Writing a superior chemistry thesis is becoming more profitable all the time: The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) is now offering US$1000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Australia to up to four outstanding chemistry graduates. Any young chemist who completed their Ph.D. in 1999 is eligible to submit a 1000-word essay describing their work to IUPAC by 1 April 2000.

The new award, explains Fabienne Meyers of IUPAC, "fits within the perspective of IUPAC being an international organization," with the aim being "global recognition of what is done by young chemists." While the entry must be in English, "if they are not fluent," she explains, "[entrants] can ask for help from their [IUPAC] national representative."

In addition to picking up the prize, winners will have the travel expenses-paid opportunity to present their work at the biennial IUPAC Congress -- the next one will be held in Brisbane, Australia in July 2001. IUPAC intends to make the competition an annual event and will award up to 4 prizes each year.

"[The work of] IUPAC is not well known," according to Meyers, even among chemists. Familiarity is mostly "limited to nomenclature and symbols," but now the Union is attempting to regenerate itself and increase its activities in the education field. The competition, says Meyers, "is a way [for IUPAC] to present themselves to young chemists," to broaden their view of the organisation. And vice-versa.