The sheer size of these things is what amazes me

The sheer size of these things is what amazes me. I’m talking about the Analyticas, Pittcons, CPhIs and Achemas of this world. I’ve just come back from Analytica, for example, and this year they exceeded 1000 exhibitors and 31,000 visitors. About two months ago Pittcon - the smallest of the lot - attracted 16,000 attendees and 6300 exhibitors. CPhI 2011 saw 29,000 attendees go through its doors with around 2200 exhibitors on the show floor and Achema - the largest by far - attracted 4000 exhibitors and 180,000 participants to its 2009 show!

But it seems like 2012 is going to be a bad year in terms of attendance because all four events coincide - Pittcon and CPhI are yearly, Analytica is biannual and Achema only happens every three years. It’s mind-blowing, especially when it comes to Achema. Imagine the logistics and the infrastructure you need to have in place to support an event like that.

Many a product is launched during these trade shows, the media are running around trying to cover everything and I wonder: ‘How much business is really done? How many deals are closed?’ A lot of the activity will be all about building brand awareness, but the teams attending must have ambitious targets for sales. It’s difficult to estimate from this side of the divide but the effort and expense must be worth it as exhibitors are still buying floor space, attendees continue to cross the threshold and organisers keep pocketing the money!

This year, the Chemistry World team, after exhibiting for the first time at Analytica, is preparing for Achema in Frankfurt, Germany, in June and then CPhI in Madrid, Spain, in October, so look out for us there.

Supporting young chemists

There are two other initiatives we are involved in that I would like to highlight as they illustrate some of the ways in which we support young chemists. The first one is the launch of the Chemistry World Science Communication Competition. A lot of the fine detail still needs to be put to bed but I can confirm that: 1. The competition is going to be launched at the end of May and there will also be an event at our headquarters in London, UK, in October where finalists can showcase their entries, winners will be announced and entrants can network with each other and the judges; 2. It’s going to be an international competition; 3. There will be different formats for entries and we will be inviting video, audio and written submissions, with the winners being featured in Chemistry World. More to come soon!

The second is the Marriott Bequest Trust internship. Every year we offer a student member the opportunity to join us for eight weeks during the summer for a science writing internship with both Chemistry World and Education in Chemistry. The application period is now open until 25 May, so if you are eligible or know of somebody who is and may be interested in this opportunity please let them know and tell them to get in touch. And the best news is that this position is supported by a bursary of £1750. Past interns Josh Howgego (2011) and Akshat Rathi (2010) will be heading for The Times Higher and The Economist for some work experience this summer so it really is a once in a lifetime opportunity.