International Year of Chemistry, 2011

UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Partners for the
International Year of Chemistry 2011

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Contact Detail

John Sodeau Ideas Activities
  • Professor, University College Cork
    Cork, Co. Cork, Ireland
  • Email
    Tel 00353 21 4902680
  • Sector:

    Public Outreach
  • Organizations:

    University College Cork
    Lismore Heritage Centre
    Waterford Institute of Technology
  • 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
  • Web Site:



2011 represents the 350th anniversary of the publication of Robert Boyle’s famous scientific paper entitled, “The Sceptical Chymist”. This document set the scene for the establishment of the academic topic we now call the Chemical Sciences. 2011 is also the year that has been designated the International Year of Chemistry (or more simply, IYC) and so it is appropriate that Robert Boyle’s enormous contribution to the subject will be celebrated in a Science Festival to be hosted at his birthplace in Lismore Castle, Co. Waterford.

The Festival will take place between Thursday 17th November and Sunday 20th November 2011 to coincide with Science Week. Events will be mounted by Eoin Gill (WIT) and Dr Declan Kennedy (UCC) suitable for both children and adults including lectures, demonstrations and “hands-on” experiences. Talks by Professor Duncan Thorburn Burns (QUB) and Dr Allan Chapman (of Channel 4 TV fame) will emphasise material on Boyle himself and also his scientific partnership with the equally famous Robert Hooke. Due to the universal importance of Boyle’s law of gases, two further lectures will be devoted to the Earth’s atmosphere. The first is to be presented by the Chief Scientific Officer to DEFRA in the UK, Professor Bob Watson, and will provide a political perspective relevant to human activities on air pollution, climate change and agriculture. The second, by Professor Richard Wayne from Oxford University, will attempt to put the evolution of our atmosphere in proper perspective with our neighbouring planets in the Solar System and answer the question: Why Life on Earth?

The celebration ends with a spectacular Firework Display at the Castle to point at the essential “Air” that covers our planet and allows all forms of life to exist.

The Robert Boyle Science Festival is organised by the Lismore Heritage Centre along with representatives from Lismore Castle, University College Cork, Waterford Institute of Technology and local chemical industry.