Chair’s message, April 2016

Chances are high that you, the reader of this article, are located somewhere between San Francisco and San Jose. According to ACS membership records, ~90% of the Santa Clara Valley section’s 3,000 members live or work in that region. However, that geography is dwarfed by the area south of San Jose that is also included in our local section – Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito Counties. ACS records indicate ~5% of the section’s members live or work in zip codes bounded by Santa Cruz, Salinas, and Monterey. A graphic of these boundaries can be seen on this ACS map.

The focus of my column this month is this region of the “5%”.

Why bring attention to an area that represents such a small fraction of our membership?

The ACS is not just about membership.   It’s about providing a forum for contact between scientists and it’s about outreach to non-scientists. Major sectors of the Monterey Bay area economy are based on the technical areas of marine and agricultural and environmental science. Chemistry is central to these sectors, yet the ACS has had little presence in the area.   This month we hope to change that.

Our local ACS section is planning an inaugural dinner seminar meeting centrally located to Monterey Bay, supported by a grant from ACS National and a donation from a local business, NanoAndMore in Watsonville.  An organizing team of representatives from the Monterey Bay region’s colleges has met to choose a date, venue, topic and speaker:

Date: Thursday evening, April 14, 5:30PM- 9:00PM

Location: Sesnon House, Cabrillo College, Aptos

Topic: “Batteries and Beer : The Chemistry of Energy Storage and the Aroma Chemistry of Beer”

Speaker: Professor John Goeltz, Cal State University Monterey Bay

Who will attend? Judging by the enthusiastic response so far, we can expect students, teachers, and researchers from Monterey Peninsula College, Cabrillo College, Gavilan College, Hartnell College, Cal State Monterey Bay, UC Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) and Moss Landing Marine Labs (MLML). Several local chemistry-related businesses are also interested in participating.  All are welcome.

If successful, additional career, social, and educational events will follow, possibly leading to a regular series of gatherings of chemists from around the Monterey Bay on college campuses, in business settings, and at MBARI and MLML.

If you are reading this article in the Monterey Bay area, then join us at the inaugural event on April 14th.   A registration page is on the Santa Clara Valley ACS website, or contact me directly at

The event is open to all – members and non-members – and even to those in the 90% who live north of Santa Cruz!

A colorful downloadable flyer of the event to decorate your bulletin boards: MontereyBayACS_Poster2

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