FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | February 08, 2013

Iowa State, Ames Lab chemist elected 2014 president of world’s largest scientific society

WASHINGTON — Thomas J. Barton, Ph.D., a distinguished professor emeritus of chemistry at Iowa State University and former director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory, has been elected 2014 president of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society. He will serve as president-elect in 2013, president in 2014, immediate past-president in 2015 and as a member of the ACS Board of Directors from 2013 to 2015.

A passionate spokesman for chemistry, Barton, who retired from Iowa State in May 2012 and currently is an associate of the Ames Laboratory, will devote his time in office to “coordinating the effort of 163,000 bright, well-educated ACS members and their collective wisdom to take us into the future.” Barton plans to focus on three areas in particular and has the following observations about each:

  1. Education. Despite decades of warnings that our K-12 students are not performing well in science, the decline continues. It is essential that ACS be a major partner in a committed effort to reverse this trend.
  2. Public appreciation of chemistry. Educating nonscientists about the fundamental importance of chemistry is essential. Ours is an enabling science, and the world depends upon our success far more than is commonly recognized.
  3. Employment and globalization. ACS absolutely must continue to be a world leader for chemistry. Entrepreneurship in technological enterprises and a focus on innovation is our best hope of reducing the continuing loss of chemistry jobs to foreign lands.

Barton was a research scientist and chemistry professor at Iowa State University for 45 years before retiring in May 2012. He was awarded the title of distinguished professor in 1984. He directed the Ames Laboratory from 1988 to 2007 and directed Iowa State’s Institute for Physical Research and Technology from 1998 to 2007. He was also interim director of the Iowa Energy Center in 2009.

Barton earned a B.S. in chemistry from Lamar University in 1962 and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Florida in 1967, the same year he completed a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellowship at Ohio State University.

He resides in Ames, Iowa (except for winters in Merida, Yucatan; Bangkok, Thailand; and now Granada, Nicaragua) with his wife, Betty

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Thomas J. Barton
Thomas J. Barton