01.12.2011 - Natural Sciences Sector and IUPAC

The International Year of Chemistry comes to a close

© UNESCO/P. Chiang-JooWorld Science Day for Peace and Development. This year's theme is "Towards green societies: equity, inclusiveness, participation".

The Closing Ceremony of the International Year of Chemistry is taking place in Brussels on 1 December 2011, celebrating the science of pure and applied chemistry, summarizing the success of the year and looking into the future of chemistry.

The opening address is given by HRH Prince Philippe of Belgium and eminent scientists and decision makers from the industry are participating in this Closing Ceremony, in particular Ada Yonath, Chemistry Nobel Laureate in 2009 and Andrew Liveris, Chief Executive Officer of The Dow Chemical Company. One of the key events of the day is the Young Leaders Forum, a group of young business students and scientists debating on the theme 'The world in 2050: our expectations from the life sciences, chemistry, industry and governments to build a better world by 2050'.

One of the central activities of the IYC is the Global experiment ‘Water: A Chemical Solution’, a set of activities developed by IUPAC and UNESCO to entice students around the world to learn about how chemistry contributes to one of the most important resources in their daily lives, water. The Global Experiment explores the chemistry of water and the importance of water in the environment. As of the end of October, over 24,000 students and 1174 teachers from 63 countries on 5 continents had shared their results on the central website. We anticipate that many more people will be registering their data in the coming weeks and months.

From the very beginning it was clear that if the Global Experiment was to be truly global it needed to be made available to any school, even to those without the most basic materials. In order to encourage the participation of low-income communities, 150 schoolpacks containing 10 Global Water Kits and a School Resource Kit were sent free to over 30 countries. This is probably the largest ‘crowd sourcing’ chemistry experiment and certainly a great activity that aims to educate and engage young people in the key role of science in the future of this planet.

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