Boston Tchotchke Roundup

img_8208.jpgFiled by Susan Ainsworth

There are many good reasons to take a tour of the exposition hall at any of the ACS national meetings. It’s a great way to learn about cutting-edge technologies, make new contacts, and, with any luck, pick up a few new toys.

As I plowed my way up and down the many colorful aisles in Halls A and B of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center this afternoon, I looked for special giveaway items that would stir envy in the hearts of many.

As I explained my mission to many exhibitors, some lamented that there were few tchotchkes available at this meeting.

But my training as a reporter paid off, and I did uncover some.

These were my top three:

1. The KnowItAll U green t-shirt distributed at the Bio-Rad Laboratories booth to promote its spectroscopy resource for research and teaching.

According to the company, KnowItAll puts the largest single collection of spectra (more than 1.3 million IR, NMR, MS, Raman, UV-Vis, and Near IR) at the fingertips of every student, faculty member, and staff member in an institution—at any computer, campus-wide.

2. An apparatus for cleaning eye glasses generously doled out by Fisher Scientific. (At first I thought this item was a newfangled ear-bud set for my iPod.)

3. The Whomp It! blow-up mallet given out by of Pharma Algorithms, a Toronto-based firm that develops ADME- and toxicity-predictive models and software tools. The packaging describes it as a “new, low-tech wonder” capable of solving any computer problems. “No reboots, just revenge,” it promises.

After procuring this item and deeming it one of my favorites, Associate Editor Rachel Petkewich informed me that the Whomp It! had also appeared on the giveaway A-list that she compiled at the ACS national meeting held last fall in San Francisco. (Perhaps we both see it as a valuable tool for venting our frustrations during the next period of writer’s block.)

I must award an “honorable mention” to Corning for their prized giveaway: a new square 250-mL polycarbonate bottle filled with orange M&M’s candies. Everyone in the exhibit hall seemed to have one, so there were none left for me by the time I found Corning’s booth late on Tuesday afternoon. Nobody seemed willing to part with one, at least not until all the candy was consumed.


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