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Annual Report 2014

Program Highlights

Communicating the Value of Our Science

ACS continues to be a leader in communicating with policymakers and the public about chemistry’s central role in solving global challenges.

In 2014, news about chemistry from ACS journals, Chemical & Engineering News and national meetings reached the public in record numbers. Independent monitoring data for 2014 shows that ACS-generated publicity resulted in more than 31,000 news media articles, a significant increase from 2013, resulting in potential readership or viewership of billions. These stories appeared in media outlets such as ABC News, BBC News, CBS News, Fox News, Huffington Post, National Public Radio, NBC News, The New York Times, The Washington Post and Yahoo! News. Science Communications staff generated this news coverage by issuing press releases (including the weekly ACS PressPac), holding press conferences and using social media.

The award-winning ACS Productions team produced more than 350 videos in 2014. These videos were viewed or downloaded more than 10 million times last year. They include popular YouTube series such as Reactions, broadcast-quality promotional videos for ACS Publications and collaborations with sister scientific societies, including the American Institute of Physics’ Inside Science TV series.

Reactions  was launched in late January and is the ACS’ most popular ongoing video series. It explores chemistry’s role in everyday life. More than 50 episodes have been produced on topics such as the chemistry of alchemy, chocolate, and hangovers. These episodes received more than 8 million views. The series, which is now the most popular YouTube channel ever launched by an organization (scientific or otherwise), has been featured on NPR, in Wired, Time, and The Washington Post.

In its fifth year, ACS Chemistry Ambassadors initiative has attracted more than 10,000 volunteers. These ambassadors do many things to promote better understanding of chemistry and its role in our everyday lives. These efforts include giving ACS scholarship information to teachers and guidance counselors; talking to elected officials about why funding for research matters; visiting schools and scouts with ACS Kids and Chemistry kits; and having a great answer ready for the inevitable “So what kind of work do you do?” question at family reunions, backyard barbeques, and in countless plane trips all around the globe.

In 2014, the program supported Chemistry Champions, an innovative national pilot contest designed to engage young members in communicating chemistry to the public via social media. Short videos of the final contestants speaking in understandable terms about their research and why it matters reached more than 280,000 Twitter accounts.

The ACS Science & the Congress program experimented with new partnerships in 2014. Nine ACS briefings featured valuable science and technology policy discussions with congressional staffers and D.C.-based thought leaders. The ACS Office of Public Affairs (OPA) began experimenting with expanding policy programming to new venues off Capitol Hill. Briefings featured 43 speakers on topics spanning R&D economics, forensics, 3-D printing and IP law, water-based risk planning, graduate student training in entrepreneurship, space technology and agriculture, energy, medical isotopes, and scientific collaboration. These sessions attracted several new partnerships. 

The ACS Experts program continued to grow and demonstrate impact. The 41 trained Experts made chemistry understandable for general audiences, policymakers, and student groups. They were interviewed by numerous media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, Good Morning America, CNN, Chicago Tribune, Associated Press, Fitness Magazine, National Geographic, Bloomberg News, and The Weather Channel. There were more than 80 placements from ACS Experts in 2014.

ACS and its members celebrated National Chemistry Week 2014 (NCW). The theme, "The Sweet Side of Chemistry—Candy,"  attracted thousands of families and children of all ages to events nationwide. More than 90 percent of ACS local sections participated, distributing more than 137,000 copies of Celebrating Chemistry, the hands-on activity publication. The print editions were made available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, with French and Mandarin versions available online.

In 2014, the National Historic Chemical Landmarks (NHCL) program recognized three important figures in the history of chemistry: Thomas Edison and his work in chemistry, I. M. Kolthoff and his contributions to modern analytical chemistry, and Rachel Lloyd, the first American woman to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry. The program reached nearly 300,000 visitors through its website and others through dedication activities, articles in general press and announcements to ACS members around the world.