Dear members of the SCS,
With pleasure we look back on a very interesting and active year. The Swiss Chemical Society not only continued and developed its well-established activities but again pushed new initiatives to face today’s challenges. We also implemented new programs to incorporate community members whose interest were not covered so far. We successfully organized more than twenty on-site symposia and congresses respectively and were able to generate an important contribution to the exchange between academia and industry.
Unfortunately, the growing global instability that last year brought us has not improved, quite on the contrary. It is not the specific mandate of the SCS to solve political problems, but we can still all find a common ground over religious, political or historical disagreements through Science and Chemistry. While a better understanding of the transformation of matter will probably not solve most of the current problems the world is facing, it will certainly help bringing people together and form strong and beneficial communities. And this is precisely the main goal of the SCS. I encourage all of you to read (again) on the Society website its vision and mission statements, which have been reformulated a few months ago.
Another major event that last year brough was the public-wide availability of generative AI tools, such as ChatGPT. Its use for trivial and time-consuming tasks is certainly a great help. But for us scientists, there is also a great danger. We should all keep in mind that the algorithms feed themselves on published data. Data that has been so far generated by humans, with a (hopefully) critical evaluation of their validity. If AI tools are now blindly used to produce data and publications, which is a growing trend, we will gradually create a recursive picture of reality that will drift away from reality. Science is the observation and understanding of the world as it is, and reporting on it cannot allow lax treatment of facts and ambiguous formulations.
In addition to the well-established activities that are part of the SCS portfolio for years and are mentioned later in this annual report, we focused on the following, new or specific initiatives in 2023:
- revise the SCS vision and mission statement to
- establish the SCS Mentoring Program to support the personal and professional development of students and postdocs with focus on career development.
- provide event organization services for third parties.
- further develop the IT infrastructure.
- extend the SCS Partnership program to 24 companies.
- prepare the merger of the Division of Polymers, Colloids & Interfaces with the MatChem Network to form the Division of Materials Chemistry as of January 2024.
The Swiss Chemical Society is a not-for-profit organization. Its programs are financed through sponsoring contributions, publishing, revenues from activities, and the membership-fees. We would like to thank all our members, sponsors and partners who supported us financially and logistically in 2023.
Please enjoy reading through the 2023 annual report that shows again a very active and lively society.
We are looking forward to seeing all of you very soon and I wish you a very successful 2024.
Prof. Christian Bochet David Spichiger,
President Executive Director
David Spichiger, SCS