A “Celebration of Chemistry” is a most appropriate theme for the 100th Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition (CSC 2017) taking place in Toronto May 28-June 1, 2017. This landmark event coincides with Canada’s 150th anniversary and the Canadian Society for Chemistry (CSC) is forecasting a national and international audience of more than 3,000 attendees and 60 exhibitors. 

The University of Toronto’s Department of Chemistry will host CSC 2017. The conference chair is Robert Batey, the technical program chair is Mark Lautens, OC, FCIC, and the sponsorship chair is Doug Stephan, FCIC. The chairs will be supported by the CSC board, including president Rui Resendes of Fielding Environmental Services, as well as Chemical Institute of Canada (CIC) staff. 

The inaugural Canadian Chemical Conference — as it was called until 1992 — was first held in Ottawa in May 1918 and drew 200 graduate chemists and chemical engineers. From this launch point, the conferences grew in delegate numbers and stature. It became a forum to celebrate the many achievements and advancements made in the chemical sciences and engineering over the past century. Canadian universities, governments and industry have overseen spectacular innovations in molecular spectroscopy, chemiluminescence, catalytic RNA, site-based mutagenesis and canola oil. Our nation has also nurtured several Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureates, including Gerhard Herzberg, Henry Taube, John Polanyi, OC, HFCIC, Rudolph Marcus and Michael Smith. 

Other advances in the chemistry sector include the introduction by the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (formerly the Canadian Chemical Producers’ Association)  of Responsible Care in the mid-1980s, a benchmark adopted by more than 60 countries. In 2014 the Canadian chemical industry shipped $53 billion worth of products — $35.5 billion of which were exports — making it the second largest exporter among all Canadian manufacturing industries. The industry employs 80,000 people directly and supports almost 485,000 jobs in Canada. 
The 100th conference is a special opportunity for CSC to reach out to the chemical industry in Canada through its many industrial partners by involving them as speakers in the expanded industrial symposia that will be woven throughout the technical program. It will also present a new Platinum level sponsorship category, offering extensive exposure.

Its technical program of the conference starting May 28 will begin with a plenary lecture by Charles Lieber of Harvard University. The Celebration of Chemistry will conclude following the last technical session with an evening public outreach that will be sponsored, in part, by Science & Engineering Engagement (SEE) at U of T. Organized by Molly Shoichet, U of T professor of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry, this event will feature presentations by Martyn Poliakoff of Nottingham University, Joe Schwarcz of McGill University and U of T professors Barbara Sherwood Lollar, Gilbert Walker and Aaron Wheeler.

The conference is a great opportunity for younger chemists to meet with Canadian industrial, government and academic leaders and researchers and hear and discuss global challenges related to climate change, energy, food, water and health care. The profession will play a leading role in solving these and other societal challenges, making the next decade one of the most exciting times in history to be a chemist. 

The CSC is reaching out to sister organizations to share in the celebration, including the American Chemical Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry in the UK, the German Chemical Society, the Chemical Society of Japan, the Chinese Chemical Society and the Royal Australian Chemical Institute. These groups, as well as many others, are being invited to add to the symposia to celebrate achievements of chemistry not only in Canada but globally. This includes an international symposium on the “Changing Face of Chemistry” identifying new relevant trends and drivers of both academic and industrial change around the world and offering participants a glimpse of possible future scenarios.

Please help share the message across Canada and the international community to submit abstracts and join us in celebrating 100 years of chemistry. Clearly, chemical scientists and engineers from around the world have a great deal to celebrate.