submitted by
Dr. John Sharkey


The author of this annual report and committee chair is indebted to members of the committee, indicated below, who continue to support the chemical heritage of the ACS New York Section.
Dr. John Sharkey, Chair (; 212 346-1344)
Dr. Donald Clarke (; 718 817-4444)
Dr. Anne O’Brien (; 914 631-5241)
Dr. Yorke Rhodes (; 973 875-9799)



The year 2009 was a particularly active year for the Committee on the History of the New York Section, as two nominations for designation as National Historic Chemical Landmarks within the New York Section were considered by the National Landmarks Committee.   I am pleased to report that one of these designations was approved and a second is under consideration by the Committee.
This will be the 7th designation of a national Historic Chemical Landmark within the Section, which places the New York Section as number one out of all the local sections of the Society.  The History Committee has also been working to develop a closer relationship between the New York Section and the Chemical Heritage Foundation, located in Philadelphia.  In this regard, the Chair of the History Committee arranged for Rick Sherman, the Director of Development at CHF, to be our keynote speaker at the Section’s 2009 Annual Conference.
This designation is intended as a public outreach effort in order to remind the public the significant drug development and production that took place at this laboratory in order to benefit humanity.
The development of the Varian A-60, the first broadly applied commercial nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer,  was used by chemists to make a wide variety of discoveries both in fundamental and applied research, including the invention of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).  There are two significant dates in this development:
1961- The introduction of the Varian A-60 at PittCon.
1973- MRI is first demonstrated on small test tube samples by Paul Lauterbur working with a modified A-60 at SUNY Stony Brook
The A-60 was the first commercial NMR instrument intended for the non-specialist chemist unlike earlier instruments that were custom-built for particular applications and incorporated very heavy and expensive components. The A-60 provided major new capabilities for chemists in identifying molecular structures and following the progress of reactions. Moreover, the A-60 enabled the development of applications of special interest to the public such as MRI and prospecting for water, oil, and minerals (a technique which has only come into its own in 1990s, although Varian conducted successful experiments dating back to 1970s).
The National Historic Landmarks Committee, which prepared the nomination for this landmark (and was endorsed by the New York Section), chose to memorialize the development of the first broadly available commercial NMR because it made this technique accessible by the wider chemical community and to highlight the importance of entrepreneurship in the development of science and its application in society. There were however antecedent advances in science and instrumentation that led to the Varian A60.  But the discoveries and study of new atomic phenomena dating back to 1946 and the work of E. M. Purcell, H. C. Torrey, and R. V. Pound at Harvard University and F. Bloch, W. W. Hansen, and M. E. Packard at Stanford University were largely made by physicists. By the early 1950’s chemists such as Herbert Gutowsky at the University of Illinois became seminal contributors,  Key discoveries were then being made ever more simultaneously by still larger groups of scientists, still mostly physicists, and these discoveries are therefore difficult to prioritize (and yet more difficult to explain to the public today).  In terms of instrumentation, Varian itself had in fact already built the HR-30,  -40, -60 and -100, in very limited numbers, but each of these was very expensive and employed very heavy electromagnets—unlikely candidates to revolutionize a whole field of study.
In the case of MRI, we have an application of NMR that the public could readily identify. Chemist Paul Lauterbur actually used a Varian A-60 in proving the concept that NMR could be used to create multi-dimensional images of subjects. There continues to be an argument concerning how much credit should be assigned to Raymond Damadian in the development of MRI.  We have sided with the Nobel Prize Committee which awarded Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2003.  That award focused on imaging rather than on other magnetic resonance phenomena.  (In the early 1970s Mansfield improved the resolution of MRI images and the speed at which they could be gained.)  Damadian did in fact in 1971 show that nuclear magnetic relaxation times of healthy tissues and tumors differ, and, four years after Lauterbur’s seminal contribution, did succeed in making the first whole [human] body scanner. Damadian will of course be mentioned in the landmark brochure.
The nomination for this landmark was prepared by members of the National Historic Chemical Landmarks Committee and was endorsed by the Board of the ACS New York Section.  The designation will take place sometime in 2010 or 2011 at two locations, Varian Inc. Headquarters in Palo Alto, CA and Chemistry department, SUNY Stony Brook.
(The above information was abstracted from the nomination document prepared by members of the National Historic Chemical landmarks Committee)


(Prenomination)    2.    THE SYNTHESIS OF 2-deoxy-2-[18F]fluoro-D-glucose (18FDG)
The Chemistry Department at Brookhaven National Laboratory has resubmitted a pre-nomination to the National Historic Chemical Landmarks Committee.  The pre-nomination has been endorsed by the Board of the ACS New York Section and is currently under consideration by the Landmarks Committee.
18FDG is the standard molecule for PET functional imaging.  Used with 18FDG, PET has become an important research and clinical tool for functional medical imaging.  During 2008, 1.5 million FDG PET scans were performed.  In the late 1950s, emission and transmission tomography for imaging distributions of radionuclides was developed by Kuhl and Edwards at the University of Pennsylvania.  By the early 1970s, [14C]-2-deoxyglucose was shown to be useful for mapping brain glucose metabolism because it is transported into the brain by the glucose transporter and is phosphorylated by hexokinase and the product [14C]2-deoxyglucose-6-phosphate is trapped intracellulary.  However, the short range of _-particles (electrons, produced by the decay of C-14) through tissue required sectioning of organs for autoradiography, precluding studies in living subjects.  A new radionuclide was needed which did not require sacrifice of the animal to be studied, and for the radionuclide to be incorporated into a nontoxic compound which crossed the blood-brain barrier and was metabolized like glucose.  The synthesis and development of the compound 18F 2-deoxy-2-fluoro-D-glucose met these requirements
And permitted the explosion in the use of PET for brain research.
Using 18FDG, PET has assumed roles both as a research tool and a clinical tool.  PET is used for clinical studies by oncologists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, and cardiologists seeking diagnostic information about biochemical changes in tumors and lesions before anatomical changes make such problems evident.  PET, in conjunction with other techniques, such as computed tomography (CT) shows promise in the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer, evaluation of epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and coronary artery disease.
This is a pre-nomination, which is currently being considered by the National Historic Chemical Landmarks Committee.  Should the Committee approve, Brookhaven will be invited to submit a full nomination to the Committee
(The above information was abstracted from the pre-nomination document prepared by staff at the Chemistry Department of the Brookhaven National Laboratory).
In order to foster a closer relationship between the New York Section and the Chemical Heritage Foundation, the Director of Advancement at CHF, Mr. Rick Sherman, was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Section’s 2009 Section Conference.  It was apparent that many of our members did not know much about the mission of the CHF, and the wealth of information and programs that are available at CHF to members of the chemical community.  Mr. Sherman did an excellent job of informing our members of these opportunities.  The Chair of the Section’s History Committee is also a member of the CHF Heritage Council, representing the ACS.  He has encouraged the CHF to continue its outreach to members of the chemical community, especially educators, through its wonderful library, its museum, and its educational resources, such as the magazine Chemical Heritage.
I am pleased to announce that Dr. Anne O’Brien has recently been appointed to the Heritage Council by the Chairperson of the Board of the ACS.
Respectfully submitted,
John B. Sharkey
Chair, Committee on the History of the New York Section
December 3, 2009