IUPAC and UNESCO Establish the International Year of Chemistry 2011

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have partnered to establish the International Year of Chemistry 2011 (IYC 2011). The year-long celebration reportedly was created to increase the public's appreciation of chemistry for meeting world needs, to encourage interest in chemistry among young people, and to generate enthusiasm for the creative future of chemistry.

The year 2011 coincides with the 100th anniversary of Madame Marie Curie receiving the Nobel Prize. This year also is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the International Association of Chemical Societies.

According to the two organizations, the event is a worldwide celebration of the achievements of chemistry and its contributions to the well-being of humankind. Under the unifying theme “Chemistry—our life, our future,” IYC 2011 will offer a range of interactive, entertaining and educational activities for all ages.

IYC 2011 is intended to reach across the globe, with opportunities for public participation at the local, regional and national level. It involves chemical societies, academies and institutions worldwide, and relies on individual initiatives to organize local and regional activities.

IYC 2011 events will emphasize that chemistry is a creative science essential for sustainability and improvements to the current way of life. Activities, such as lectures, exhibits and hands-on experiments, will explore how chemical research is critical for solving the most vexing global problems involving food, water, health, energy, transportation and more.

For more information about the goals, activities, administration and timeline of IYC 2011, download the IYC Prospectus.

The idea for an international year was first discussed in 2006, during the April meeting of IUPAC's executive committee. Following that meeting, an IUPAC task group developed a plan to secure the designation by UNESCO of an International Year of Chemistry. That project (IUPAC project 2007-011-1-050) was successfully completed in April 2008, and the executive of UNESCO endorsed the proposal for proclamation by the United Nations of 2011 as an International Year of Chemistry (IYC).

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