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2016FallSymposiumURCreativityEngagement has ended
Tuesday, December 6 • 8:00am - 8:20am
New Chemistry: Embracing The Human Element

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In the twentieth century, chemistry’s linear profit-driven model made profound discoveries — and consequently large amounts of toxic waste and byproducts — which greatly contribute to the modern challenges humanity faces. This oversight provoked the adoption of practices and principles such as green chemistry and green engineering as a way to practice high-level chemical experimentation without acting unsustainably. With the growing integration of green chemistry and engineering in industry and academia, Paul Anastas’ talk Green Chemistry Next highlighted the lingering issue of “preventing getting stuck in a metric driven loop”. We began to seek out why this might happen, realizing the necessity to re-ask “What does it mean to be chemists, members of society, and human?"" In response to these questions, we took a humanistic approach and began to address key components needed to help students rise to the challenges in the new era of chemistry. New chemistry is intended as a guide to allow society and chemists to prosper and grow sustainably, by acknowledging the human element and finding ways to cooperate with it rather than control it. New chemistry encourages a shift away from shareholder and consumer desires as the primary driving force behind research, instead impressing ethical guidelines that assist chemists in devising their new role in society as environmental and social stewards. These guidelines help them to ultimately embrace green chemistry and engineering principles, and avoid reverting to the linear thinking which caused these problems in the first place. The introduction of curiosity as a core component of new chemistry allows for continual expansion and intellectual stimulation of the individual, leading to growth in fundamental research and subsequent applied research opportunities, and making innovative breakthroughs inevitable. These components are essential for tackling the increasingly complex problems humanity faces, such as those recently noted by George Whitesides at Harvard: public health, mega-cities, climate instability, and dissipative systems.


Tuesday December 6, 2016 8:00am - 8:20am
014 Zeis Hall