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By Trevor McAllister

Trevor McAllister leads the way between some of Melbourne CBD’s great buildings.

If you’re a congress participant from out of town, then welcome to Melbourne! Please forget the tourist slogans ‘Marvellous Melbourne’, coined by a visiting English journalist in the 1880s, and ‘The world’s most liveable city’, a trite assessment by the business travellers of the Economist. Come with me, instead, on a personalised journey through a select part of the city where I have lived for 48 years.

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RACI Centenary Congress: an opportunity to celebrate

By Mark Buntine

Guest editorial

Founded in 1917, the RACI is the oldest scientific or technical professional society in Australia. This month we are hosting one of the most exciting activities as part of the Institute’s celebration of our first 100 years – the RACI Centenary Congress.

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Don’t relax drug approval process, experts warn

By University of Sydney

Comment on FDA regulatory system

Experts are warning that moves to deregulate the US drug approval process could see a flood of unproven and even harmful new drugs enter the market that could threaten human health.

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Would you publish in a ‘Chemsitry’ journal and who is Stefania?

What do you think when you receive an exhortation to publish in ‘an academic, online peer-reviewed journal’ that has the stated objective ‘to publish quality research that undergoes a thorough scrutiny process’? But their thorough scrutiny does not extend to spelling ‘chemistry’ correctly! Not much, I imagine.

RACI’s first 100 years: an inspiring chemical history

To celebrate his 50th year as an RACI member and the Institute’s centenary, Andrew Holmes reflects on some great Australian chemistry over the past century.

A rare and declining craft

‘A bench all down one wall contained a selection of glassware apparently created by a drunken glassblower with hiccups, and inside its byzantine coils coloured liquids seethed and bubbled.’ Terry Pratchett, Eric

Science Meets Parliament 2017: a cost–benefit analysis

If you’re a scientist who works in a publicly funded role, then Science Meets Parliament (SmP) is about your continued survival. Government policy and attitudes towards science matters greatly to your employment and ability to attain grants. It’s thus no surprise that SmP is seemingly swamped with the best and brightest from this sector. For both the employing organisations and the individuals concerned, attendance at SmP has potential long-term benefits. But what about the private sector?

Previous issue

By Ronald Clarke

Sixty years ago, a Danish doctor was the first to isolate an ion-transporting membrane protein. Much has been learned about the crystal structures and amino acid sequences of such proteins since then, and the scope for work in chemical synthesis is increasing.

Many expressions of concern emerged from the scientific community in the wake of Presidential Executive Order 13769, ‘Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Entry into the United States’, signed by President Donald J. Trump on 27 January 2017. Among them was a statement on 3 February issued by the American Chemical Society, discussing the ‘chilling effect this order may potentially have on the freedom of scientific exchange among scientists and students worldwide’.

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Gastrophysics. The new science of eating

Reviewed by Damien Blackwell

Book review

From the get go I must confess Gastrophysics – the new science of eating is chemistry light. In fact, if you discount a mention of androstenone, the Maillard reaction and the relationship between pressure and the number of volatile aromatic molecules in the air, then you may conclude the chemistry content of this fascinating book is rather closer to zero. But what it lacks in chemistry, it more than makes up with gastronomy and psychophysics, or more succinctly put, ‘gastrophysics’.

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Marching for science

By Mattias Björnmalm

Global move to celebrate science

On Earth Day, 22 April, chemists across Australia and the world joined a global movement celebrating science by engaging with other scientists and the general public in meet-ups, marches, public talks and festivities.

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Also in this issue...

New chemical composition of ‘poppers’ linked to retinal damage


The new chemical composition of the legal high ‘poppers’ is linked to retinal damage at the back of the eye, finds a small study published online in the British Journal of Ophthalmology. The findings prompt the researchers to call for a reassessment of the harms associated with these recreational drugs.

Celebrating the RACI years 1917–2017

Helmut Hügel looks back at the RACI’s beginnings and the changes over the past 100 years.

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