Celebrating 100 years of Australian chemistry

The Royal Australia Chemical Institute (RACI) celebrates its 100th birthday this year and hosts the 2017 RACI Centenary Congress at MCEC from 23-28 July.

Founded in 1917, the RACI is Australia’s oldest scientific or technical professional society, and exists to act as the largest qualifying body in Australia for professional chemists. With a membership of 4,500, RACI also works actively to provide promotion of the science and practice of chemistry.

To mark its 100th year in existence, the RACI Centenary Congress was drawn together  as an opportunity to reflect the contributions chemistry has made to Australia’s (and the world’s) social, economic and intellectual advancement over the past century. The congress is also celebrating Australian chemistry’s place in the Asia Pacific region and the world. After all, it was an Australian chemist, Howard Florey, that discovered the application for penicillin.

The 2017 RACI Centenary Congress theme is ‘chemistry addressing sustainable development and other challenges of the 2020s’ and aims to tackle a broad subject matter whilst honouring  traditional chemistry themes. Each day, thousands of delegates will be able to choose any of the nine concurrent conferences where Congress plenary speakers include several Nobel laureates, and many other outstanding chemists that may well be future laureates.  

Emeritus Professor David Wood, Club Melbourne Ambassador, former RACI President and Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne, is excitedly anticipating the forthcoming Congress and believes it to be to be a homecoming of sorts for the RACI, as it was founded in Melbourne 100 years ago.

“Other conference centres in Australia were keen to get hold of this significant congress, but I argued that it had to be in Melbourne.” Professor Wood said.

Professor Wood was instrumental in securing the Congress for Melbourne, which is an important achievement as it will not only highlight Melbourne’s capacity to host large and successful conferences, but it will also promote Australia’s great strength in chemistry to a world-wide audience, which is expected to be significant.

“We also persuaded the Federation of Asian Chemical Societies to hold their major meeting as part of our Congress which should result in a large amount of delegates from our Asian neighbours. We set the goal of getting about 4,000 delegates and we are well over 3,000 already, nearly two months out” Professor Wood said.

Professor Wood believes that regardless of their area of practice, everyone involved in chemistry in Australia should attend – even science teachers, students and industry retirees are encouraged to register to any of the congress conferences occurring over the five days.

“We have some extraordinary plenary speakers who encompass the forward-thinking approach of chemistry into the future and I really look forward to their talks, regardless of their sub division of chemistry.

“As far as I am concerned, this congress is all about looking outside of one’s own speciality to discover the broader areas of chemistry and of course chemical engineering,” Professor Wood said.

You can still register online for any of the 2017 RACI Centenary Congress activities running between 23 – 28th July at MCEC here.