The first ACS Committee dealing with nomenclature was the Committee on Nomenclature and Notation. It was formed in 1886 only ten years after the founding of the Society. In 1911, the name was changed to the Committee on Nomenclature, Spelling, and Pronunciation. Further transition led to the current name – the Committee on Nomenclature, Terminology, and Symbols (NTS). The NTS later formed a relationship with Chemical Abstracts: a connection which is retained today with a Committee member, Consultant, and Staff Liaison from the Chemical Abstracts Service.
The responsibilities of NTS include: acting on behalf of the ACS Council in matters relating to the usage of nomenclature, terminology, symbols, and units; coordinating activities within the ACS; consulting/advising editors of ACS publications; initiating, reviewing, and recommending adoptions of documents/proposals, as appropriate; liaise with other national and international organizations, committees, and commissions similarly involved; and providing a means for ACS members to participate in the consideration of these matters.
Some members serve or are in liaison with committees of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). This organization is the world authority on chemical nomenclature, standardized methods for measurement, atomic weights, etc. and it functions as an association of non-governmental National Adhering Organizations (NAO). It represents chemists of different member countries and was founded in 1919 during an era of international harmony after World War I. A need for agreement on organic nomenclature was the impetus for international meetings on nomenclature in Geneva (1892) and as early as 1860, led by August Kekule. The official NAO body representing the U.S. in IUPAC is the National Research Council
An NTS member was responsible for writing and final editing of the 1600 page Nomenclature of Organic Chemistry, IUPAC Recommendations and Preferred Names 2013, the new edition of the IUPAC Blue Book (a twenty year project). Projects are underway in other areas, including polymers, nanomaterials, flavonoids, enzymes, carbohydrates, and small molecules of biological interest.
The NTS has interest and representatives reporting on developments in SI (International System of Units) and metrology in chemistry and biology as well as the procedure for naming new elements.
Thus, it can be seen that the NTS deals with items of interest not only for specialists but also for the greater chemistry community. Meetings are held on Monday afternoons at National ACS Meetings. Please feel free to attend the open session or volunteer.
Retiree, Manager, Syngenta Analytical Resources Group
Councilor, Central North Carolina Section
Wayne C. Wolsey, Ph.D., wolsey@ Macalester.edu
Professor Emeritus, Macalester College
Councilor, MN ACS Section, ACS Fellow