SA Chemical Institute to host centenary celebration | Infrastructure news

It’s been 100 years since chemical activities in South Africa were formally coordinated. From the introduction of chemicals which supported the mining industry in 1912 right through to the development of renewable energy technologies today; South Africa’s chemical industry has been at the cutting edge of innovation and new technologies emerging from the African continent.

To mark the momentous occasion, the South African Chemical Institute is hosting the June 29th Symposium for Centenary Celebration for the South African Chemical Institute. The full-day event will take place on Friday, 29 June from 10h00 to 18h00 at the SciBono Discovery Centre in Newtown, Johannesburg. The symposium will include the awarding of the ‘2011 SACI Gold Medal Award’, a number of cutting edge science presentations whilst also recognising Life Long members of SACI in the greater Gauteng area.

Members of SACI, South African chemical companies that support chemistry, members of the public, and all SACI corporate members have been invited. The day’s symposium will end off on a high note of celebration with a gala dinner to be held at the Wits Club. “The event will provide chemists and those interested in chemistry a glimpse of what South African chemists view as future directions in this area of science in the next few decades,” says Professor James Darkwa, SACI president, “and of course the dinner will provide colleagues the opportunity to reflect on the past and on the future directions of chemistry in SA.” Another highlight will be the renewal of a memorandum of understanding between SACI and the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).

The presidents of both organisations, Professor James Darkwa of SACI and Professor David Phillips of RSC, will preside over the signing ceremony. Professor Darkwa believes SACI’s association with the RSC will strengthen new and historical ties internationally with chemists in the UK and Europe. The RSC is the largest organisation in Europe for advancing the chemical sciences and a number of its alumni include Nobel Prize winners. “We are proud to sign this second MOU with the RSC as it’s an affirmation that the links are important to both parties and paves the way for further collaboration in the future,” says Darkwa.

The guest speakers will take a futuristic look at South Africa’s chemical industry and what is to come in the years ahead. The presentations are open to the public and include the following topics:
– Prof. David Philips (President RSC): The role of chemistry in a green economy
– Prof. Viness Pillay (Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of the Witwatersrand): Nanochemistry and medicine
– Dr Neil Jarvis (Senior Manager, National Atomic Energy Commission of South Africa): The role of radiochemistry and pre-clinical imaging in drug discovery
– Dr Yonas Chebude (Federation of African Societies of Chemistry representative): The state of chemistry on the African continent and the role FASC and PACN plays, and FASC and PACN activities on the African continent
– Dr Anton Vosloo (SASOL): The future of energy in South Africa and the world and the role that chemistry can play

A booklet written by Professor Ivan Green, the immediate past President of SACI, The last 25 years of SACI will be launched. “The symposium has been arranged to reveal the breadth of chemistry as practiced in South Africa with a focus on future directions for the chemistry community,” says Neil Coville, SACI Executive Treasurer. “The talks will be geared to a general audience and members of the public are invited to attend this free event.”

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