Meetings and Events

The 2021 High School Olympiad

2021 High School Chemistry Olympiad Virtual Awards Presentation
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
7:00 pm—9:00 pm

This year, we had 332 students representing 29 high schools take the local Olympiad exam online through the National ACS Learning Center on Saturday, March 27, 2021. Arcadia and South Pasadena High Schools tied for first place overall while North Hollywood High School finished first for first year students. Sixteen students representing ten schools were invited to participate in Part I of the National Exam on April 17th online. The top 200 students nationally from the Part I test were then invited to participate in Part II of the National Exam on April 24, 2021. These students, as well as the top performers and teachers from each school with 10 or more participants, will be honored at our annual Educational Awards Presentation.

To make a reservation to attend the virtual presentation, please sign up at:

You will receive a confirmation email with the zoom meeting link.

Congratulations to the students listed below who qualified for Part I. The students who qualified for Part II are annotated with an asterisk. The Southern California Section had 9 students qualify for Part II out of 200 students nationally. The top scorers from the National Exam will go to a virtual study camp to be held online in June.

*Alex Dang Arcadia High School
*Gordon He Guo Arcadia High School
*Phillip Jeong Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies (LACES)
*Konnie Duan Harvard-Westlake High School
*Xiyu Wang South Pasadena High School
Sarah Cao Palos Verdes Peninsula High School
Sunjae Kim West Torrance High School
Akash Anand Palos Verdes Peninsula High School
*Theodore Dupont North Hollywood High School
*Randall Scharpf West Torrance High School
*Lydia Qin North Hollywood High School
Ethan Poladian Redondo Union High School
Srinivasan Arumugham San Marino High School
*Jacqueline Mancera South Pasadena High School
Andrew Choe Harvard-Westlake High School
William Wang Polytechnic School

The top 200 students nationally will take Part II of the Olympiad on April 24, 2021. There is no lab portion this year because the testing is online. Qualifying students for the Study Camp will be notified by May 3rd.


2021 CCEW Illustrated Poem Contest
Theme: Reducing Our Footprint with Chemistry

Eligibility: K-12th grade students sponsored by a local school or community group (for verification purposes).

Deadline: April 25th, 2021 at 8:59 PM Pacific Time

Rules & Submission:

Local Section: Southern California

Prizes: Best in each grade category (K-2nd, 3rd-5th, 6th-8th, 9th-12th) will be awarded Professor Molenium! Winners at the local section level are qualified for the national contest (national awards are $300 for first place and $150 for second place).

Poems must be:
original work without aid or clipart
less than 40 words and easy to read
in one of the following styles: Haiku, Limerick, Ode, ABC poem, Free verse, End rhyme, and Blank verse

Judging Criteria:
Incorporation of theme
word choice and imagery
adherence to poem style
creativity and use of color
overall presentation

If illustrated poem is digital, include name of program on the entry form.

Illustrated poems become the property of ACS. Acceptance constitutes consent to use winners’ names, likenesses and entries for editorial, advertising and publicity purposes.


Virtual Presentation honoring our
50/60/70 Year Members

Featuring a Talk by
Dr. Laurie Barge, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

“Searching for Signs of Life and its Origin on
Other Planets”

Wednesday, May 12, 2021
7:00 – 9:00 pm

To make a reservation to attend the virtual presentation, please sign up at:

You will receive a confirmation email with the zoom meeting link.

Abstract: Is there life elsewhere in the solar system, and if so how can we find it? Astrobiologists work to define what life is and to figure out how to recognize it on another world, and to understand the processes that could get life started in the first place. This effort involves not only exploring other planets with spacecraft, but also understanding Earth’s history and how life has evolved on our planet to yield an amazing diversity and resilience. Meanwhile, it is important to study abiotic chemical processes in the lab, since prebiotic chemistry can become more complex when devoid of biological influence, and may be a current or formerly active process on other worlds such as Enceladus, Ceres, or Mars. In this talk I will discuss how astrobiologists approach the search for life on other planets, and describe some of the difficulties in distinguishing living and non-living systems. I will also share some of my lab’s work on simulating energy and prebiotic chemistry in deep sea hydrothermal vents, and how we prepare for characterizing such systems if they were to be encountered on other worlds.

Biography: Dr. Laurie Barge is a Research Scientist in Astrobiology at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She co-leads the JPL Origins and Habitability Laboratory which studies how life can emerge and be detected in planetary environments, and she is the Investigation Scientist for the HiRISE instrument on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) mission. Dr. Barge is interested in how complex organic chemistry and life can emerge on planets. She is also interested in hydrothermal vents as planetary analogs, and is the science lead for an underwater laser divebot that will be deployed to a seafloor vent in the Pacific in 2021.

Dr. Barge received her Bachelor’s degree in Astronomy and Astrophysics from Villanova University, and her Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from the University of Southern California. After graduate school she was a Caltech postdoc and then a NASA Astrobiology Institute postdoctoral fellow. For her astrobiology research Barge has received the JPL Lew Allen Award, the NASA Early Career Public Achievement Medal, and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

Prior to Dr. Barge’s talk, we will honor our 50, 60 and 70 year members. We would like to congratulate our senior members on their tenure and thank them for their long-term support of the American Chemical Society:

50 Year Members

Bruce S. Brunschwig
Robert H. Frisbee
Christine E. Geosling
David G. Kaplan
Richard W. Kidd
James J. Margitan
Mostafa A. H. Talukder

60 Year Members

Kyle D. Baves
Karl O. Christe
Thomas W. Giants
Margaret Holzer
Bruce E. Kaplan
T. Joseph Lin
Sofia Pappatheodorou
Leo Roos
Stuart Salot
Kenneth L. Servis

70 Year Members

Phillip G. Abend
Barbara T. Coleberd
Lloyd E. Gardner

We want to remind our older members that we have a spot on our website for reminiscences by our Senior Members. If you have an anecdote, story or remembrance of your career as a chemist that you would like to share, please send it to Nancy Paradiso in the Section Office at


Announcing the
2020 Richard C. Tolman Award Recipient:
Professor Pingyun Feng
University of California, Riverside

June 16, 2021
6:30 pm virtual Social Time
7:00 pm Presentation of Award and Address

Tolman Address:
“All about Crystalline Porous Materials”

The Award: The Richard C. Tolman Medal is awarded each year by the Southern California Section of the American Chemical Society in recognition of outstanding contributions to chemistry in Southern California. The Tolman Medal recognizes broad accomplishments in chemistry rather than a single fundamental discovery. These contributions may be of several kinds, including seminal research of widely regarded influence, achievements of broad impact in chemical technology, significant contributions to chemical education, and outstanding leadership in science on a national level. To be eligible for the Medal, the recipient must have accomplished a major portion of his or her work while a resident of Southern California.

Abstract: Crystalline porous materials such as zeolites play pivotal roles in diverse applications. Using the basic chemistry principle of charge matching, chalcogenide-based crystalline porous materials with semiconductivity and diverse functionality have been synthesized. Through self-assembly, the single-sized chalcogenide tetrahedral clusters acting as building blocks form well-ordered three-dimensional superlattices in the presence of either organic or inorganic species as structure directing agents. The single crystal structural analysis reveals detailed information that could serve as the basis for the elucidation of larger colloidal nanostructures. The diversity of superlattices is achieved by modifying the cluster size, the cluster composition, and the inter-cluster linkage mode. The atom-precise nanoclusters prepared in this research include those that are currently the largest known single-sized semiconducting tetrahedral clusters. Such clusters serve to bridge the size gap between colloidal nanoclusters and small molecular clusters. Metal-organic framework materials (MOFs) are another family of fascinating crystalline porous materials because of their highly tunable compositions, structures, and properties. In this presentation, strategies for the synthesis of new porous MOFs will be discussed, with the focus on the use of different metal ions and their various heterometallic combinations. In addition, the talk will cover our recent strategies developed to optimize the MOF composition and pore architecture for enhanced gas storage and separation through pore space partitioning and engineering. The pore space of MOF can be engineered by using extra-framework ligands or nested cage-in-cage configurations. Furthermore, a broadly applicable synthetic paradigm based on the pore space partition by using complementary coordination properties of multitopic ligands and metalloligands have been developed. This discovery led to a large family of highly stable and tunable porous materials with exceptional performance properties for gas sorption applications including record-setting storage capacity for gas molecules such as acetylene.

Registration: To make a reservation to attend the virtual presentation and address, please sign up at:

You will receive a confirmation email with the zoom meeting link.


Congratulations to the 2020 Recipient of the
Richard C. Tolman Medal
Professor Pingyun Feng
University of California, Riverside

“For outstanding achievements, and exceptional creativity, in the synthesis and design of solid-state materials across multiple length scales and compositions of matter”;
Joshua Figueroa, Tolman Chair

Pingyun Feng received her PhD in 1998 from the Department of Chemistry, University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). After two years of postdoctoral study at the Department of Chemical Engineering, UCSB, she joined the University of California at Riverside in 2000. Feng’s research focuses on the synthesis, characterization and application of various types of functional solid-state materials. These materials range from porous metal-organic framework materials to high-surface area semiconductors based on metal chalcogenides. Her group has published about 240 peer-reviewed, high-impact scientific papers. Her accomplishments have been recognized by the Beckman Young Investigator Award, NSF CAREER Award, Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow award. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Most recently she was recognized by the ACS 2017 F. Albert Cotton Award in Synthetic Inorganic Chemistry.