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Editor's Page

December 3, 2006
Volume 84, Number 50
p. 3

FROM THE EDITOR

Celebrate Chemistry

Rudy M. Baum, Editor-in-chief

Jeff Johansen
Margarete Sequin
Courtesy of the Princeton Section
Julie Elaine Switzer

This issue of C&EN contains our story on this year's National Chemistry Week activities, written by C&EN Assistant Editor Rachel Petkewich (see page 40). NCW was held Oct. 22-28, and the theme was "Your Home—It's All Built on Chemistry."

NCW is the American Chemical Society's annual grassroots celebration of chemistry. Now in its 19th year—it was launched as National Chemistry Day in 1987—NCW involves most of the society's 189 local sections in a variety of community outreach programs that educate and entertain the public about chemistry. As Petkewich points out, "NCW is celebrated in many ways. This year, as in the past, nearly 10,000 volunteers assembled at schools, malls, museums, and even zoos across the country to demonstrate the positive effects that chemistry has on everyday life."

Petkewich also notes that "the ACS Office of Community Affairs asks local sections to summarize their NCW activities. This year, many sections promoted safety in the home with consumer information and fire extinguisher demonstrations. As usual, classic general chemistry demonstrations, such as slime and gak, had a popular presence."

Drawing on this year's theme, ACS partnered with the Home Safety Council and the National Association of Home Builders to share educational materials that were widely used. Local sections also teamed up with other national organizations including the Association for Women in Science and the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists & Chemical Engineers for a number of activities. And the American Chemistry Council encouraged its member companies to participate.

Much of NCW focuses on kids, whose capability for wonderment is a natural target for the innovative demonstrations and hands-on activities that characterize NCW. (At C&EN, we sometimes refer to the NCW story as our annual "cute kids story.") Petkewich writes of exhibits that focused on soil erosion, the properties of various nails, testing the pH of household chemicals, generating solar energy in a house, examining the chemicals used to build homes, making paint and polymer composites, testing structural materials, and painting frescoes in plaster.

Increasingly, ACS and C&EN are using the Web to communicate with members and distribute information. Additional pictures of NCW celebrations can be found on C&EN Online, including several of those cute kids doing chemistry.

A feature of this year's NCW was the "Extreme Farewell Tour" of ACS Immediate Past-President William F. Carroll, during which he visited 10 cities in eight days and participated in countless NCW events. Carroll detailed his experiences of NCW in a personal and often very funny blog, available online at nationalchemistryweek.wordpress.com. It's well worth reading.

NCW is a wonderful celebration of chemistry of which all ACS members should be proud.

Thanks for reading.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society

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