International Year of Chemistry, 2011

UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization IUPAC - International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry

Partners for the
International Year of Chemistry 2011

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Contact Detail

Dr Ruth Jarman Ideas Activities
  • Lecturer in Science Education, School of Education Queen's University Belfast
    Belfast, UK
  • Email
    Tel +44 (0)28 9097 5941
  • Sector:

    Tertiary Education
  • Organizations:

    School of Education Queen's University Belfast
  • IYC Interests:

    Increase the public appreciation and understanding of chemistry
    Encourage interest of young people in chemistry
    Generate enthusiasm for the creative future of chemistry
    Celebrate the role of women in chemistry
  • Web Site:


I am a lecturer in science education, with a particular interest in science in the news and how best we can encourage young people to engage with science in the news and equip them to do so with a critical eye. I have published widely both academic books and papers and guidebooks for teachers. In the course of this research and development work, I have become increasingly concerned that my own specialism, chemistry, is not specially well served by news media. While biology and physics / astronomy attract a lot of coverage, this is not the case for chemistry. While the reporting of these subjects tends to be rather heroic, presenting cutting edge research in these disciplines as fascinating in its own right and or making significant contribution to our quality of life, the reporting of chemistry tends to be rather negative. The chemical basis of biomedical advances covered in the news, for example, goes unrecognised. The most obviously chemistry-related stories tend to be associated with environmental pollution. Even the use of the word ‘chemical’ often carries adverse connotation. I would be interested, then, to see the IYC raise the profile of chemistry in the news media.

My teaching responsibilities involve me in preparing undergraduate and postgraduate students as secondary science teachers. I would be very eager to do a project with my undergradate students, who do a short school placement, wherein they would prepare materials which their placement schools could use to introduce the IYC in 2011.