May 2008 – Madeline Jacobs



Ms. Jacobs discussed the origins, purposes and activities of the ACS ; the 2008 ACS Strategic Plan ; and the society’s international engagements, including past ACS activities with the S&T diplomacy community. She also discussed possibilities for S&T Attaché/ACS Cooperation, including : the ACS Green Chemistry Institute ; the globalization-themed 238th ACS National Meeting & Exposition in 2009 ; opportunities in the US for international students in chemistry, engineering, and related sciences ; and study abroad/service learning opportunities for US chemistry students.


Madeleine Jacobs is Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society, with more than 160,000 members worldwide. ACS publishes 36 scientific journals through its Publications Division and numerous scientific literature and patent databases through Chemical Abstracts services. ACS also runs the Petroleum Research Fund, which distributes $25 million a year in peer-reviewed research grants, making it one of the largest philanthropies devoted to chemical research.

Jacobs received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry at George Washington University (with honors and distinction) in 1968. She completed course work for a Master’s Degree in organic chemistry at the University of Maryland in 1969. Jacobs received an honorary Doctor of Science from George Washington University in 2003.

Prior to becoming Executive Director and CEO in January 2004, Jacobs served for eight and a half years as Editor-in-Chief of Chemical & Engineering News magazine, the weekly newsmagazine of the chemical world published by ACS, and two years as Managing Editor. She has held other senior management positions in a wide variety of scientific and educational organizations including the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Smithsonian Institution, where she served as the director of Public Affairs at the world’s largest museum complex.

Among her numerous awards and named lectureships are the Smithsonian Institution Secretary’s Gold Medal (1993), the New York Academy of Sciences Women History Month Award (2001), the 75th Canadian Society for Chemistry Conference Lecturer (2002), the ACS Award for Encouraging Women into Careers in the Chemical Sciences (2003), and the American Crystallographic Association Public Service Award (2004). A much-honored science journalist, she has also received more than three dozen awards for outstanding science writing from national organizations. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Chemical Society.

Jacobs’ professional interests include trends in the chemistry enterprise worldwide, the public image of chemistry, employment trends, minority representation, and gender equality of scientists. She has given speeches on these topics for more than 30 years and is a sought-after speaker.


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