Members Perspectives

GDCh and ACS panel discussion about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

On 28 October 2020, the Presidents of the German and the American Chemical Society, Peter R. Schreiner and Luis Echegoyen, welcomed more than 200 participants to an online panel discussion on “The Chemical Societies’ Approach Towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals”.

Keynote speeches by Mary Kirchhoff (ACS Executive Vice President, Scientific Advancement) and Regina Palkovits (RWTH Aachen University, Chair of the GDCh Sustainable Chemistry Division) highlighted the goals most relevant to chemistry, as well as some concrete projects from sustainable chemistry, for example on the circular economy and the defossilisation of the energy supply. One of the questions discussed was how the scientific societies can contribute to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The audience was invited to participate in the discussion via chat. The entire event was recorded and can be viewed here.

In addition to the talks, both societies extended their existing cooperation agreement for another five years.

Karin J. Schmitz
GDCh, Head of Public Relations Department

Hans-Georg Weinig
GDCh, Director Education, Career and Science

News from the Hungarian Chemical Society

Many programs, events and conferences announced by the Hungarian Chemical Society (HCS) last year had to be postponed or organised in an alternative way as a result of the COVID-19 situation. The laboratory practice round of the 52nd János Irinyi National Secondary School Chemistry Competition had to be cancelled, and the winners of the national finals are determined based on the written, theoretical and computational rounds. At the initiative of the Chemistry-teachers Division of the HCS, a summer camp entitled “Magical Chemistry” was the only event, which was held in-person from 3-7 August 2020 for 8-10 grade students interested in Chemistry. The camp, which included a thematic city quiz, attractive scientific presentations, experiments and short projects to be solved in teams, as well as career guidance, was hosted by the Károly Eszterházy University of Eger with a limited number of participants. As one student reported: “In addition to a lot of fun, it was great to meet people with similar interests. We learned a lot about teamwork and from each other, both scientifically and practically.”

The HCS is very proud of its recognised and promoted members in 2020. The title of the Chemistry Europe Fellow was awarded to Ferenc Joó, Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Professor Emeritus of University of Debrecen. The Chemistry Europe Fellows Program was established in 2015 to recognise chemists for their outstanding support as authors, advisors, guest editors, or referees, as well as services to their national chemical societies. The Fellowship is the highest award given by Chemistry Europe.  New Fellows are announced every two years in the run-up to the biennial EuChemS  Chemistry Congress, but this year, due to the pandemic, it was handed over by societies in each member state. At the ceremony, the award was presented by Livia Sarkadi, President of the HCS, and László Csernoch, Deputy Rector of Science of the University of Debrecen, who recalled the beginning of Ferenc Joó’s career and praised his school-creating teaching, research and educational organisation activities. We are also proud of the success of Péter Szalay, Chair of the EuChemS Division of Computational and Theoretical Chemistry, who was elected to the EuChemS Executive Board from January 2021 as a representative of this EuChemS Professional Networks.

Eva Frank
Correspondent of the Hungarian Chemical Society (HCS)

Bridging Christmas Traditions

In the unfortunate circumstance of the COVID-19 pandemic, new and diverse methods to communicate arise. Traditional events needed to find new ways of organisation using online platforms. This situation offers some advantages, since the necessary time for traveling long distances, is reduced to one mouse click. In this context, the Romanian and the Norwegian representatives of each respective Food Chemistry Division decided to connect through Christmas traditions. Therefore, starting from a traditional event called “Chimie de Craciun” organised at the Romanian Chemical Society every year in December, a new partnership was created exploiting the online prospects.

In this way, the first English edition of “Christmas Chemistry” was organised on 3 December 2020, uniting food specialists and public from both countries. The event kept its previous Christmas food chemistry-related topics, but for this edition the Romanian traditions were mirrored by the Norwegian ones, in a continuous symphony of traditional Christmas food and drinks. Therefore, after learning about the chemistry of “Sarmale” (meat cabbage rolls), the participants found out some of the “Rakfisk” secrets (a fermented fish specialty). The presentation continued with the unveiling of the “Cozonac” (Sweet bread) mysteries and fascinating details about traditional drinks like Aquavit and Romanian wines. The final talk was dedicated to a fish specialty called “Lutefisk”.

Even though the online event removed the opportunity for direct contact between the audience and the presenters, the event was very well received by more than 100 participants making the social distancing disappear for almost 2 hours.

A capture image during the talk regarding “Cozonac” of Mrs Nastasia Belc together with all the other speakers, starting from top left: Trygve Eklund, Cristina Todasca, Halvor Heuch and Robert Tincu.

At the end of the event, in a non-formal framework, questions were asked by participants from both countries, proving a real interest in knowing and understanding the traditions and food culture of the two countries. The experience gained after organising this Romanian-Norwegian edition motivates us to explore further partnerships in the next editions.





Cristina Todaşcă
Member of the Food Chemistry Division of Romanian Chemical Society and Secretary of the EuChemS Division of Food Chemistry

 Hans Jacob Skarpeid
Member of the Food Chemistry Division Norwegian Chemical Society