I ’m a little late in welcoming C&EN readers to the International Year of Chemistry, which is being celebrated in 2011 (IYC 2011). American Chemical Society President Nancy B. Jackson titled her president’s message in the Jan. 3 issue “Welcome to the International Year of Chemistry!” (page 2). She called IYC 2011 “our opportunity to help the rest of the world understand the crucial role chemistry plays” in meeting critical economic, energy, and sustainability challenges.
In the same issue (page 27), Associate Editor Linda Wang provides a concise outline of the many resources ACS is offering to help its members get involved in IYC 2011 activities.
The United Nations General Assembly designated 2011 as the International Year of Chemistry. The UN’s Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is collaborating with the International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) to coordinate IYC 2011 activities around the world. ACS is taking the lead in the U.S.
IYC 2011 has the worthy goals of increasing public appreciation of chemistry in meeting world needs; increasing the interest of young people in chemistry; generating enthusiasm for the creative future of chemistry; and celebrating the 100th anniversary of Marie Curie winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry as well as the 100th anniversary of the founding of the organization that became IUPAC.
Celebratory events are already under way. This week, the South African Chemical Institute conference and the 2011 congress of the Federation of African Societies of Chemistry will be held at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Both organizations will stage IYC 2011 events during the conferences, calling chemistry “the key to Africa’s future.”
The IYC 2011 U.S. launch event will occur on Feb. 1 in Philadelphia at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. CHF, ACS, the American Chemistry Council, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the National Academy of Sciences are hosting a panel of prominent leaders of the chemistry enterprise who will discuss “Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions.”
C&EN will do its part. We will publish a special issue on June 27 featuring essays on chemistry’s contributions to solving global challenges in the areas being focused on during IYC 2011—energy, environment, materials, and health—as well as the IYC 2011 overarching themes of diversity and water.
We will also introduce a monthly feature—“Off the Beaten Track”—that will profile ACS members living and working in some unlikely places. International members make up nearly 15% of ACS’s 163,000 members, and they reside in 140 countries. Wang proposed this series last year after discovering that many countries like Haiti, Myanmar, and the Democratic Republic of Congo have just a single ACS member, and nearly 80 countries have 20 or fewer members.
“I wanted to learn what their lives are like, what challenges they face in doing chemistry in their country, and what opportunities they see in the future,” Wang says. Multiple C&EN writers will contribute to the series. “Off the Beaten Track” will appear in the last issue of each month.
THIS WEEK ONLINE. C&EN’s online presence continues to grow. C&EN Online has been an important component of the magazine for more than a decade. Last year, “CENtral Science” morphed from a simple C&EN blog to become a portal to a collection of blogs. In 2010, we also introduced the Environmental SCENE and the Analytical SCENE, which are news feeds to selected ACS journal home pages.
To keep C&EN readers abreast of this unique content, we’re introducing a new, weekly feature on the Letters page: This Week Online. C&EN’s Journal News & Community Group, which is responsible for the SCENEs, will provide highlights of stories appearing in the SCENEs and significant postings on “CENtral Science.”
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