Section Election

We are now in the process of holding our annual election. As in the last couple of years, we are having an electronic election. It seems to be working very well and has increased participation in our election.

You will be receiving an email from Vote-Now with instructions on how to vote electronically. If you would prefer a traditional paper ballot, please call Nancy Paradiso in the Section Office at 310 327-1216 and she will mail you one. Please note that the deadline to receive completed ballots is December 2nd.

At the end of the ballot will be a member survey. We appreciate your thoughts and hope you will fill out the survey.

As with any election, your vote counts!

Brian Brady, Chair
Nominations and Elections Committee

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2016-11-18: Speaker Series for Forensic Science Student Association at CSULA

Speaker Series
Presented by CSULA The Forensic Science Student Association
November 18, 2016
from 1:00 – 3:00
Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center HDFC 238

(Forensic Building by Public Safety Office)

Featured Speakers:

=> Dr. Eric Person, Assistant Professor of Forensic and Analytical Chemistry at California State University, Fresno

=> Dr. Mitchell Eisen, Director of Forensic Psychology Graduate Program, California State University, Los Angeles

=> Dr. Jay Vargas, Assistant Professor, School of Criminalistics and Criminal Justice, California State University, Los Angeles

Starbucks coffee and snacks will be provided.

For a copy of the flyer please click here: speaker-series-ii

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2016-10-29: In Memoriam – John D. (Jack) Roberts

john_d_jack_robertsIt is with great sadness that we learn that John D. (Jack) Roberts has passed away at the age of 98 on October 29th. Prof. Roberts was the Institute Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, at Caltech and former provost.

Roberts was a pioneer in the field of physical organic chemistry. He brought nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to organic chemistry, allowing chemists to determine the structures of complex biological molecules. He also used radioactive tracers to study the thermal rearrangements of small-ring hydrocarbons to better understand how the reactions work on a mechanistic level.

Roberts earned many awards for his scientific achievements, including the American Chemical Society’s top prize, the Priestley Medal, in 1987, and the National Medal of Science in 1990. He was honored by our local section with the Richard C. Tolman Award (1974). In 1998, Chemical & Engineering News named him as one of the 75 most influential chemists in the last 75 years. When he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1956 at the age of 38, he was the youngest member elected at that time. Prof. Roberts was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2008 and, in 2009, Fellow of the American Chemical Society. He was a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Academy of Sciences.

In addition to the Priestley Medal and the National Medal of Science, Roberts was the recipient of the Glenn T. Seaborg Medal (1991), the Chemical Pioneer Award of the American Institute of Chemists and the Arthur C. Cope Award of the American Chemical Society (both in 1994), the NAS Award in Chemical Sciences (1999), the NAS Award for Chemistry in Service to Society (2009), and the American Institute of Chemists Gold Medal (2013), among many other honors.

One of his key discoveries was of a transitional compound in organic reactions involving the carbon-containing ring called benzene. Roberts discovered in 1953 that benzene can be converted to a short-lived unstable compound named benzyne, in which two of the carbons in the six-membered ring are connected to each other by a triple bond.

“When he first proposed benzyne, nobody believed it. This is certainly one of his landmark discoveries,” says Harry Gray, Caltech’s Arnold O. Beckman Professor of Chemistry and founding director of the Beckman Institute. “Benzene goes to benzyne with a rearrangement of chemical bonds, and the chemical bonds that Jack Roberts proposed were really off the charts at the time.”

Back in the 1950s, long before magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines became a staple of orthopedic clinics, Roberts’s work with NMR revolutionized organic chemistry, enabling chemists to characterize the structure of organic molecules and to study rapidly equilibrating conformations, or shapes, of molecules in solution.

Roberts got his first exposure to the power of NMR spectroscopy on a 1954 consulting trip to the Du Pont chemical company, a firm with which he maintained a lifelong relationship. At Caltech, chemistry division chair Linus Pauling bought an NMR machine for Roberts for the study of organic compounds—the first such machine ever to be sold to a university. Through the years, Roberts helped develop more complex methods for NMR spectroscopy and ultimately was able to use the technique to obtain structural information for large biological molecules, such as steroids and enzymes.

A native of Los Angeles, Roberts was born on June 8, 1918. He graduated from Los Angeles High in 1936 along with his future wife, Edith. The two married in 1942. Roberts received both his bachelor of arts (1941) and his doctorate (1944) degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Following positions at UCLA, Harvard, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he came to Caltech in 1952 and became a professor of organic chemistry in 1953. In 1972, he was appointed Institute Professor of Chemistry and, in 1988, Institute Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, and lecturer.

Roberts brought the first female graduate student, Dorothy Semenow, to Caltech when he moved from MIT in 1952. “He was very proud of opening a pathway for women students at Caltech,” says Jacqueline Barton, Chair in the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.

He published more than 540 papers and authored or coauthored 12 textbooks, including ABCs of FT-NMR and Basic Principles of Organic Chemistry. In 1990, he published his autobiography, The Right Place at the Right Time.

Prof. Roberts is survived by his four children—Anne, Donald, John, and Allen—as well as nine grandchildren and one great grandchild.

“For mankind there can be no rest. We must go on until we have conquered all the mysteries of space and time. I hope to meet you there.” – Jack Roberts (1918 – 2016)

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SCALACS on Facebook and Twitter!

Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook and Twitter!

SCALACS has joined the Social Media world with an account on Facebook: www.facebook.com/scalacs
And on Twitter: @SCALACS1.

We look forward to seeing you there!

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Welcome to the Southern California Section!

This is the website of the Southern California Section of the American Chemical Society. Throughout the year, we have lots of activities posted on this website (see the side bar for upcoming events!) and also printed in our monthly magazine, SCALACS. Please browse our website and see the kinds of events we have for chemists from all walks of life – from academia to industrial chemists.

We have events each month throughout the academic year where you can hobnob with other chemists (dinner meetings, interesting speakers, tours, and pizza nights are some of the fare!). Students can attend the dinner meetings for half the published price with valid ID. If you would like to hear the speaker at a dinner meeting without attending the dinner, just let Nancy Paradiso in the Section Office (310 327-1216 or office-at-scalacs-dot-org) know so we can reserve you a seat.

We also have great outreach programs such as National Chemistry Week, Chemists Celebrate Earth Day and the High School Olympiad to share chemistry with upcoming students. We’re always looking for volunteers to help with these important programs.

Members are also invited to attend our Executive Committee Meetings. This is a great way to see our Section governance in action! The Executive Committee Meetings are held the first Wednesday of each month (excluding December, June, July and August) at 7:30 p.m. The meetings are held at the Mount St. Mary’s Doheny campus. Please call Nancy at the Section Office for directions and to let her know that you are attending.

We hope to see you soon at an upcoming meeting or volunteering at an outreach event!

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