The Section was established in 1952.
The Section has been sponsoring the annual Southern Chemist Award since the start of the Section.
In 1983, the Ole Miss Subsection broke off from the Memphis section to become its own independent local section. After this section split off from the Memphis local section, the membership number stood at 272.
Since at least 1985, the Memphis section has sponsored a joint Southeast/Southwest Regional Meeting. This meeting is held in Memphis in years ending in “5” and it is held in New Orleans in years ending in “0.”
Sponsorship of the High School Chemistry Olympiad started in 1986.
The Memphis local section bylaws were last amended in 1987.
Formal judging for science fairs for primary and secondary schools started in 1988. Also in 1988 outstanding High School teachers and students were recognized with awards from the Memphis section. These activities have been continued ever since.
The local section sponsored satellite courses in 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1994.
Approximately 17% of the members attended a lecture in 1988 and 1989. That percentage increased slightly in 1990 to 18%, but fell in 1991 and 1992 to 13%. By 1994, the attendance numbers had declined and the percentage had reached 10% while our membership numbers had steadily increased.
In 1992, the Memphis section aggressively reached out to area High School Chemistry teachers by offering them free dinner at local meetings. This practice is still currently available, but outreach has not been recently pursued.
Volunteers in Public Outreach (or VIPs) members were given awards starting in 1993. The VIP program is for any member distributing pamphlets and information to promote chemistry.
A Public Outreach chair was appointed in 1994 that helped to greatly expand the scope and reach of our section’s activities. Media outreach was initiated and more effort was made to contact non-members about meetings. Programs for industrial chemists and non-Ph-D chemists were also performed during the year, in addition to all other established section programs.
While the newsletter has always been a staple of communications for our local section, in 1994, the newsletter took on a new look and a new name. The current newsletter was named “Isotopic” after a contest was held for members to submit names.
An annual informal get-together was started with the Annual BBQ in 1995.
Fifty-year membership recognition was also started in 1995.
Two years after the National Chemistry Week coordinator position was established in 1993, the Memphis section won a Phoenix Award from National ACS for the “Best Activity with a High School During National Chemistry Week.” Also in 1995, the Memphis section won first place in Region II in the membership contest for the small/medium size section category.
Kids in Chemistry training was started in 1996 and a Kids and Chemistry coordinator was set up the following year. In 1996 the Memphis section received a Media Award and a Local Section Award in addition to the Phoenix Award from the National ACS.
In 1997, advertisements were started in the newsletter for Project SEED, a membership survey was completed, and meetings were advertised jointly with the Memphis Chemical Association.
The Memphis section recently expanded in August 1998 to include eight counties in the surrounding area. These counties are: Mississippi and Crittendon counties in Arkansas and Shelby, Tipton, Fayette, Hardeman, Haywood and Lauderdale counties in Tennessee. With these new additions comes an increase in our official size from the Medium-Small category to the Medium category.
The Memphis Section tied for the ACS Award for Outstanding Performance by Local Sections in 1998 even though we are now considered a Medium size section.
Also, in 1998, the Memphis section added a web page to their repertoire. This page was worked on through most of the year by Lyndon Marble, then current Chair, and received help in the form of a site base donated by A&L labs, along with a web-master from A&L also: Julie Shietinger. It was unveiled officially on December 8 at the Awards Banquet.
In 1999 the section revised its mission statement, performed various activities with local school-age students for the “The World of Color” national initiative and held its June gathering at Cordova Wine Cellars as opposed to having a picnic. The national “Global Salute to Polymers” was celebrated locally with six companies being honored. For the first time a booth was set up at the “Kids Count Expo” at the Agricenter where chemical demonstrations were performed and chemistry was on display. Governmental Affairs were looked into for the first time as a section by contributions to an August letter writing campaign for NSF funding.
The public outreach and National Chemistry Week activities were unprecedented in 1999. Twenty libraries and other locations held chemical demonstrations during NCW with coverage in nearly every media. Media events during the year included TV radio, newspaper or magazine for every active month of the section. The section won an award from National ACS for media outreach and for these National Chemistry Week activities.