I don’t attend too many press conferences at the ACS meeting – because they are aimed at a much more general audience than a chemistry journal editor (that’s not a bad thing – read on). On Sunday, however, I attended a press conference with the intriguing title of ‘New Heroes of Chemistry’. I really had no idea what this was about as I didn’t read the press release in advance.
From the ACS Portal:
Since 1996, the ACS Heroes of Chemistry program has recognized chemical scientists whose work in various fields of chemistry and chemical engineering has led to the successful innovation and development of commercial products based on chemistry. The Heroes of Chemistry program highlights the vital role of industrial chemical scientists and their companies in improving human welfare through successful commercial innovations and products. It presents an ideal opportunity to enhance the public image of the chemical and allied industries.
During the press conference, the ACS announced the induction of five new ‘Heroes of Chemistry’. Jotham Coe and Brian O’Neill (Pfizer) were involved in the development of a smoking cessation drug – Chantix (varenicline)- Joseph Armstrong III, Ann Weber and Nancy Thornberry (Merck) worked on a Diabetes drug – Januvia (sitagliptin).
The passion of these chemists for their work was clear to see – not least when Coe described how he had seen several close family members suffer and ultimately die from smoking related diseases. As we discussed in our September editorial, chemistry needs a few more champions (or heroes) and I really hope this kind of thing can help. And the best thing is that with this ‘hall of fame’ I don’t think there is any danger of the members later being accused of taking steroids to help get them there!
Incidentally, if you’re at the ACS meeting and want to read our September editorial – and the rest of the issue for that matter – why not pick up a complimentary copy from the expo (Booth 609).
Stephen Davey (Associate Editor, Nature Chemistry)