International Year of Chemistry

    Kids, The International Year of Chemistry (IYC 2011) is already half over! It’s been a great year so far and there’s more to come. This recognition for chemistry was made official by the United Nations in December 2008.

    Please note:  All chemicals and experiments can entail an element of risk, and no experiments should be performed without proper adult supervision.

    IYC is a worldwide celebration of the achievements of chemistry and its contributions to the well-being of humankind. Under the theme “Chemistry—our life, our future”, it offers interactive, entertaining, and educational activities for all ages. The goals are to increase the public appreciation of chemistry in meeting world needs, to encourage interest in chemistry among young people, and to generate enthusiasm for the creative future of chemistry.

    IYC 2011 events emphasize that chemistry is a creative science essential for sustainability and improvements to our way of life. Activities such as lectures, exhibits, and hands-on experiments, explore how chemical research is critical for solving our most vexing global problems involving food, water, health, energy, transportation, and more.  The IYC holds a full list of events on its website and include: - conferences, congresses, symposia, fairs, exhibitions, expositions, grand openings, lectures, meetings, open discussions, workshops, celebrations, shows, art exhibitions, and quizzes.

    Examples of the American Chemical Society IYC activities (go to include the monthly IYC Virtual Journal. Each issue features free access to 15 to 20 articles from ACS’s 39 journals and C&EN that illustrate the many ways in which chemistry improves life for people around the world. And “365: Chemistry for Life” features a chemistry highlight for each day of the year.  Day 178, for example, features an essay on the origins of the oil industry.

    Other organizations are also celebrating chemistry during IYC. The National Science Foundation has teamed up with NBC Learn and the National Science Teachers Association to create “Chemistry Now” a weekly online video series that explains the chemistry of everyday molecules like water and chemical principles such as chirality in a clever and easy-to-understand fashion.


    Kathleen Carrado Gregar, PhD, Argonne National Labs
    September 2011


    Official website:

    Chemical & Engineering News Cover Story, 6/26/11: