International Year of Chemistry, 2011

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Open Door Days

Idea by Colin Humphris   |   added on Nov 30, 2009 06:48PM Suggestion Suggestion
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“Open Door” events organized by the chemical industry provided a unique opportunity for the public to discover a fascinating industry and to learn in an entertaining way how much chemistry plays a crucial role in our everyday lives.

It was in May 2001 that the group of national federations within the European Chemical Industry Council, Cefic, took the initiative of organizing “Discover Chemistry in Europe,” a series of Open Door days throughout Europe. Between May 2002 and October 2003, member associations of Cefic from 13 countries held Open Door events involving some 1000 sites, with an estimated one million visitors. These events often involved universities or research laboratories, and included conferences and exhibitions.

Belgium, through its association Fedichem, kicked off the series. On 4 and 5 May 2002, more than 40 chemical plants opened their doors to the public, as well as about 15 university laboratories and museums. Almost 70 000 people participated, showing an undeniable interest in chemistry. Over the following few months, Belgium was successfully followed by the UK, Italy, France, Finland, The Netherlands, and Spain. It is interesting to note that on average, in all countries, 25 percent of the visitors were younger than 20 years old.

These days provided a unique opportunity to demonstrate in an entertaining way how much chemistry plays a crucial role in our everyday lives. Clothes, CDs, computers, sports equipment, cars, electronic devices . . . almost everything relies on chemistry!

This type of event also demonstrates the chemical industry’s capacity for innovation as well as its safety and quality concerns. It offers an excellent forum to show and to explain, “on the spot,” voluntary initiatives taken by the industry to help meet today’s societal demands. An example is the global chemical industry’s “Responsible Care” initiative under which companies, through their national associations, commit to work together to continuously improve their performance in protecting people and the environment throughout the life cycle of their products and processes.

Read Discover Chemistry in Europe by Marc Devisscher (Chem Int, May 2003)

Topic: industrial safety Audience: general public


Nicole J. Moreau
Dec 13, 2009 04:06PM

Why would not the industry join the Feast of Science in 2011 to make the same open doors?

Albert Ahatov
Apr 16, 2010 08:18AM

"70 000 people participated".. very big number!

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