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First ARS Researcher To Lead American Chemical Society Tells Peers About Government Labs / April 2, 2001 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

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First ARS Researcher To Lead American Chemical Society Tells Peers About Government Labs

By Kathryn Barry Stelljes
April 2, 2001

Can a chemist find happiness in a government lab? Can a government scientist run the world's largest scientific organization? Attila Pavlath, an emeritus chemist with the Agricultural Research Service, said “yes” to both questions as he discussed employment opportunities with the federal government at a symposium today at the American Chemical Society's (ACS) 221st annual meeting.

ARS researchers from laboratories nationwide are presenting 45 scientific papers at the meeting, held April 1-5 in San Diego, Calif.

While U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists have served as ACS presidents as far back as Harvey W. Wiley in 1893, Pavlath is the first to be elected since ARS was formed in 1953 as USDA’s chief scientific research organization. The ACS was organized in 1876 and Congressionally chartered in 1937. Today it has 165,000 members.

Pavlath began his ARS career in 1967 at the Western Regional Research Center in Albany, Calif. He was one of the early pioneers of fluorine chemistry. Other accomplishments include shrink- and soil-proofing of wool, use of glow discharge in chemistry, novel coatings to protect cut produce and development of nonfood and energy uses for agricultural products. He is an internationally recognized expert in these areas with numerous awards, 120 scientific papers, three books, 25 patents and more than 300 lectures worldwide.

In his talk, Pavlath cited cooperative research and development with industry--and subsequent practical application of the work--as a key benefit of working in a federal laboratory. His most recent cooperative research agreement--on the extension of the shelf life of lightly processed fruits--has led to a commercial product of fresh-cut apples that is just hitting the supermarkets.

Pavlath still collaborates with the ARS laboratory in Albany while presiding over the American Chemical Society.

Scientific contact: Attila Pavlath, ARS Western Regional Research Center, Process Chemistry and Engineering Research Unit, Albany, Calif., phone (510) 559-5620, fax (510) 559-5818, apavlath@pw.usda.gov. At the ACS meeting, phone (619) 696-9800.

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Last Modified: 1/3/2002
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