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February 2017

Celebrating RACI’s rich history

RACI’s centenary

Regular readers of this magazine will be aware that this year, 2017, marks a momentous occasion for the RACI – we celebrate our 100th anniversary. The Australian Chemical Institute, as we were originally known, was founded in 1917. Throughout this year, there will be a number of activities and events across the breadth (both geographically and technically) of the RACI to mark our first century of promoting the chemistry profession in Australia. Some activities will celebrate our history. Others will be looking forward to explore the role of the RACI over the next 100 years. This year, Chemistry in Australia will feature articles to mark our anniversary.

One particular highlight of our centenary year of celebrations is the Centenary Congress to be held in Melbourne on

23–28 July. Much has been written about the Centenary Congress over the past couple of years, and we encourage readers to visit the Congress website (; or via the front page of the RACI’s own website to see up-to-the-minute information regarding speakers as well as the technical and social programs. The Congress has been designed to cater to all RACI members, whether you work in the industrial, education, government or academic contexts. Abstracts to present at the Congress are still being accepted (the closing date is 23 March), so we encourage you to consider making a submission to be part of this exciting event. You may wish to consider requesting an oral presentation, or perhaps a poster session is more to your liking. The Congress is catering for all styles and tastes. The ‘early bird’ registration deadline is 23 April, and all delegates who submit an abstract to present will be informed of the acceptance of their submission(s) prior to this date.

The Centenary Congress will be, by far, the largest meeting ever organised by the RACI. The Congress is expected to have over 3000 delegates participating across the six days. The Congress involves the concurrent involvement of nine partner conferences that span a broad range of the chemical sciences. Delegates are free to participate in all aspects of the Congress program. That is, unhindered delegate exchange and participation across the conferences is strongly encouraged. Congress plenary speakers include captains of industry and two Nobel laureates. A significant trade and exhibition program is being organised, and numerous social activities are on offer.

The RACI Centenary is more than the Congress in July. A highlight satellite event organised by the Victorian Branch is the Centenary Ball in Melbourne on Saturday 22 July at the Plaza Ballroom on Collins Street. We encourage Congress delegates to consider coming to Melbourne a day early to attend the ball. This will be a great opportunity to dress up and celebrate in style.

Another key centenary activity is the production of a 1917–2017 RACI Centenary Book. This initiative is being led by RACI stalwart Helmut Hügel and will see the production of a publication that celebrates the RACI’s past, present and future. We are grateful for the tremendous effort that Helmut and his team have devoted to this task and look forward to the book’s launch later this year.

Finally, we remind readers that 2017 involves a year-long series of celebrations marking the RACI’s centenary milestone. Keep an eye on each month’s issue of Chemistry in Australia where key events and activities will be showcased. Also, the RACI website contains a great deal of information regarding centenary celebrations across the country.

This year will see us celebrate our rich history and reflect upon the role of the RACI over the next 100 years – a period many refer to as the Asian Century. Based upon our heritage of excellence, it is exciting to consider how the Australian chemistry profession can contribute on the global stage over the coming century.

Professor Peter Junk FRACI CChem, RACI President, and Professor Mark Buntine FRACI CChem, Centenary Congress Chair

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