Rebekah Paul works in the Industry Member Program office at the American Chemical Society. Rebekah joined staff after nearly 7 years working as a chemist for a large coatings company. Having come from a career in industry herself, she is passionate about helping ACS equip industrial members with the resources they need to succeed. Rebekah holds a BS in Chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.
By: Rebekah Paul, Program Manager, The American Chemical Society
The world needs scientists now more than ever before. Solutions to the world’s toughest challenges, from climate change to global health issues, are deeply rooted in science. Recognizing the need for science in these issues is an important first step -- but what do solutions actually look like? How do we connect science to products that make a difference in the world?
During an ACS Webinar on October 15th, executives from three major companies in the chemical industry shared how their scientists address global problems. Peter Eckes, President, BASF Bioscience Research said it best, “these are real challenges and these challenges you can only solve through chemistry.”
Chemistry is the key to connecting us to a better future. Currently, chemists and chemical engineers are working to develop a vaccine for the global COVID-19 pandemic, but the capabilities of chemists extend far beyond just medicines and pharmaceuticals. Chemists develop materials necessary for high speed connectivity and E-mobility. They create technologies for ensuring safe water and food for our growing global population, and for reducing waste in manufacturing and the construction industry. They develop materials to keep frontline workers safe, and so much more. Chemistry is behind what Alexa Dembek, Chief Technology & Sustainability Officer of DuPont referred to as the “essential innovations that help the world thrive.”
While chemistry may be the backbone of solving problems, an interdisciplinary approach is required to propel solutions forward. The chemical industry provides a place for this type of collaboration. In industry, passionate scientists are empowered to work together on solving tough challenges. John Banovetz, Senior VP, Innovation & Stewardship and CTO of 3M describes working in industry as, “much more collaborative and it’s very much a team-based approach to being successful.”
For a brighter future and for a more sustainable world, scientists need to innovate together. Scientists are uniquely equipped to make a difference in the world. As scientists, and specifically as chemists and chemical engineers, ACS members should be proud to a part of this community. So the question is… how will you make a difference?