International Year of Chemistry, 2011

UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

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International Year of Chemistry 2011

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Chemistry and the environment

Activity by Hans Dahlkvist   |   added on May 09, 2010   |   Sweden Official_iyc_logo

Sponsor(s): Linköping university and Roslagens högskola AB

Inorganic and organic substances will be evaluated by professionals and students to compare there relevance and importance in ecosystems and societies.

Inorganic compounds are used in each part of the chemical industry – including catalysis, materials science, pigments, surfactants, coatings, medicine, fuel, and agriculture. On the other hand organic compounds are essential in many disciplines such as in the creation of clothing, plastics, fibers, medications, insecticides, petroleum-derived chemicals, and a long list of products used to support life and to make it more convenient. Five important differences exist between organic and inorganic compounds;

  • The number of organic compounds vastly exceeds the number of inorganic compounds.  The reason for this dramatic difference is a special property of the carbon atom: its ability to join with other carbon atoms in very long chains, in rings, and in other kinds of geometric arrangements.
  • In general, organic compounds tend to have much lower melting and boiling points than do inorganic compounds.
  • In general, organic compounds are less likely to dissolve in water than are inorganic compounds.
  • Organic compounds are likely to be more flammable but poorer conductors of heat and electricity than are inorganic compounds.
  • Organic reactions tend to take place more slowly and to produce a much more complex set of products than do inorganic reactions.

Both inorganic and organic chemicals are spread uncontrolled by man on the planet and it is important to understand the general effects of chemicals on nature and humans. It is of great value to initiate and perform processes in the society which will elevate the knowledge about chemistry and the environment. This workshop will emphasize chemical knowledge and how chemicals influences our common environment and in that way celebrate 2011 as the international year of chemistry.


Workshop activity

Describe and compare ecological essential and toxic substances.

Answer following issues;

A. Select 3 essential and 3 toxic inorganic compounds 

B. Select 3 essential and 3 toxic organic compounds

Describe their appearance and chemical effects of importance in the environment on ecosystems and human beings. 

This activity will run in similar workshops in each nation, and will be performed as a competition to see who has the most relevant and interesting workshop.

This website will be used for the participitation and to inform about the workshop activities.


December 2011

Presentation of  the best workshops and short review of all participaters.




Topic: competition, workshops Audience: general public
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