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Vol. 35 No. 4
July-August 2013

Young Observers

As we are putting this issue to press, the IUPAC community is focusing on the prospect of gathering in Istanbul in early August for the IUPAC General Assembly and Congress. Hopefully, by that time, the tensions in that nation will have settled down and our attention can turn to chemistry. The anticipation of the General Assembly is palpable in our daily work. Various divisions, committees, and task groups are planning to meet and agendas and attendance lists are being generated and circulated actively among members.

image of Fabienne Meyers

One unique aspect of this year's preparation, and which I am thrilled to observe, is the particular engagement of IUPAC National Adhering Organizations in attempting to include young chemists to come along under the Young Observers program. Already confirmed are young observers from the USA, UK, Japan, and Russia. Moreover, the Royal Society of Chemistry's Pan Africa Chemistry Network has also invited YOs from Ghana and from South Africa, while Germany reached out to YOs from Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania. A few more NAOs, including France, Italy, and India, are still working out plans that will hopefully allow for more YOs to participate.

The largest and oldest YO program is that of the USA, which has been in place for more than 30 years. As envisioned by former U.S. Bureau member Ed Przybylowicz, the YO program is a mechanism for getting new experts involved in IUPAC <www.iupac.org/publications/ci/2002/2401/forum-young.html>. The opportunity to be an observer at the GA, along with the mentorship by current members, provides a unique experience for YOs to learn first hand about IUPAC. In a 2002 presentation about the YO program, Przybylowicz noted that "Mechanisms need to be considered that will encourage involvement from all member countries of IUPAC, not just the larger countries."

The resurgence of interest in the YO program is welcome and timely, and well suited to the announcement that the traditional WCLM (World Chemistry Leadership Meeting) will this year focus on the "Future of Chemistry—IUPAC's Role."

The theme, as announced by the IUPAC Committee on Chemistry and Industry, which is organizing this year's meeting, is an opportunity for young leaders to voice their ideas about where chemistry will be in 25 years and how IUPAC should approach the future. Key topics will explore the future of chemistry in the context of the Millennium Development Goals, the scope of pure and applied research, the perceived role of IUPAC, and the career aspirations of the younger generation of chemists.

Whatever your interest, and whatever your age, please be sure to reach out to this year's young observers and stop by the General Assembly. Safe travels, and see you in Istanbul.

Fabienne Meyers
fabienne@iupac.org

Cover: "Map of Scientific Collaborations from 2005–2009," by Olivier H. Beauchesne, appears in "7th Iteration (2011): Science Maps as Visual Interfaces to Digital Libraries," Places & Spaces: Mapping Science, edited by Katy Börner and Michael J. Stamper. http://scimaps.org.
© Olivier H. Beauchesne, reproduced with permission.


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