Thursday, April 25, 2013
What's in a name? (Part 2)
Whither ACS or American Chemical Society? I am as guilty as the next person in using TLA's. We are all taken by the apparent quickness in its brevity. Knowledge of a given TLA also conveys membership in the club. However, what do we lose in using such a nickname? We forget that "American" implies the history of our society as having emerged from the U.S.A. or the American continent. The history of science as being useful (or practical) has roots in the beginning of American academic institutions which added this component to the Old World's canonical objective of advancing science for its own sake. As the world has come to adopt the extended notion that science can be both practical and beautiful, the "American" has also come to embrace our international position in science. Using ACS, we also neglect to say the word "Chemical" which means we lose focus on the molecular sciences that unites us in the first place. Equally importantly, we lose "Society" and the power of our professional network. Indeed, the on-line ACS Network—Are you in?—is one way that the ACS is evolving to provide added-value to our members by strengthening our professional network online in a focused way that neither FaceBook nor LinkedIn can provide.
I'm proud of these two brands, Rigoberto and the American Chemical Society. Both symbolize my ownership of my identity as an American and as an International citizen. Both recognize my roots, one in my native country, and one in my discipline. Both speak to the fact that I am a member of a collective. And most importantly, I do not want to hide these things behind a nickname that obscures these facts. So to you, my friend, I ask that you call me Rigoberto and a member of the American Chemical Society.