Looking for ConfChem? ConfChem now resides at its new site, confchem.ccce.divched.org

Virtual Colloquium to Sustain and Celebrate IYC 2011 Initiatives in Global Chemical Education

 ICCE-ECRICE 2012 PreConference Virtual Colloquium 

A Virtual Colloquium to Sustain and Celebrate IYC 2011 Initiatives in Global Chemical Education

The United Nations designated 2011 as the International Year of Chemistry (IYC) with the theme “Chemistry-our life, our future.” Events have been coordinated by UNESCO and IUPAC, and now that IYC 2011 is over we wish to reflect upon IYC projects in a way that allows us to learn from and sustain these initiatives into the future. This special preconference virtual colloquium will allow global participants to share their experiences in, or learn of these projects, and discuss them in an online environment. There will be two formats to the presentations, formal project papers and national initiative sessions; both of which can be discussed through the colloquium website. This preconference colloquium will be run in May and June of 2011, with a follow-up symposium session occurring in Rome during the July ICCE-ECRICE 2012 conference (http://www.iccecrice2012.org/). 

This virtual colloquium is hosted on the ACS DivCHED CCCE ConfChem conference management system and to participate you need to set up an account on this site and subscribe  to the ConfChem list You do not need to be a member of ACS or DivCHED, these are open conferences and further instructions are provided at the ConfChem site.


Conference Date: 
May 18, 2012 - June 29, 2012

Liberato Cardellini1, Mustafa SOZBILIR2, Robert E. Belford3 & Fabienne Meyers4

1 Dipartimento SIMAU, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Via Brecce Bianche, 12, 60131  Ancona, Italy, libero@univpm.it
2 K. K. Education Faculty, Dept. Sec. Sci. & Math. Educ, Ataturk University, 25240-Erzurum, Turkey, sozbilir@atauni.edu.tr
3 Department of Chemistry, UALR, 2801 S. University Ave, Little Rock, AR  72022, USA, rebelford@ualr.edu
4 IUPAC c/o Department of Chemistry, Boston University, 590 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215, USA, fabienne@iupac.org

Papers in this ConfChem Conference

  1. John M. Malin & Bryan Henry

    Recognizing that there is no material substance that does not involve chemistry, IUPAC responded to suggestions, initially from Russian and Korean chemists, that the Union should organize an International Year of Chemistry.   Consultation occurred with UNESCO representatives and the UNESCO Executive Board and then with the UN General Assembly to approve the year 2011 as the International Year of Chemistry.   IUPAC appointed a Management Committee which assumed responsibility for the organization and/or monitoring of three international Cornerstone Events, a highly successful website and the Global Water Experiment.  Local leadership of IYC 2011 was assumed by national chemical societies, academies of science, academic institutions and industry such that thousands of successful activities were held under the IYC rubric and posted on the IYC Website.  In this Virtual Colloquium, we will introduce the genesis of IYC 2011 and also outline the purposes and legacy of the International Year of Chemistry.

  2. Rovani Sigamoney

    The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) was designated as the lead UN agency for the International Year of Chemistry 2011. UNESCO, together with our partner, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), organized activities to highlight the vital  importance of Chemistry in our every-day lives, to encourage youth and the general public to appreciate the role of Chemistry in meeting international challenges, such as climate  change, water management and sustainable development, and lastly, to celebrate the contribution of women to chemistry, especially in the context of  the 100th Anniversary of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded to Marie Sklodowska Curie.

    This paper will highlight the key events of IYC2011 that were organised at UNESCO Headquarters and around the world and how they have contributed to the follow-up of IYC2011. In view of the decreasing interest among the youth in chemistry and the basic sciences in general, it was imperative to make the teaching and learning of chemistry not only more attractive and exciting, but also fun. An amalgamation of scientific activities with hands-on experiments, activities linking chemistry to music and art, and striking media elements were incorporated into the planned events of this yearlong celebration. At the end of 2011, 97 countries worldwide had registered about 1400 activities on the IYC website – proving that it was a truly international endeavour.

    Some of the events that will be discussed are Women Sharing a Chemical Moment in Time (18 January 2011),  The Launch Ceremony (27-28 January), The launch of the UNESCO-L’Oreal Prize “In the footsteps of Marie Curie” (28 February – 4 March) and the Malta V Conference (5-8 December). There were numerous other events which contributed to IYC and had an immense impact for the community and/or country. All these are crucial for the follow-up of IYC2011 which will help us to address the future challenges in Chemistry by taking into account the UN Millennium Development Goals and the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014).  UNESCO is committed to being a part of the solution for the future of Chemistry, together with IUPAC, and chemistry education is at the forefront of upcoming endeavours.

  3. Javier Garcia Martinez & Rovani Sigamoney

    How do we make students the stars of their own learning, taking them out of the classroom for simple experiments and enabling them to share on the web, their experiences, pictures, and results? This was the main goal of the Global Experiment, addressing key objectives of IYC, namely to increase public understanding. The theme Water–A Chemical Solution was chosen to invite students to explore one of Earth’s most critical resources.

    A dedicated website for the Global Experiment was designed to disseminate the experiments protocols, upload the results, view all deposit data, and share stories. The interactive site—available in English, French, Spanish, Russian, and Chinese—engaged young people to take part in celebarting IYC and to learn about the relationship between water and many of the world’s current problems—from food shortages to climate change—and how chemistry plays a fundamental role in understanding and resolving these challenges. Four experiments were designed covering acidity, salinity, filtration and distillation.

    Since launching the Global Experiment on World Water Day in March 2011 in South Africa, 80 000 students from over 80 countries have shared their results on the website. Central to the success of the Global Experiment was the use of social networks, which allowed students to shared experiences, photos, and concerns in real time through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Flickr. By using these social tools, students created their own communities of friends sharing interest in chemistry.

    The Global Experiment website: http://water.chemistry2011.org


  4. Lida Schoen, Mei-Hung Chiu & Erica Steenberg

    The objective of the Young Ambassadors for Chemistry (YACs) project is to facilitate the flow of ideas between chemistry and society using young people as mediators. The project uses a “train the trainers” model: teachers are trained to help students communicate the benefits of chemistry. In doing so during local public awareness events, young students acting as ambassadors for chemistry, create public interest in chemistry. During IYC 2011, the project get special exposure and invitations from Ethiopia, Kuwait, Jordan, Puerto Rico and Bulgaria!

     Our aim is to share with teachers (mainly secondary school) meaningful content related to students’ daily life and student-centred methodology with e.g. group work, discussions, and collaboration with other subject teachers. YAC is a partnership between the Public Understanding of Chemistry subcommittee of IUPAC’s Committee on Chemistry Education (CCE) and the Science Across the World (SAW) Network.

  5. Professor Nicole Jeanne MOREAU nj.moreau@free.fr

    Among many global responsibilities, IUPAC recognizes in particular the importance of encouraging, supporting, and fostering the career development of young scientists throughout the world. The Union feels strongly that such an encouragement is critical to the future of chemistry, and that this would support the worldwide role of chemistry for the benefit of Mankind.

    In pursuit of this spirit, the Union established in 2000 the IUPAC Prize for Young Chemists and has been honouring since then outstanding young research chemists at the beginning of their careers by making annual awards. The prizes are given for the most outstanding Ph.D. theses in the area of the chemical sciences, as described in 1000-word essays. IUPAC awards up to five prizes annually, each comprising USD 1000 and travel expenses to the next IUPAC Congress. Each awardee is invited to present a poster on his/her research and to participate in a plenary award session. The prize winners are also invited to offer review papers on their research topics for consideration as publications in Pure and Applied Chemistry (PAC). In January 2011, this issue of PAC has been a very special one, with a preface by the President of IUPAC, and a collection of 17 articles from past winners of the Prize during its ten first years, 2000-2009. This appears as an excellent means of looking at what the prize has been for them. http://www.chemistry2011.org/participate/activities/show?id=469.

  6. Norman E. Holden & Tyler B. Coplen

    The IUPAC Periodic Table of Isotopes introduces students, teachers and society to the existence and importance of stable and radioactive isotopes of the chemical elements.

    This Table provides information about the basic properties of stable isotopes, their total number, their mass and abundance, which allows determination of atomic weight values of the chemical elements. This Table also provides the total number and half-lives of radioactive isotopes of each element and information on the applications of isotopes in our everyday life, as noted in the following examples. In the area of medical applications, radioactive isotopes provide for the diagnosis of disease and for its treatment. In industry, radioactive isotopes enable smoke detectors to alarm and provide an early warning of a potential fire. In geochronology, radioactive isotopes enable the dating of materials, which can provide information about migration trends of ancient peoples around the world. In the science area, ratios of stable isotopes allow the detection of illegal doping in sports activities and the detection of alteration of food and drink. Information on all 118 elements is provided. Detailed examples of the applications of specific isotopes in our everyday life are provided, except for a few of the most recently discovered elements whose half-life values are so short (much less than one second) that applications have not yet been discovered. This program is an International Year of Chemistry (IYC-2011) joint effort by members of the IUPAC Task Group Project, including J.K. Böhlke (U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia, USA), M.E. Wieser (U. Calgary, Canada), G. Singleton (U.S Department of Energy, Chicago, USA), T. Walczyk (National U. of Singapore, Singapore), S. Yoneda (National Museum of Nature and Science, Japan), P.G. Mahaffy (King’s U. College, Edmonton, Canada), L.V. Tarbox (U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia, USA), D. Tepper (U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia, USA) and the above authors.

  7. Peter Mahaffy
    Brian Martin
    Anna Schwalfenberg

    Understanding and responding to global climate change is one of the defining challenges of the 21st century. Barraged by contradictory messages, many don’t have the right tools to see and understand the complex connections between human activity and our changing climate.  

    This IUPAC/UNESCO project was created as an International Year of Chemistry legacy to highlight connections between chemistry and sustainability. It brings together scientists and educators from the IUPAC Committee on Chemistry Education, The King’s Centre for Visualization in Science (KCVS, Canada), The Royal Society of Chemistry (UK), American Chemical Society (USA), UNESCO, and the Federation of African Societies of Chemistry to develop a set of 9 critically reviewed, interactive modules, web-based materials for global dissemination to help students visualize and understand the underlying science of climate change.

    Target audiences are (a) teachers at the secondary and first year tertiary levels, (b) students at those same levels, and (c) chemistry professionals. Visualizations emphasize the fundamental science of climate processes, and make overt connections to chemistry curriculum.  The first 8 modules were launched during the International Year of Chemistry, and the final lesson focusing on where we go from here will go live by July 2012.

    During the virtual conference we invite discussion about the sustainability legacy of IYC, the explainingclimatechange.com resource, and welcome ideas for promoting broad dissemination to educators, students, and the public, and integrating climate science into chemistry curriculum.

    ConfChem Article abstract

  8. Lida Schoen & Christiane Reiners

    The IUPAC Committee on Chemistry Education (CCE) organized the Global Stamp Competition for students and undergraduates that shows Chemistry as Cultural Enterprise. The project asked students to design a stamp that highlights the impact of chemistry on their country’s culture and everyday life; the goal being to foster better understanding and appreciation of chemistry as a human and cultural enterprise. Students were required to present their stamps with an explanation (in English) and complete their submission on a web platform. The competition was launched with our partners in Paris last January during the IYC 2011 opening ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters.


    The competition was open to students in 3 age categories (12-14, 15-18 and undergraduates) from all subjects, not only chemistry. By the submission deadline of June 15, 2011, 247 designs have been submitted from 18 different countries! Students from 15-18 uploaded most and the competition was most popular in Asia Pacific. Designs were judged for their artistic value, how well they showed the relationship between chemistry and the national/regional culture, and the quality of the description. Winners and runners up have been awarded and presented in Chem Int (Nov 2011 issue) and a selection of the best designs were on display at the IYC closing ceremony in Brussels on Dec1, 2011.


  9. Jim McQuillan

    The joint UNESCO-IUPAC sponsorship of IYC 2011 prompted the Physical and Biophysical Chemistry Division of IUPAC to run chemistry cartoon and physical chemistry video competitions for high school to postgraduate student individuals from January to May 2011. The aim of the cartoon competition was to clearly illustrate a chemistry principle which would enrich the teaching of chemistry. The student video competition attracted few entries but may have been more successful had the competition been open to the small student groups who are normally involved in video production. The cartoon competition attracted 63 entries from 8 countries. There were multiple entries from some schools where teacher encouragement was clearly an important influence. As a result of this IYC activity the Physical Chemistry Division of IUPAC is considering running student physical chemistry cartoon competitions as part of it ongoing activities.


  10. Christopher K. Ober

    The IUPAC polymer division regards the International Year of Chemistry as a starting point for ongoing engagement with the public to better communicate the important role of polymer chemistry in serving society. Prior to that we had started a division education website to distribute the contents of an educational CD focused on polymers. This website became our principal tool for IYC activities including: a video and essay contest aimed at high school and university students, an international funding call, a list of polymer division sponsored IYC events and conferences.  In addition, it provides links to educational websites around the world, videos related to famous polymer scientists and polymer division award winners, and simple definitions of common polymer terms.

    This presentation will discuss the results of the student competition and what we learned from it, the international funding call and how it is helping national funding agencies develop best practices for multinational research programs and the most successful aspects of the educational website. An assessment involving use tracking and surprises regarding what are the most accessed aspects of the website will be presented.



  11. Robert Guillaumont, Janusz Lipkowski, Barbara Petelenz, & Jean-Pierre Vairon

    Poland and France decided to celebrate jointly the centenary of the Marie Sklodowska Curie’s Nobel prize in Chemistry (MSC100) within the frame of the IYC2011. In the two countries the IYC led to more than 500 officially listed activities, including numerous actions devoted to Marie Sklodowska Curie, organized by both Polish and French Academies of Sciences, the respective chemical societies together with other national research institutions, numerous universities, the Warsaw and Paris MSC Museums, as well as other scientific institutions in a wide national and international co-operation. The initiatives celebrating the achievements of chemistry and its ambitions for humankind spanned everything from major international scientific congresses, specific national actions up to individual efforts of the youngest schoolchildren. The  celebration of the centenary of the Nobel Prize in  Chemistry awarded to Marie Skłodowska-Curie was officially opened at the Sorbonne in Paris on January 29, 2011 and closed at the Royal Castle in Warsaw on November 25, 2011 under the honorary patronages of the Presidents of the French and Polish Republics. The IYC2011 icon, Marie Skłodowska-Curie, personifies not only the  achievements of a woman-scientist, but also the humanitarian aspects of science applications, the social role of education, as well as international  cultural links. In all these contexts, the Polish and French celebrations of the IYC2011 highlighted or intensified the initiatives which already have been there, starting from the historical links between the two countries, crowned with the personal involvement of Madame Curie in the organization of the first radiological laboratories and the Radium Institutes both in Paris and Warsaw. A special phenomenon in both countries is a multitude of schools named  after Marie Skłodowska-Curie, which cultivate the teaching tradition represented by Marie Skłodowska and her family since the 19th century. The  same tradition is continued by leading Polish and French universities and research institutions. Some striking examples of the MSC100 celebration actions developed in Poland and France in 2011 will be presented in the text, together with a particular emphasis on international links and the interdisciplinary character of the research work of Marie Curie.


  12. Author name

    In this session we are going to try something new, and present material from different countries on their IYC 2011 projects and initiatives. Our objectives are to try and discuss these national projects on a global basis and so the discussions will be appended as comments to this page, and not the individual nation's page. Please look through these presentations and share your thoughts.  Also, please feel free to discuss your own countries projects and initiatives as we are seeking an open ended discussion on ways we can promote global chemical education and sustain IYC 2011 initiatives into the future.

  13. Mei-Hung Chiu

    The commemoration of 2011 as the International Year of Chemistry (IYC) has been heralded as a remarkable success. Throughout 2011, the IUPAC successfully linked people together, from across the globe, in recognition and celebration of chemistry's achievements and contributions. In addition, specific activities highlighting the important role of chemistry in today's world were directed at the media, policy makers, general public, school teachers, students, and industries that provided numerous opportunities for people on different continents to appreciate chemistry locally, nationally, and internationally. Although the IYC has ended, we should consider the end of 2011 as the beginning of sustainable collaborations both locally and globally for chemistry education. Therefore, there are three challenging issues that we have to ponder in order to sustain the accomplishments of the IYC. They are: (1) How can we build upon the lessons learned from the IYC? (2) What strategies can we develop to keep the momentum started from the IYC moving locally and internationally? and (3) As a member of the IUPAC, what roles and priorities should the CCE adopt in order to continue to contribute to chemistry education? Possible answers for these questions might be (1) to disseminate findings of chemical education research, and their implications for classroom practice, (2) to take advantage of chemists' and chemistry educators' involvement and expertise as well as other divisions and committees of IUPAC to generate a resource database for public use, (3) to continue developing worldwide experiments and activities to bring people together through sharing similar experiences and achieving similar goals, and (4) to build international standards for chemistry education that are applicable for developing and developed countries. Maintaining the focus on "Chemistry-Our Life, Our Future" will help people everywhere to value chemistry as a human enterprise that supports not only our present way of life but also holds the promise for improving our collective future. Improving chemistry education is at the center of this focus.