International Year of Chemistry, 2011

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International Year of Chemistry 2011

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IYC at the Halfway Point

July 1, 2011

With summer in full swing in much of the world, we take stock of the first half of the International Year of Chemistry.

Fabienne Meyers, Associate Director, IUPAC

Summer is definitely here in the Northern Hemisphere, which for many means it’s time to take a break and relax. For some the summer is also a good time to reset projects, get back on track, make assessments, or/and make new plans. So, in that spirit, let’s take a look at where we stand at the halfway point of the International Year of Chemistry.

Just looking at the IYC website–chemistry2011.org—it is amazing to observe the global enthusiasm for celebrating CHEMISTRY. Just look at who is participating. So far, more than 1200 activities with 600 events in nearly 100 countries have been registered. An additional 300 ideas or so have been posted, triggering connections and exchanges of tips and good practices. All this within a network of more than 7300 individuals in more than 165 countries.

Since January 1, the website has had nearly 350 thousand site visits (250 thousand unique visitors) and one million pageviews. After the stimulus of the kickoff to IYC, including a high of 3800 visits on one day in mid-January, the site now regularly attracts between one and two thousand visits a day. Over the last three months, 70% of visitors have been new to the site.

But the numbers don’t tell the whole story—the diversity of activities and their origins are what I think makes IYC quite special: cultural events in Sri Lanka; a chemistry competition in Lebanon; science fairs and festivals in Canada, Chile, and Japan; webinars in the USA; a Science Café in UK, Portugal, and throughout Europe; an open-door day in Paraguay; an educator workshop in Ethiopia; chemistry stamp releases in Indonesia and Switzerland; several international competitions for essay writing, cartoons, and videos; and numerous professional workshops and conferences. These activities involve clubs, schools, colleges, universities, associations, organizations, societies, and industries. Participants represent all age groups and range in number from two to thousands.

One IYC event that is making waves is the Global Water Experiment “Water: A Chemical Solution.” For the kick-off event, on World Water Day, March 22, school children from Cape Town, South Africa, took part in the global experiment. As the videos attest, they certainly had fun in the process. Rovani Sigamoney (from UNESCO) reports on the “splash days” (link here to read that news )

The website of the Global Experiment – http://water.chemistry2011.org – is a great resource, with several new features added last month, including maps of the experiment’s results and the participating schools. The site provides tools for participants to share their experiences, stories, and pictures. In addition, the site offers several videos in addition to the protocols. So far almost 500 schools—an estimated 10000 students—have already submitted data; and this is only the tip of the iceberg, as many schools have performed the experiments but have not yet submitted data.

The other major cornerstone event of IYC is the upcoming IUPAC World Chemistry Congress; visit www.iupac2011.org. One unique event during the Congress is the so-called WCLM
The key theme of the discussion will be chemistry and sustainable development. Be sure to bookmark that page so you can follow the program and related release.

As the year is only halfway through, it is not too late to start celebrating IYC. Browse the site, learn how you can participate, see what others have been doing, get inspired, and plan your own celebration. Log on at chemistry2011 and record your activity. Revisit your record after the activity has taken place and tell us how it went, add reports and links to related sites, post docs and photos, and leave your comments.

IYC cheers and happy July 1st!
Fabienne
~for IYC Team