMENT - for the U.S. National Committee's Young Observer Program 48th IUPAC General Assembly and 45th IUPAC Congress, Busan, South Korea, August 6-14, 2015
The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), a worldwide leader in advancing the chemical sciences, is holding its 48th General Assembly (August 6-13, 2015) and its 45th Congress (August 9-14, 2015) in Busan, South Korea.
The U.S. National Committee for IUPAC is seeking outstanding U.S. scientists and engineers under the age of 45, with interests and expertise related to the working groups of IUPAC, to travel as Young Observers to South Korea. The USNC/IUPAC will provide travel fellowships of $2500 to successful candidates.


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Call for papers 10th International Conference on the History of Chemistry (10th ICHC)
CHEMICAL BIOGRAPHY IN THE 21ST CENTURY
University of Aveiro, Portugal, 9th to 12th September 2015 Conference website: http://10ichc-2015.web.ua.pt/

This interdisciplinary conference welcomes participants from a range of academic disciplines including history of science and technology, science and technology studies (STS), economic and business history, and the history of material culture and museum studies. We also warmly welcome participants from chemistry and related disciplines with an interest in the history of their discipline.


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"Transformation of Chemistry from the 1920s to the 1960s" (IWHC 2015) March 2-4, 2015, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan
The years between the 1920s and the 1960s saw a transformation of chemistry in several aspects. These included the development of biochemistry, polymer chemistry, quantum chemistry, and computational chemistry, as well as the instrumental revolution. New methods, theories, and technologies opened up new fields of chemical sciences, and the chemical industry grew to be one of the most important branches of industry that supported national economies. Chemistry was greatly influenced by World War II and the Cold War, when it was directed especially to military and security needs, while the public image of chemistry also changed, due largely to the environmental problems caused by synthetic chemical materials.
The aim of the workshop is to stimulate a discussion of the transformation of chemistry in Japan and/or in the world during the period with comparative perspectives. The workshop may take an interdisciplinary approach and pay special attention to the social dimension of chemistry.
This three-day workshop consists of three keynote lectures by invited speakers and 26 contributions from the participants in eight sessions.
The deadline of the registration will be January 31st, 2015.
For the details of the workshop, please see the site: http://kagakushi.org/iwhc2015/


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Call for Nominations HIST Award for Outstanding Achievement in the History of Chemistry

The Division of History of Chemistry (HIST) of the American Chemical Society (ACS) solicits nominations for the 2015 HIST Award for Outstanding Achievement in the History of Chemistry. This award, formerly known as the Dexter Award and then the Edelstein Award, continues a tradition started in 1956.
This award is sponsored by and administered by HIST. The recipient chosen to receive the HIST Award is presented with an engraved plaque and the sum of $1500, usually at a symposium honoring the recipient at the Fall National Meeting of the ACS, which in 2015 will be held in Boston, MA, Aug. 16-20. The award is international in scope, and nominations are welcome from anywhere in the world. Previous winners of the Dexter and Edelstein Awards include chemists and historians from the United States, Canada, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.


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The 2014 HIST Election is now over. Thank you to the 177 members who voted! To view the results click HERE.


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From the inception of photography there has been interplay of science with art. Imparting a chemical transformation by the action of light to create a lasting image was a lofty goal that now is both commonplace and oft forgotten. Yet, understanding both the chemistry behind a photographic process and the reasons photographers employed particular media provides insight into the history of these inherently chemical processes, guides the conservation of culturally important materials, and informs modern practicing photographers.

A symposium held in Washington, D.C., this fall (October 22-23) will delve into the history, chemistry and art of platinum and palladium photography. A detailed list of the talks to be presented, information regarding registration for the symposium and related tours (October 21 and 24) can be found at:

http://www.conservation-us.org/platinum

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The recipient of the 2014 HIST Award of the Division of the History of Chemistry of the American Chemical Society is Professor Ernst Homburg, Department of History at the University of Maastricht, The Netherlands. This award is the successor to the Dexter Award (1956-2001) and the Sydney M. Edelstein Award (2002-2009), also administered by the Division of the History of Chemistry. The HIST Award will be presented to Prof. Homburg on 12 August 2014 at the fall national meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco, California.

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The Newsletter, Program, and Abstracts for the 248th National ACS Meeting in San Francisco, CA, August 10-14, 2014, are now available.

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Herb Pratt, a long-time friend and colleague, died Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014.
Obituary in the The News Journal

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Call for Nominations HIST Citations for Chemical Breakthrough Awards
The Division of History of Chemistry (HIST) calls for nominations for its Citations for Chemical Breakthrough Award program. Presented annually to multiple awardees beginning in 2006, these awards recognize seminal chemistry publications, books and patents. The term "breakthrough" refers to advances in the fields of science embraced by the American Chemical Society that have been revolutionary in concept, broad in scope, and long-term in impact. Each award will be made to the department or institution where the breakthrough occurred, not to the individual scientist(s) or inventors. More information including nomination forms can be found on this website, or by contacting Jeffrey I. Seeman at jseeman@richmond.edu. Nominations for the 2014 awards must be received electronically by July 7, 2014 and must be no more than 200 words.

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The Newsletter, Program, and Abstracts for the 247th National ACS Meeting in Dallas, TX, March 16-20, 2014, are now available.

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Call for Papers for BCCE Symposium

Geoff & Marelene Rayner-Canham are organizing a Symposium at the 2014 Biennial Conference on Chemical Education at Grand Valley University, Michigan, August 3-7, 2014, http://www.bcce2014.org/index.html.
The symposium is titled History & Philosophy and the Teaching of Chemistry, and the session description is: In order to plan for the future, we need to look to the past - where has the teaching of chemistry come from? Why do we teach what we do? Do we mindlessly teach what we were taught? Who were the major influences on the teaching of chemistry and on what has been taught? Many questions! Do you have any of the answers?
If the Symposium appeals to you please submit the abstract to: www.bcce-submissions.com and please send them a copy at mrcanham@grenfell.mun.ca

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Call for Nominations HIST Award for Outstanding Achievement in the History of Chemistry

The Division of History of Chemistry (HIST) of the American Chemical Society (ACS) solicits nominations for the 2014 HIST Award for Outstanding Achievement in the History of Chemistry. This award, formerly known as the Dexter Award and then the Edelstein Award, continues a tradition started in 1956.
This award is sponsored by and administered by HIST. The recipient chosen to receive the HIST Award is presented with an engraved plaque and the sum of $1500, usually at a symposium honoring the recipient at the Fall National Meeting of the ACS, which in 2014 will be held in San Francisco, CA, Aug. 10-14. The award is international in scope, and nominations are welcome from anywhere in the world. Previous winners of the Dexter and Edelstein Awards include chemists and historians from the United States, Canada, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.

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Call for Nominations HIST Citations for Chemical Breakthrough Awards

The Division of History of Chemistry (HIST) calls for nominations for its Citations for Chemical Breakthrough Award program. Presented annually to multiple awardees beginning in 2006, these awards recognize seminal chemistry publications, books and patents. The term "breakthrough" refers to advances in the fields of science embraced by the American Chemical Society that have been revolutionary in concept, broad in scope, and long-term in impact. Each award will be made to the department or institution where the breakthrough occurred, not to the individual scientist(s) or inventors. More information including nomination forms can be found on this website, or by contacting Jeffrey I. Seeman at jseeman@richmond.edu. Nominations for the 2013 awards must be received electronically by November 18, 2013 and require only a full reference and a very short supporting statement.

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The Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry (of the periodical Ambix fame) will hold its regular Fall 2013 Meeting in London on November 9, 2013 on the theme of Books in Chemistry. Bolton Society and HIST members are invited to present papers at this meeting. For details, see circular.

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Call for Nominations HIST Citations for Chemical Breakthrough Awards

The Division of History of Chemistry (HIST) calls for nominations for its Citations for Chemical Breakthrough Award program. Presented annually to multiple awardees beginning in 2006, these awards recognize seminal chemistry publications, books and patents. The term "breakthrough" refers to advances in the fields of science embraced by the American Chemical Society that have been revolutionary in concept, broad in scope, and long-term in impact. Each award will be made to the department or institution where the breakthrough occurred, not to the individual scientist(s) or inventors. More information including nomination forms can be found on this website, or by contacting Jeffrey I. Seeman at jseeman@richmond.edu. Nominations for the 2013 awards must be received electronically by October 4, 2013 and must be no more than 200 words.

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A recent Citation for Chemical Breakthrough Award for 2011 honored the 1811 paper by Avogadro. HIST has one member who lives in Italy, Teresa Celestino. She agreed to participate in an award ceremony that was held in Vercelli, Italy on Saturday. Teresa travelled many hundred of miles to participate in the ceremony. She produced posted two videos of this ceremony: Short version (4:21 minutes) Longer version (15 minutes)

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The recipient of the 2013 HIST Award of the Division of the History of Chemistry of the American Chemical Society is Professor William R. Newman, Distinguished Professor and Ruth Halls Professor of History and Philosophy of Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN. This award is the successor to the Dexter Award (1956-2001) and the Sydney M. Edelstein Award (2002-2009), also administered by the Division of the History of Chemistry. The HIST Award will be presented to Prof. Newman at the fall national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Indianapolis in September 2013.

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The Newsletter, Program, and Abstracts for the 246th National ACS Meeting in Indianapolis, IN, September 8-12, 2013, are now available.

Chemical Heritage Foundation

Enhanced Presence of the Chemical Heritage Foundation at Pittcon 2013.
This year, as a salute to the 100th year anniversary of mass spectrometry, the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) will have an enhanced presence at Pittcon 2013. An instrumentation museum, which will be located in the main registration area, will feature an original copy of J. J. Thomson’s Monograph that initiated the birth of mass spectrometry. A complementary display will include a collection of mass spec components and instruments such as a miniature Nier mass spectrometer and vacuum tubes to the modern day hand held instruments that service a variety of applications from airport security to space exploration to the modern operating room.

Ambix: Journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy & Chemistry is Maney Publishing's Journal of the Month for March - to celebrate they are offering free online access to 3 years' worth of Ambix content along with a newly designed website featuring articles written by experts in the field and other pieces. Visit the Journal of the Month page now. Please note, these offers are only available until the end of March.

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The Newsletter, Program and Abstracts for the papers to be given at the 245th American Chemical Society National Meeting, New Orleans, LA, April 7-11, 2013 are now available.

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The HIST Award for Outstanding Achievement in the History of Chemistry is now seeking nominations. Nominations close on Dec. 31, 2012. This award was formerly the Dexter Award and then the Edelstein Award.

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The 2012 HIST Election is now over. Thank you to the 215 members who voted! To view the results click HERE.

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Mary Virginia Orna discusses what the American Chemical Society History Division did to celebrate the International Year of Chemistry 2011.

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James J. Bohning, a former chair of the HIST Division and long-time Historian
and Archivist of the HIST Division died Friday, September 2, 2011 at Chandler Hall Hospice, Newtown, PA.
Obituary in the Allentown Morning Call

The ACS Symposium Series has recently published "Atoms in Chemistry: From Dalton's Predecessors to Complex Atoms and Beyond." HIST is the sponsoring division of the volume, which is based on a HIST symposium from the 236th National Meeting (Philadelphia, 2008). The book, edited by Carmen Giunta, is available in print or on line at http://pubs.acs.org/isbn/9780841225572 . ACS Publications lists William Jensen's contribution to the volume, "Four Centuries of Atomic Theory," among the 10 most-read chapters in the Symposium Series for the first quarter of 2011.

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  • HIST had several projects at the ACS Southeast Regional Meeting, on October 23, 2009. These were supported by a generous grant from the Divisional Activities Committee. These included a Children's Workshop and a Symposium on the History, Chemistry, and Art of the Elements.