WASHINGTON—On November 6 the American Chemical Society will celebrate National Chemistry Day. The posters proclaiming that "chemistry is everywhere” are part of the society's campaign to blunt the impact of such environmental disasters as Bhopal and Love Canal and, at the same time, gain crdit for some of the recent advances in medicine and biotechnology. Even as ACS is looking outward, however, it is also trying to harmonize its dual roles as a professional society and as an adviser on scientific issues for the government and public. That tension has shown up in its elections and budget decisions.

The first-ever National Chemistry Day, conceived by ACS Past President George Pimentel, recognizes that chemistry has lost the “better things for better living” luster conveyed the DuPont advertising slogan introduced in the 1930s. It is part of other recent attempts to improve the field’s image, including a task force on public understanding...

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