ACS Celebration Of Chemistry Will Continue | December 19, 2011 Issue - Vol. 89 Issue 51 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 89 Issue 51 | p. 43 | ACS Comments
Issue Date: December 19, 2011

ACS Celebration Of Chemistry Will Continue

By Nancy B. Jackson
Department: ACS News | Collection: IYC 2011
Keywords: ACS, IYC, international year of chemistry
Nancy B. Jackson, ACS President
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography
Jackson mug shot
Nancy B. Jackson, ACS President
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography

As the International Year of Chemistry (IYC) draws to a close, I would like to share with ACS members some of our society’s great contributions to IYC, as well as our plans for continuing the spirit of IYC into the future.

Over the past year, ACS local sections, technical divisions, committees, international chapters, chemistry clubs, C&EN, journal editors and authors, ACS Network participants, and our Chemical Abstracts Service colleagues have promoted and contributed to IYC’s national and global successes through the creation of new capacities, networks, and programs. These were aligned with the International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) and United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO) goals and objectives for this historic year ( Although space for this Comment limits sharing the full measure of ACS communities’ contributions to IYC, I would like to mention some of the efforts in which we have joined the global community in meeting the goals of IYC 2011.

To bring the excitement of chemistry to young people, IYC focused on water, one of the world’s most valuable resources. Starting on World Water Monitoring Day, U.S. schoolchildren joined their peers across the globe in the IYC Global Water Experiment. The IUPAC/UNESCO website ( features an interactive map that highlights the contributions of students around the world to this exciting endeavor. As an associated activity, a live webcast featuring ACS Chemistry Ambassador Valerie Moore and NASA scientists highlighted the IYC global water experiment and water’s purification on the International Space Station. More than 1,000 individuals in the U.S. and abroad watched the ACS/NASA webcast.

Water continued to be a prominent theme for IYC 2011 activities as ACS partnered with Procter & Gamble’s Children’s Safe Drinking Water program to launch the Pennies for PUR Water campaign. Through this initiative, ACS local sections raised funds to purchase water purification packets that can be used in areas of the world that do not have readily available clean and potable water.

The power of the Web allowed us to engage the global scientific community in celebrating IYC ( The ACS Web feature “365: Chemistry for Life” highlighted chemistry’s contributions to humankind throughout 2011, with a chemistry-related nugget of information for every day of the year. The IYC Bulletin served as a unifying resource for IYC planners worldwide. And the ACS IYC Virtual Journal used content from ACS journals to illustrate the many ways in which chemistry improves everyday life for people around the world. The online video “A Day without Chemistry” and the “Spellbound” video series communicated the transforming power of chemistry to global audiences.

Recognizing that the IYC goal of drawing attention to the nature and value of chemistry would be most fully realized through collaborations with a variety of organizations, ACS launched the IYC Partner Program. More than 40 organizations committed to working with ACS to promote IYC. These organizations supported IYC through self-hosted programs, advertising, technical talks, and more. We thank each of our partners for collaborating with ACS on this historic occasion.

Finally, a generous grant from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health provided ACS with the opportunity to contribute chemistry content to the science festival community during the final quarter of 2011 and to plan for sustaining IYC’s impact during 2012 through our participation in additional science festivals and the provision of chemistry challenge kits for middle school students.

As IYC 2011 comes to an end, ACS and its sister societies around the world are now turning their attention to identifying novel pathways to sustain the celebration’s momentum. Features in the IYC Bulletin on IYC activities of sister societies in Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Mexico, and South Africa, for example, provided an opportunity for ACS to learn from others and inspired many new ideas and networks for 2012 and beyond. Activities such as the United Nations’s recent Sustainable Energy for All initiative also hold great promise for extending the excitement and activity. The year 2012 also brings the International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) to the U.S. this summer for only the second time in the 44-year history of this event. Thanks to the generosity of Dow Chemical, IChO’s sole 2012 corporate sponsor, the olympiad will provide an opportunity to generate enthusiasm for the creative future of chemistry among young people beyond 2011 (C&EN, Sept. 26, page 6).

IYC 2011 was central to my presidency and meaningful to me—and, I hope, to the society and its members—in many ways. Most notably, IYC 2011 helped me rediscover the vision and sentiment of a rather obscure yet monumentally important provision of the ACS constitution: “The society shall cooperate with scientists internationally and shall be concerned with the worldwide application of chemistry to the needs of humanity.” IYC has provided a mechanism for us to meet this obligation through international collaborations and exchanges. By continuing these partnerships, we can apply chemistry’s transformative power to address global challenges far beyond 2011.

Views expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of ACS.

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