People: Lehigh Professor Is Named Chemical Society's President-Elect

Ned D. Heindel, a chemistry professor at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., was voted president-elect of the American Chemical Society (ACS) by the society's membership through a mail ballot. He will serve as president-elect for one year before taking over the full presidency for two years, beginning in January 1994. Heindel, whose field of study is medicinal and pharmaceutical chemistry, says he wants to make the 144,000-member, 116-year-old organization more member-friendly. The focus of th

Jan 11, 1993
Ron Kaufman

Ned D. Heindel, a chemistry professor at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., was voted president-elect of the American Chemical Society (ACS) by the society's membership through a mail ballot. He will serve as president-elect for one year before taking over the full presidency for two years, beginning in January 1994.

Heindel, whose field of study is medicinal and pharmaceutical chemistry, says he wants to make the 144,000-member, 116-year-old organization more member-friendly. The focus of the society, according to Heindel, should be jobs.

"The interest of chemists today, young and old, is jobs. It's what got [President-elect Bill] Clinton elected--jobs, jobs, jobs," Heindel says. "In the sciences there appears to be less emphasis on `R' and more emphasis on `D' in the R&D equation. The shifting needs for scientists are a major concern for young folk coming out of the pipeline as well as for mid-career people changing jobs.

"I think one of the ways to address all this is by putting the focus of our efforts into those areas of the molecular sciences where the research and development is, such as in the life sciences and material sciences."

He says his first action will be to get ACS more involved with organizations of scientists who work on the periphery of chemistry, such as professional associations in clinical science, neurobiology, and materials science.

"I've long felt that ACS is a superumbrella organization that embraces many disciplines," he says. "There are now other emerging areas in which chemists are involved, but ACS has very little identity as an organization."

To start down this path, Heindel would like ACS to work in conjunction with other societies to cosponsor technical meetings and, possibly, to share in the creation of an intersociety employment match-up service for scientists.

Besides making practical changes to benefit ACS members, Heindel says, he would like to engage in some public relations work to stress the importance of chemistry in modern society. "Though right now I'm not sure how, I would like to make the opinion- creating public more aware of how important chemistry is in their lives," he says.

"I'm convinced that the science writers, the investment bankers, the congressional staffers, and other opinion makers throughout society don't realize how much of the creature comforts they enjoy are due to chemistry," he adds.

"They don't realize that the pill that they pop to control their high blood pressure, the freeze-dried food that they take on camping trips, and the very fabric that warms their backs aren't the creation of some amorphous manufacturing enclave, but of chemical entrepreneurship and inventorship over the last century."

In addition to his post at Lehigh, Heindel is on the faculty of Hahnemann University in Philadelphia. He received his bachelor's degree from Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pa., in 1959 and his master's degree (1961) and Ph.D. (1963) in chemistry from the University of Delaware.

--Ron Kaufman