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

See all contacts

Contact Detail

Richard Kowenicki Ideas Activities
  • Dr, Westminster School
    Westminster, London, UK
  • Email
    Tel +447818802280
  • Sector:

  • Organizations:

    Westminster School
    Cambridge Chemistry Challenge (
  • 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:


I am the Head of Chemistry at Westminster School in London and have particular interest in the profile of Chemistry in the United Kingdom and how it will evolve in the next few years.

I believe that the cutting edge of Chemistry is changing and this should be reflected in what is taught in schools and how. Many of the current Chemistry courses are outdated.

As a Chemistry teacher I find that young people are engaged by the processes and objects they see around them in everyday life and although some UK exam boards have tried to harness this by introducing 21st Century Science, which introduces genuinely interesting topics, they have done it at the expense of academic rigour. There must be a way to do both and this is one of the challenges facing Chemistry teachers today.

I am on the committee of the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge (, which aims to stretch and challenge students interested in chemistry. Each month challenges are set by an experienced team of teachers and university academics, it is designed to be accessible to Year 12 students but will take them significantly beyond the syllabus and encourage them to think about science in the way they would at university. The feedback so far has been positive.