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Chemicals are still known by multiple names today, but in old times, it was much more variable. Chemicals were entitled based on different criteria and could be derived too many synonyms according to regions. It could not be easy to figure out whether Acetone and Dimethyl Ketone are the same substance without technical analysis. Although CAS (Chemical Abstracts Service) appears to be the institution that provides a universally accepted, permanent, and reliable solution to this problem, it has a much more dramatic story.

In the 1800s, German scientists had an undeniable superiority in the scientific world. Of the first 30 Nobel Prizes in chemistry, 10 were given to German scientists. Although Modern Germany was founded in 1871, it hosts the oldest universities in Europe and longstanding scientific studies played a big role in this success.

Arthur Noyes
A distinguished scientist named Arthur Noyes, who studied in many disciplines including chemistry at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), was uncomfortable with this situation. He felt that American chemists were not being recognized adequately for their accomplishments and German chemists seemed to be getting all the attention. Noyes decided to compile and publish summaries of research of U.S. chemists.

To this end, in 1895, he began to publish the Review of American Chemical Research, at MIT.

About 20 years ago, when group of American chemists gathered to mark the 100th anniversary of Priestley's discovery of oxygen, consider founding a new society that would focus more directly on theoretical and applied chemistry assembled to the growth of chemistry in the U.S. This organization, called ACS (American Chemical Society), became a leading source of scientific information through its peer-reviewed scientific journals, national conferences.

In 1897 Review of American Chemical Research became a part of another publication The Journal of The American Chemical Society. William A. Noyes, a cousin of Arthur Noyes was editor of The Journal of The American Chemical Society. Over the years, William argued strongly that ACS should publish a more comprehensive abstracting journal in the chemical field.

CA (Chemical Abstracts) Journal
In 1907, ACS authorized the publication of CA (Chemical Abstracts) with W.Noyes as the first editor. The journal was published first in the American Standards Institute, and soon after it began to spread in universities. Two years later, at the invitation of Ohio State University, the journal's office was moved to the university campus in Ohio.

CA (Chemical Abstracts ) Staff

In 1928, the staff of CAS consisted of a team of four people in a single classroom. By 1960, it was necessary to add a fourth floor to the CAS building to continue to house the staff which had grown to 300.

As this growth was beginning to strain the university’s resources, In 1962, ACS purchased 50 acres upon which CAS office now reside. Three years later, the journal, now an organization called CAS (Chemical Abstracts Service), moved into its new building which is still used as its headquarters today.

CAS Building

The becoming of CA magazine into an organization called CAS is only when it develops economically. Funded by ACS members since its inception, the journal becomes self-sufficient in 1956 with the products it developed and the database services it provided worldwide. It turns into an institution under ACS and takes the name CAS. It begins to transfer some of its income to ACS and use the rest for scientific research. The services provided by CAS are the primary source of income of the ACS today.

CAS Registry System
Thanks to its many innovations and services, CAS becomes an international authority in the chemical field. The most important of these services is the CAS Registry System, which it launched in 1965.

The computer-based system assigns each chemical a unique number based on its molecular structure. This number called a CAS Registry Number is a unique and unambiguous identifier for a specific substance that allows clear communication and links together all available data and research about that substance. Thanks to this identifying number, substances that have multiple names, can be distinguished wherever they are in the world. Today, when pickled lemon is requested, if you are not sure what material is, you can check the CAS number to understand that citric acid is requested.

Since its inception, CAS has been working to help scientists reach the chemical literacy they need, accurately and quickly. The headquarters of CAS is still in Ohio, USA, and has offices in more than 45 countries around the world. CAS Staff monitors thousands of scientific publications, articles, technical reports, conferences, books, etc. and approximately 1.5 million technical documents are selected for indexing, every year.

Besides its practical utility, the CAS Registry System is also useful for monitoring the growth in chemical research. In its first year of publication as a journal, CAS contained approximately 12,000 chemical abstracts. 40 years after the establishment of the CAS Registry System in 1965, the number of registered abstracts has reached 25 million. Over the next 4 years, it doubled to over 50 million. Today, this number is more than 250 million.

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