Macromolecular Chemistry: The Second Century

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The ACS Spring 2021 Meeting will take place on April 5-16, 2021 and it will be a fully virtual experience. For more information about the virtual meeting, please visit the ACS Meetings & Expositions section.

In 1917, Hermann Staudinger presented his “macromolecular hypothesis” in a lecture on rubber to the Swiss Chemical Society. In 1920, he published “Über Polymerisation”, Ber. Deutsch. Chem. Ges. 1920, 53, 1073. Credited with the term “macromolecules”, he received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1953.

It is difficult to imagine that 100 years ago the concept of long-chain, covalently linked macromolecules was controversial. Today polymer materials are ubiquitous in daily life, from adhesives and fibers to coatings, packaging, and robust plastics. Polymers form the backbone of the US chemical industry and are a vibrant area of research in academe and national labs. At this meeting, we celebrate the preceding century of advances in macromolecular chemistry and take a look at the challenges and opportunities before us.

Symposia Highlights

Below are the symposia currently under development. Please contact us with new ideas or if you want to collaborate with any of the symposia listed.

Symposium Lead (Cosponsors)



Exploring the Origins of RNA, Polypeptides and Polysaccharides


Catalytic Conversion of Polymers: Upcycling to Useful Chemicals, Fuels, and Materials


Historical Perspectives on Cellulose and Other Renewable Materials


Advancing Green and Sustainable Chemistry Education: Small Molecules to Macromolecules


Self-assembly in Polymer Systems


Polysaccharides: The Smart Materials for the New Millennium

COMSCI: Chemistry & the Future of Plastics

Macromolecular Chemistry & Nanomaterials in Daily Life: Applications and Environmental Interactions

Micro- & Nano-Plastics in the Environment: Detection, Characterization, Fate & Impact


History of Polymer Science


Macromolecular Chemistry: The Second Century Opening Session


100 Years of Polymer Structures: Active Materials for Thin Films and Interfaces


Macromolecular Science at the Dawn of its Second Century

Funding Opportunities for Technical Sessions

ACS is pleased to offer funds to support collaborative programming at the national meetings. Technical divisions and programming committees are encouraged to apply.  The symposia must be aligned with the national meeting theme and have at least one cooperative cosponsor. Funding is based on the size and duration of each theme-related, cooperatively cosponsored symposium.

The following are provided as examples for planning:

  • $500 per half-day session
  • $1,000 per full-day symposium
  • $2,000 per multi-day symposium

Funds will be paid to the programming group within 30 days following the meeting or credited to the programming group's national meeting bill. Please contact for more information.

ACS Spring 2021 Macromolecular Chemistry Theme Organizers:

Staff Liason: