2007: Celebrating 15 Years of
Wendy Warr & Associates

Since January 1992, Wendy Warr & Associates has been supplying business and competitive intelligence services to a broad spectrum of clients in North and South America, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, and Asia. For fifteen years, pharmaceutical companies, venture capitalists, publishers, software companies, and scientific database producers have benefited from our expert counsel and services. To celebrate our anniversary year we will be mounting some memorable items from the last 15 years on this page, but we couldn't resist starting with an even older item.

Twenty Years After

Organising Committee for the 1987 Noordwijkerhout conference "Chemical Structures, the International Language of Chemistry". From left to right: Bill Town, Charles Citroen, Peter Nichols, Reiner Luckenbach, David Johnson, Wendy Warr

From left to right, at the Spring 2007 ACS National Meeting in Chicago: Bill Town, David Johnson, Wendy Warr

Events of 1992

 Bill Clinton is elected President of the United States. John Major re-elected British Prime Minister. Betty Boothroyd is elected the first woman to be Speaker of the British House of Commons. Pierre Bérégovoy becomes Prime Minister of France and Yitzhak Rabin, Prime Minister of Israel.
 A "Joint Understanding" agreement on arms reduction is signed by U.S. President George H. W. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin.
 The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia begins to break up. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is proclaimed (later Serbia and Montenegro). Bosnia votes for independence from Yugoslavia. Bosnian war and siege of Sarajevo begin.
 Maastricht Treaty on European Union signed.
 An "Earth Summit" is held in Rio de Janeiro Brazil to address global environmental problems.
 On Black Wednesday the Pound Sterling is forced out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism by currency speculators and is forced to devalue against the Deutschmark.
 Deng Xiaoping accelerates market reforms to establish a socialist market economy in the People's Republic of China.
 Akihito becomes the first Emperor of Japan to stand on Chinese soil.
 The Church of England votes to allow women to become priests.
 The Supreme Court of Ireland rules that a 14-year-old rape victim may travel to England to have an abortion.
 In Ayodhya, India, Hindus belonging to the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party demolish the Babri Masjid, a 16th century mosque.
 Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom describes this year as an annus horribilis, due to various scandals damaging the image of the Royal Family, as well as the Windsor Castle fire.
 Fuel that has leaked into a sewer explodes in Guadalajara, Mexico; 215 are killed, 1500 injured.
 Hurricane Andrew, the second-most-destructive hurricane in U.S. history, causes $20 billion worth of damage. Hurricane Iniki devastates the State of Hawai'i, especially the islands of Kaua'i and Oahu.
 In eastern Turkey, an earthquake registering 6.8 on the Richter scale kills over 500.
 An El Al Boeing 747-200F crashes into two apartment buildings in Amsterdam, killing 43, including 38 on the ground.
 A suicide car-bomb kills 29 and injures 242 at the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
 A jury acquits four police officers accused in the videotaped beating of black motorist Rodney King, causing the 1992 Los Angeles riots and leading to 53 deaths and $1 billion in damage.
 Microsoft introduces Windows 3.1.
 Rudolph "Rudy" Arthur Marcus receives the 1992 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his theory of electron transfer. Nobel Prize in Medicine awarded to Edmond H. Fischer and Edwin G. Krebs for discovering how phosphorylation of proteins is used to regulate biological processes.
 Mike Tyson goes on trial charged with raping a 1991 Miss Black America Contest contestant.
 The Folies Bergère music hall in Paris, France closes.
 The 1992 Summer Olympics are held in Barcelona, Spain. Retired tennis player Arthur Ashe announces to the world that he has AIDS, acquired from blood transfusions during one of his two heart surgeries. British FA Premier League (soccer) is formed.


Grace Hopper, American computer scientist.
Menachem Begin, Prime Minister of Israel, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Isaac Asimov, Russian-born author.
Olivier Messiaen, French composer.
Marlene Dietrich, German actress.
Barbara McClintock, American geneticist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Willy Brandt, Chancellor of Germany, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Nathan Milstein, Ukrainian-born violinist.

Chemical Information and Computational Chemistry in 1992

(The term "cheminformatics" was not in common use in 1992.)

The Journal of Chemical Information and Computer Sciences published many papers on graph theory, topological indexes, spectral simulation, structure generators and structure elucidation. A whole issue was devoted to the Beilstein Bolzano Workshop on similarity in organic chemistry. Combinatorial chemistry was about to take off: Bunin and Ellman's first small molecule library (of benzodiazepines) was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society in 1992.

Tetrahedron Computer Methodology, a revolutionary electronic journal, using MDL's "Chemist's Personal Software Series" (CPSS) was first issued on floppy disks in 1988. The last issue (with some particularly interesting articles) appeared in 1992, although it was dated 1990, to meet the calendar requirements of a more old-fashioned publishing culture.

Warr publications in 1992 include:

  • Warr, W.A. After the Fat Man Jumped: The Saga of Robert Maxwell. ONLINE 1992, 16(6) , 62-67.
  • Suhr, C.; Warr, W.A. Chemical Information Management; VCH: Weinheim, 1992.
  • Directory of Chemical Structure Software; Downs, G.; Warr, W.A.; Willett, P., Eds; Cherwell Scientific Publishing: Oxford, 1992.
  • Warr, W.A.; Wilkins, M.P. Front-End Software for Chemical Structure Searching: a State-of-the-art Review. ONLINE 1992, 16(1) , 48-55.

MDL published its file formats in the Journal of Chemical Information and Computer Sciences in 1992, effectively ending the Standard Molecular Data (SMD) file movement, although the Chemical Structure Association was still supporting SMD into 1993.

Tim Berners-Lee posted the first lines of HTML in 1991 and the first sites appeared on the World Wide Web in 1992.

ACS National Meetings were held in San Francisco in April and in Washington in August. The technical programme of the ACS Division of Computers in Chemistry (COMP) in Spring featured only 48 papers, nearly half of them posters. CINF had 39, with fewer posters. (COMP fielded 318 papers in Spring 2007.) Ernest R. Davidson won the ACS Award for Computers in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research. Jacques-Émile Dubois won the Herman Skolnik Award of the Chemical Information Division of ACS (CINF). Joseph Clark was Chairman of CINF.

At the ACS Expositions, BioCAD was selling Catalyst, Autodesk was touting HyperChem, and SoftShell was showing ChemWindow. CambridgeSoft was still called Cambridge Scientific Computing. Hawk Scientific Systems, developers of Molecular Presentation Graphics, diversified with ChemWhere, Consystant and Chemeleon. CD-ROM products such as WILSONDISC, databases from Silver Platter, and Beilstein's Current Facts in Chemistry on CD-ROM, were widely advertised. The ORBIT search service was still in business and Dialog was still holding its customer appreciation breakfasts at National ACS Meetings. Molecular Design Ltd was still part of Maxwell Communications in 1992; by August, 1992, 60% of Maxwell Online staff had been let go. Bretherick's Reactive Chemical Hazards Database version 1.00 appeared on diskette. The hardware required was an IBM-compatible, MS-DOS 2.1 or higher machine with 640K memory, a floppy drive (3.5-in. 1.44MB or 5.2541, 1.2MB), a hard disk with at least 6M available, and EGA or Hercules display.

Wendy Warr & Associates' first "ACS Report" was published in October 1992. It was much more gossipy than today's lengthy and professional tracts. "At the Spring ACS Meeting AutoDesk could not do lectures in their booth because they were told that microphones were banned. Piped music, however, was not banned, so at the fall meeting Autodesk blasted Strauss' "Also Sprach Zarathustra" to all and sundry…Relations between MDL and Tripos have not improved since the unfortunate incident in San Francisco…A reception [in Jacques-Émile Dubois' honour] was to have been held in the French Embassy (which issued visas to invitees saying we would be inoculated at the door) but unfortunately at the last minute the event had to be moved to a hotel. The food was still outstanding."

In 1992, Bob Massie was appointed Director of CAS and shortly afterwards Jim Seals departed. A few other names mentioned in my report are Malcolm Hoar, Tony Brand, Richard Hong, Carol Gallman, Lois Fritts, Diane Hofmann, Joe McDaniel, Maggie Southwick, Chuck Hauser, Joe Dixon, Larry Thompson, Dwight Lillie and Jeremy Sargeant, plus the now defunct companies Pool, Heller & Milne, and William Town Associates. Synopsys Scientific Systems Ltd. was formed in May 1992 by former key staff of Orac Ltd.: Glen Hopkinson, Julian Hayward, Tony Cook, Paul Hoyle and Keith Harrington.

The 1992 Montreux International Chemical Information Conference (with "Montreux" still in the title at that time) took place in Annecy in 1992. I gave a paper on spectral databases, which prevented me from attending the (clashing) tenth European MDL Users Group meeting. This was the only European MDL meeting that I have ever missed and it was, ironically, the one at which Phil McHale presented me (in absentia) with a plaque for "persistence and ubiquity". The tragic death of Steve Peacock, a founder of MDL was made known at the Annecy meeting.

This page was last updated 11th June 2007.