Most people consider that new year starts on January 1st, while some prefer September. However, the scientific cellulose community thinks differently. For us, it’s the American Chemical Society’s annual spring meeting that marks a before and an after. The Cellulose and Renewable Materials Division of the American Chemical Society (ACS) brings together the entire scientific community of this field every year to discuss the latest advances and the future of our investigation. This spring, the theme of the 2019 ACS Meeting was ‘Chemistry for New Frontiers’. For cellulose and renewable materials, this means a growing interest toward new and surprising applications for cellulose-based materials. We are stretching our boundaries: beyond textiles and packaging, cellulose is gaining ground in such applications as optical materials and electronic devices, to name a few.
The ACS meeting offers a wonderful opportunity to put the work of FinnCERES in a global context and check where we stand in comparison to the current international tendencies. It is a delight to see that the content and quality of our work and project portfolio is very fresh and advanced, arousing great interest among our peer investigators. I’m proud to say that our work can be considered state-of-the-art, even in this international setting.
One of the highlights of the ACS meeting is the Anselme Payen Award symposium and banquet. This year, the Anselm Payen symposium was very special to the members of FinnCERES: the award was granted to our PI Orlando Rojas, for his outstanding contributions to the science and chemical technology of cellulose. The banquet in his honour reflected the fact that Orlando is truly a core member of this society, connected to everyone, and able to create new connections among the experts. Many of us at FinnCERES had the privilege to give a talk in this symposium. To see that this award was granted to our leader is also a great indication of the level of our scientific expertise.
While ACS provides an excellent forum to discuss the recent findings and possible future cooperation in the investigation of cellulose and advanced materials, there is more to it. What I would really like to highlight is the unique possibility of the whole community to meet and enjoy the spirit within this great cellulose family. These experts share a passion that erases the line between work and personal life, and this passion becomes a lifestyle for us. This is truly a scientific community at its best.