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Beaker’s Hawaiian Adventure

In a recent post on the Pacifichem conference taking place this week in Honolulu, I was giving a little history about

Credit: Steve Ritter/C&EN

 King Kamehameha, who was known for uniting all the islands of Hawai’i into one kingdom in the 1800s. Recall that there was a statue of Kamehameha commissioned from Italy, but in transit it was lost at sea. A replacement statue was ordered and it now stands in front of Iolani Palace in Honolulu, which currently houses the state supreme court. The orignial statue was later recovered and brought to Hawai’i. It ended up in a small town on the north coast of the big island of Hawai’i, near where Kamehameha was born.

We posted a photo of the statue in front of Iolani Palace. Now, Newscripts is happy to report that we have a photo of the original statue that stands in front of the town hall in Kapa’au on the big island. The photo features the C&EN mascot, Beaker, who had an amazing Hawaiian vacation a couple of years ago. The photo was dredged out of the Newscripts photo vault and is shown here. Disregard the anonymous hand holding up Beak–he is short, and Kamehameha was very tall. Aloha.

Hi From HI

Credit: Steve Ritter/C&EN

The first day of Pacifichem is in the books. The meeting is big, with more than 12,000 attendees (with their spouses, friends, and family along, the total number of people in town for Pacifichem is considerably more). The meeting includes some 235 symposia, 1,ooo technical sessions, and more than 13,000 oral presentations and posters. After a flurry of technical talks today, the final event was the opening ceremony, which featured chants and dances from native Hawaiians–a couple of photos are shown. Pacifichem has brought together people of many different cultures to a place with a big cultural history.

Credit: Steve Ritter/C&EN

As I mentioned yesterday, even on an island with a limited size, meeting attendees can find a lot to do–besides making a presentation or sitting in on one. There’s getting the sand between your toes on the beach. Snorkeling or diving to check out the fish, corals, and maybe a sea turtle. Surfing and body boarding. Taking a hike to the top of Diamond Head crater. Visiting Pearl Harbor and other landmarks. Continue reading →


Welcome to Hawai’i for the International Chemical Congress of Pacific Basin Societies, better known as Pacifichem. Chemists emerge from the global woodwork every five years for this meeting in Honolulu that is organized by the national chemical societies of countries that line the Pacific Rim.

Diamond Head, as seen from Waikiki. Credit: Steve Ritter/C&EN

You see a lot of chemists from Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Australia, Mexico, and Canada here. Quite a few from the U.S. as well–my flight from Chicago to Honolulu was chock-full of familiar faces of chemists. Even a bunch of chemists from Europe are here for Pacifichem, although it seems like they shouldn’t be allowed in on the technicality that their home country doesn’t have a Pacific coast. But who doesn’t want to leave the cold weather and come to Hawai’i, where it was 85 F (almost 30 C) today–it was below 20 F when I left Newscripts headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Pacifichem is taking place in the Honolulu Convention Center and in several hotels along the famous Waikiki beach. Fact: There are enough hotel rooms at Waikiki for an estimated 100,000 sunburned tourists to lay their heads. The beach itself is not the most beautiful in Hawai’i–you need to go to the north shore of Oahu for that or one of the other islands, such as Kauai. But this two-mile stretch of beach that runs from just east of downtown Honolulu to the foot of the famed Diamond Head extinct volcano has been a prime destination since Kamehameha the Great put up a thatched hut here  in the 1800s. Continue reading →

Pics Of The Week

It’s been a while since we highlighted some of the gorgeous pics from our photo contest. So this Thanksgiving week, we’re offering up our honorable mentions for a visual feast.

In the Natural Polymers & Photonics Laboratory at Drexel University, researchers convert polysaccharides into nanofibers and thin films for use water purification and other applications. In Marjorie S. Austero's experiment, adding excess cross-linker to chitosan yielded the fine-fibered material seen in the colored SEM image.

Continue reading →