It's Your WeekGo For It!
This is National Chemistry Week (NCW). Across the nation, tens of thousands of American Chemical Society members in local sections are volunteering their time and talents to promote the understanding and value of chemistry in everyday life.
In addition, this year, the American Chemistry Council passed a resolution encouraging its member companies to participate in NCW activities. A letter from ACC Chairman of the Board Thomas E. Reilly urges chemical companies to lead or participate in programs, provide money or supplies for NCW activities and presentations, and work with the local media to communicate the importance of chemistry.
The 2002 NCW theme is "Chemistry Keeps Us Clean." Activities focus on the variety of ways in which chemistry plays a role not only in personal hygiene but also in how chemistry is instrumental in providing a clean environment, food, and health care.
Among its activities, ACS is sponsoring a poster contest based on the theme for students in grades K12. Myriad other ACS resources are available by visiting http://www.chemistry.org/ncw.
Everyone logging onto the Chemical Abstracts Service website at http://www.cas.org may try a free search of STN Easy® to retrieve references to chemistry-related topics of interest from the databases scientists use every day. Visitors can request a free copy of the popular CAS Colors of Chemistry calendar for 2003, featuring beautiful photographs and informative commentary on the benefits of chemistry. Calendars are available one per person while supplies last.
Visitors to the ACS Publications Division website, http://pubs.acs.org, can access original articles from such Nobel Laureates in chemistry as Linus Pauling, Irving Langmuir, E. J. Corey, and Ahmed Zewail, as well as other "hot" articles and selected ACS journals. The online versions of Today's Chemist at Work, Modern Drug Discovery, and the current issue of C&EN are available to browse.
In honor of NCW, C&EN Online, http://pubs.acs.org/cen, is launching a new feature, "Critter Chemistry," a collection of articles by C&EN staff related to the chemistry of animals, from worms to geckos. (Check out the article, for example, titled "Gecko Bonding.") Like "What's That Stuff?"--an online collection of C&EN articles about the chemistry of everyday objects--"Critter Chemistry" is available free to the public.
Be sure to tell your friends, neighbors, and local schoolteachers about these free websites. They're an excellent source of information to educate people on the value of chemistry--and some of them, like "What's That Stuff?" and "Critter Chemistry," are especially fun to read.
Chemistry is fun, but chemistry is serious business, too. NCW--and every week of the year--provides an opportunity for those of us in the chemical profession to explain the role that chemistry and its allied fields play in improving the quality of life. Telling this story should be an easy task, because we live in a world based on chemistry. You can take a page from nearly any issue of C&EN to prove this case. This week, for example, there's a story by Senior Correspondent Rebecca Rawls on the arsenic crisis in Bangladesh and another by Senior Editor Cheryl Hogue on EPA regulation of metals in the environment.
Our perennial feature on paints and coatings by Associate Editor Alex Tullo illustrates vividly how even something so mundane can be improved with good chemistry. Chemist Robert Wolke's new book--reviewed in this issue--about cooking and chemistry, "What Einstein Told His Cook," is still another example of chemistry in our daily lives.
If we do a good job of communicating the importance and value of chemistry, not just during NCW but every day of the year, we can look forward to a more chemically literate populace and a chemical community more understanding and responsive to the needs and concerns of the populace. And we can look forward to the best and the brightest of our scientifically talented youth choosing careers in chemistry, an essential step to ensuring that chemistry lives up to its potential of improving the quality of life for people everywhere on Earth. That's a tall order, but this is National Chemistry Week. Go for it!?
Views expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of ACS.