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October 12, 2009
Volume 87, Number 41
pp. 14 - 14

Celebrating Chemistry

National Chemistry Week: This year's theme is the periodic table of the elements

Linda Wang

Daryl Cunningham of the Morgan State University Student Chapter, in Baltimore, designed this winning 2009 NCW logo. Daryl Cunningham
Daryl Cunningham of the Morgan State University Student Chapter, in Baltimore, designed this winning 2009 NCW logo.
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National Chemistry Week (NCW), the American Chemical Society’s premiere outreach event, will take place on Oct. 18–24. More than 10,000 volunteers are expected to participate in educational activities at venues that include elementary schools and shopping malls.

This year’s theme, “Chemistry—It’s Elemental!” honors the 140th anniversary of Dmitri Mendeleev’s periodic table of the elements. “This is a wonderful theme for NCW because most of the public is familiar with the periodic table of the elements,” says Madeleine Jacobs, ACS’s executive director and CEO.

NCW began in 1987 and is coordinated by the ACS Committee on Community Activities with support from the ACS Office of Community Activities. The weeklong celebration unites ACS’s 189 local sections with businesses, schools, and individuals around the country to communicate the importance of chemistry to everyday life.

On Oct. 20, ACS President Thomas H. Lane will attend NCW activities at Ballou High School, in Washington, D.C.

During the week, the ACS Publications Division will offer free access to the ACS Symposium Series, an online collection of more than 1,200 ACS books. And this year, more than 140 ACS local sections will help distribute 12,000 copies of the Merck Index, donated by Merck & Co. through a partnership with ACS, to high schools around the country.

In addition, starting on Oct. 19, the ACS Office of Public Affairs’ four “Chemistry—It’s Elemental!” podcasts will be available in English and Spanish on the NCW website ( as well as on the “Bytesize Science” podcast website (

“By making people more aware of the elements and how they help all of us lead better lives, and by making a critical resource like the Merck Index available to our educators and their students, this year’s NCW is sure to help raise the public’s awareness about the importance of chemistry,” Jacobs says.

That’s not all. ACS is encouraging its Chemistry Ambassadors ( to reach out to local schools during NCW. The American Chemistry Council, the U.S. chemical industry’s main trade organization, is also asking its member companies to participate in NCW activities. And Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) has introduced a resolution in Congress, H.R. 793, to honor NCW 2009.

“Educating our children about the importance of chemistry and the natural sciences invests in both the future of our students and America’s economic competitiveness,” Reyes says.

From the NCW website, visitors can access special issues of ChemMatters and Celebrating Chemistry, link to an interactive periodic table available in 34 languages, and learn more about both the NCW poster contest for students in grades K–12 and the Chemvention Competition for ACS student chapters.

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