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Thursday, June 17, 2010 Meeting
Distinguished Service Award and recognition of 50 and 60-year members

Joe Alper Joe Alper

Parrotfish Consulting

“Confessions of a Science Nerd”

Date:  Thursday, June 17, 2010
Location:    Manzo's Banquets
1571 S. Elmhurst Rd.
Des Plaines, IL 60018

Cost:  $35.00 for members of ACS and their guests, $37.00 for non-members,
     $20 for students, retired, or unemployed

Dinner reservations are required and should be received in the Section Office via phone (847-391-9091), email (, or web by noon on Tuesday, June 15.   PLEASE HONOR YOUR RESERVATIONS.  The Section must pay for all food orders.  No-shows will be billed.  Seating will be available for those who wish to attend only the meeting.


The Younger Chemists Committee will have a table at the meeting If you are a younger chemist, please join and support us.

5:00 - 6:00 PM    Job Club
5:30 - 6:30 PM   Social Hour  (Complementary pizza will be served during social hour)
6:30 PM       Dinner
7:30 PM -Presentation of the 50- and 60-year Awards
          -Presentation of the 2010 Distinguished Service Award to Russ Johnson
          -After-dinner Speaker, Joe Alper

Topic: “Confessions of a Science Nerd”


A love affair with science does not always translate into a career as a scientist, but it can lead to plenty of opportunities to advance the frontiers of science in other ways. Today, a legion of scientifically trained professionals are working behind the scenes to help promote the cause of science in a variety of careers, including that of science writing.

Though most scientists have a negative opinion of science writers, stemming largely from their interactions with those science writers who make a living as journalists, the majority of science writers have little to do with magazines and newspapers, writing for much smaller audiences such as Congressional staff, patient advocacy groups, corporate boards, funding agency bureaucrats, and even the President of the United States. A glamorous job?  Hardly, but one that can be intellectually satisfying for the true science nerd, and one that comes with many lessons that can benefit all scientists.

This presentation will discuss some of those lessons and provide a view through one science writer’s eyes of how being a science nerd can take you to unexpected places in life.


Joe Alper is the principal of Parrotfish Consulting, which he founded in 1998 to offer communication and strategic planning services to companies, foundations, and the Federal government. He has played a major role in several large research initiatives, including the National Institute of Mental Health’s Decade of the Brain and the National Cancer Institute’s Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer and the Physical Sciences in Oncology Initiative, and he works with the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology formulating advice on a wide range of scientific issues for President Obama.

Over the years, he has done his share of journalism, writing the first popular report on the biochemical basis of mental illness for The Atlantic Monthly, and contributing to a wide range of publications, including Science, Nature, Analtyical Chemistry, The Smithsonian, The New York Times, and others. He also served as editor of the ACS’s Chemistry Magazine, hosted the ACS’s Careers Industry Forum, and was in charge of strategic planning and corporate communications for NeXstar Pharmaceuticals, a chemistry-based biotechnology company. He even spent one month as the special assistant to the Deputy Director for Education at the National Science Foundation.

Joe was the first freelance writer to win the ACS’s James T. Grady-James H. Stack Award for Interpreting Chemistry, and was the first writer to win two National Magazine Awards from the American Psychological Association.

After growing up in Morton Grove, Joe received his B.S. in chemistry from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and M.S. degrees in biochemistry and agricultural journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Map and Directions

Parking:   Free parking at restaurant.


Onion Soup
Garden Salad with Choice of Dressing
Entrée Selections:

Dessert is Spumoni Ice Cream
Last updated 5/19/10
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