International Year of Chemistry

For International Years in the Natural Sciences, A,B and C is as easy as 9,10 and 11. In 2009 we celebrated the International Year of Astronomy (IYA), 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) and in 2011 we will be welcoming the International Year of Chemistry (IYC).

During the 179th session of the Executive Board, 24 Member States, led by Ethiopia, co-sponsored the proposal for the UN proclamation of 2011 as the International Year of Chemistry. The UN General Assembly then declared 2011 the International Year of Chemistry at the 63rd meeting in December 2008 with UNESCO as the leading UN Agency together with our partner, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).

The broad objectives of the Year are to:

  • Increase the public appreciation and understanding of chemistry in meeting world needs
  • Encourage the interest of young people in chemistry
  • Generate enthusiasm for the creative future of chemistry
  • Celebrate the role of women in chemistry or major historical events in chemistry, including the centenaries of Marie Curie’s Nobel Prize and the founding of the International Association of Chemical Societies.

Through the Year, the world will celebrate the art and science of chemistry, and its essential contributions to knowledge, to environmental protection, to improvement of health, and to economic development. To this end, UNESCO and IUPAC are encouraging and promoting as wide an engagement as possible for IYC-2011 (see A list of exciting and innovative worldwide events in chemistry is foreseen for IYC.


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