Chair Notes – April 2023

Dear esteemed members,

Did you know that the first Earth Day started 53 years ago? This momentous day was organized by Wisconsin Senator, Gaylord Nelson, to bring attention to the pollution and environmental damage caused by industrialization. Earth Day quickly grew to become a nationwide event and inspired the modern environmental movement. Today, millions of people from around the world celebrate Earth Day by holding events and activities focused on raising awareness about climate change, sustainability, and other pressing environmental issues. To celebrate this year’s Earth Week, the Local Section will participate in the Creek to Bay Cleanup, organized by I Love a Clean San Diego. Join us on the morning of April 22 and connect with other Local Section members while doing something good for the planet. Click here to register for our event.

Thank you to Don Lewis for delivering a fascinating seminar on the backstory of last year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry. I enjoyed learning some juicy tidbits that only someone with intimate knowledge of Barry Sharpless and his collaborators would know. I would never have guessed that vitamin C tablets from Trader Joe’s were the key ingredient to modify the oxidation state of the catalyst, which made the click reaction possible. Despite the intermittent rain that day, we had a great turnout, and there was a lively Q&A session at the end of the presentation. Many thanks to Ryan Smith and Julann Miller for their behind-the-scenes work, which made this meeting possible.

Did you make it out to Super STEM Saturday last month? Almost 12,000 attendees descended on CSU San Marcos for a day of family fun and science. Seven ACS Student Affiliate Chapters, including multiple STEM-themed student organizations, provided a small army of volunteers to run booths and exhibits. One of our Local Section’s most well-known members, Robyn Araiza, was instrumental in organizing and coordinating the volunteers. The activity table ran by the Southwestern College Student Affiliate Chapter, “Freaky Foam Faces,” was among the most popular and served around 2000 kids.

Additionally, I would like to recognize the ACS winners of this year’s Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair.

· Junior Division 1st Place – Ethan Leem; “Most Effective Natural Anti-Bacterial


· Junior Division 2nd Place (Team) – Adam Jaimovich, Zakari Sayed from The

Rhoades School; “Efficacy of Various Spice Extracts in Combating Potential

Stimulant Hazards”

· Junior Division 3rd Place – Yusra Qarar from Bright Horizon Academy; “Will

Soaking Food in Water Before Cooking Remove Starch from It?”

· Senior Division 1st Place – Andrew Tsui from Canyon Crest Academy; “Novel

High-Throughput Screening and Identification of FDA-Approved Drugs for

Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment”

· Senior Division 2nd Place – Rishika Kulkarni from the Francis Parker School;

“Novel PSS-Driven Ligand Exchange on the Surface of Gold Nanocubes”

· Senior Division 3rd Place – Anirudh Kalyanaraman from Mt. Carmel High

School; “Cobinamide – A Novel Antioxidant to Protect Against Polyaromatic

Hydrocarbon-Induced Cardiac Cytotoxicity”

Lastly, on behalf of our Section, I would like to congratulate Prof. Jefferey Kelly from Scripps Research Institute for being this year’s Wolf Prize in Chemistry recipient for his work in protein-folding mechanics. Dr. Kelly’s work is credited with helping to develop therapies for certain severe neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases. Keep an eye out for Dr. Kelly, as the Wolf Prize is often a good predictor of a future Nobel Prize.

I wish you and your loved ones a prosperous and environmentally aware month of April.

With gratitude,

Juan Gonzalez