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ACS News

December 17, 2007
Volume 85, Number 51
pp. 36-43

National Chemistry Week Celebrates 20 Years

The 'Many Faces of Chemistry' theme highlights the diversity of chemists and their careers

Linda Wang

Photo Gallery

Many Faces of Chemistry

During National Chemistry Week 2007, ACS local sections promoted the diversity of chemistry. Here is a sampling of the activities that occurred around the country.

Launch Gallery

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Winning Posters

This year's National Chemistry Week K???12 grade poster contest winners illustrated the "Many Faces of Chemistry."

Launch Gallery

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Careers in chemistry captured the public spotlight during this year's National Chemistry Week (NCW), the American Chemical Society's largest annual chemistry outreach event.

Northern New York Section
Great Show Students from Lawrence Avenue Elementary School learn about chemiluminescence through creative use of glow rings. The event was part of the Northern New York Section's activities.

The weeklong celebration, which took place on Oct. 21-27, highlighted the breadth of careers in chemistry and honored the diversity of people in those careers. More than 10,000 volunteers gathered at schools, malls, universities, libraries, museums, and zoos around the country to engage children and their parents in hands-on activities and demonstrations.

Focusing on diversity was particularly fitting, as this year marked NCW's 20th anniversary. "When you say 'the many faces of chemistry,' all chemists have something to say and something to contribute," says Ingrid Montes, chair of ACS's Committee on Community Activities (CCA). "All areas of chemistry were included in this year's theme, and I think that was very important."

During NCW, ACS local sections unite with businesses, schools, and individuals throughout the U.S. to communicate the importance of chemistry to everyday life. ACS currently has 190 local sections, and nearly all participated in this year's celebration. CCA and the ACS Office of Community Activities (OCA) oversee NCW activities around the country.

Central Wisconsin Section
Early Learning The Central Wisconsin Section treats preschoolers at the child care center at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, to an afternoon of chemistry demonstrations.

To support this year's theme, local sections held career fairs and invited professionals from their communities to talk about how they use chemistry in their jobs. Hands-on activities and demonstrations helped participants get a feel for what it would be like to work in a chemistry-related field.

"It's important to put our faces on chemistry and for us to feel proud to talk about what we do as chemists and how many alternative careers there are for chemistry," says ACS President Catherine T. Hunt.

The groundwork for NCW was laid in 1986 when then-ACS president George C. Pimentel urged councilors to enact a National Chemistry Day. "Every local section, every academic institution, and every chemical industry should be seeking ways to reach out toward the local community. These activities look to the future of chemistry in a constructive way that will, in the long run, benefit everyone," Pimentel wrote in his President's Statement. Then-president-elect Mary L. Good supported Pimentel's efforts by calling for continued and increasing society efforts to improve the public's understanding of chemistry.

Linda Wang/C&EN
Pure Joy Children at Lucy Ellen Moten Elementary School in Washington, D.C., set off pop rockets during the ACS and Chemical Society of Washington's Young Scholars' Day.

The first National Chemistry Day took place on Nov. 6, 1987. A parade in Washington, D.C., kicked off the celebration, and 173 of 182 local sections organized events in their own communities. By 1989, many sections were doing a full week of chemistry activities. In 1993, National Chemistry Day became National Chemistry Week.

Pimentel's widow, Jeanne, says her husband would have been extremely proud to see how large NCW has grown. "I think he would have been absolutely delighted," she says. "But he wouldn't have been satisfied because there's always more to do. What we need is more visibility."

Montes, who is also NCW coordinator for the Puerto Rico Section and a professor of organic chemistry at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, jokes that there should be a National Chemistry Month. Asked whether it would be possible to have a National Chemistry Year, she says, "Sure, why not?"

Nez Calhoun
Foamy As part of the Alabama Section's NCW activities, a member of Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School's Science Club demonstrates the properties of polymers for students at Irondale Middle School.

Joking aside, Montes points out that NCW is just a symbol and that doing chemistry should be a yearlong commitment. She notes that some student affiliate chapters integrate the NCW theme into their activities throughout the year.

Lawmakers also recognize the importance of NCW. Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) introduced a resolution, H.R. 751, supporting the goals and ideals of NCW; the House of Representatives passed it on Oct. 22.

"This year's National Chemistry Week reminds us that our work is not done promoting diversity within the sciences," said Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) in a statement. "While the number of women, African Americans, and Hispanics earning advanced science and engineering degrees has increased, growth has stagnated recently and these groups remain underrepresented when compared to the general population. If the U.S. is to remain the focus of scientific research and innovation in an increasingly competitive global playing field, we must continue to broaden these groups."

East Tennessee Section
Encore Chemistry professor Hazari of the East Tennessee Section performs his annual chemistry magic show for visitors of all ages at the University of Tennessee.

As in previous years, ACS also received a presidential proclamation in support of NCW. "Congratulations on reaching this milestone," wrote President George W. Bush. "I appreciate the students, teachers, and scientists participating in National Chemistry Week for your work to further our country's legacy of progress in the field of chemistry. Your efforts represent the best of the American spirit and help ensure that our nation continues to be at the forefront of science and technology."

The ACS Office of Legislative & Government Affairs hosted a reception on Capitol Hill on Oct. 23 for members of Congress and highlighted the many careers in which chemistry plays a critical role.

OCA invited students in grades K-12 to participate in a poster contest about how science and chemistry are used by people in different careers. Photographers use chemistry to develop film and make prints, and veterinarians use chemistry to understand which medicines to give to pets, for example.

Undergraduate student affiliate chapters competed in Chemvention, a problem-solving contest. This year's challenge was to develop a hands-on activity for elementary school children in grades 4-6 based on the 2008 NCW theme, "Having a Ball with Chemistry." The activities had to show how chemistry is connected to sports materials and performance, and the students had to stay within a $50 budget.

Erie Section
Surprise Children use iodine to test for starch in apple slices during the Erie Section's free museum event.

Five chapters will be chosen as finalists and will be encouraged to present posters of their projects at Sci-Mix during the spring 2008 ACS national meeting in New Orleans. The grand prize winner will be announced by Dec. 31 and will be recognized during the Student Affiliates Award Ceremony that will also be held in New Orleans. The grand prize winner will receive $2,500 toward travel to an ACS national meeting. The remaining groups will each receive $1,000 for travel to an ACS national meeting.

As part of the weeklong NCW celebration, local sections distributed more than 185,000 copies of the ACS activity newspaper Celebrating Chemistry; 15,600 copies were printed in Spanish. In addition, ChemMatters and the Journal of Chemical Education dedicated their October issues to this year's theme. ACS Publications recognized the diversity of chemists around the world and across disciplines by drawing attention to the authors of five "Hot Papers." The new www.acs.org website featured NCW during the month of October.

Many organizations supported NCW. For example, the American Chemistry Council encouraged its members to participate in NCW celebrations and offered "essential2" campaign posters for free to coordinators. And many donors contributed to the activities of each local section.

Florida Section
Stretch Student affiliates from Florida Southern College break for a silly moment while hosting hands-on activities for the Florida Section.

During the fall ACS national meeting in Boston, to celebrate NCW's 20th anniversary, CCA and OCA cosponsored an all-day symposium with the Committees on Technician Affairs and on Minority Affairs on the history of NCW, volunteerism, and ways to effectively communicate chemistry. The Women Chemists Committee and the Joint Subcommittee on Diversity also incorporated the NCW theme into their Boston programming. In addition, CCA sponsored an anniversary reception to recognize five-, 10-, 15-, and 20-year volunteers. "Without the volunteers, we would be nothing," Montes notes.

Each NCW celebration is unique. "What I think is the key thing about National Chemistry Week is that it involves the local sections and gives them free rein to do what they like, which is so appropriate because every place is different geographically and culturally," Jeanne Pimentel says.

C&EN asked local sections to submit summaries of their NCW activities. Here are some of the highlights.

The midwestern sections offered a variety of programs for all ages. In Dayton, Ohio, on Oct. 27, eight volunteers from the Dayton Section engaged 125 children in experiments on superabsorbing polymers, aspirin, and photo paper. The daylong event took place at Washington-Centerville Public Library. The section also hosted two days of activities at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, in Dayton, on Nov. 3 and 4.

Elsewhere in the state, the Cincinnati Section organized a Science Caf?? on the topic of chemistry careers of the future. Chemists from flavors and fragrances company Givaudan, chemical supplier Twin Rivers Technologies Natural Ingredients, and Emerson Climate Technologies talked about how they use chemistry in their jobs.

The Upper Ohio Valley Section held its activities on Nov. 3 at the Grand Central Mall in Vienna, W.Va. More than 90 children and their parents stopped by the booths to participate in hands-on activities and demonstrations. Student affiliates and faculty from Marietta College, in Ohio, as well as faculty from Ohio University, in Athens, and Washington State Community College, in Marietta, volunteered at the event.

In the spirit of Halloween, student volunteers from the Minnesota Section dressed up as nurses, carpenters, bakers, and other professionals to highlight the various careers in which chemistry is used. The volunteers engaged children with hands-on activities at the Minneapolis Public Library.

The La Crosse-Winona Section also tied its activities to chemistry-related careers. Around 50 high school students and their teachers gathered at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota for a night of chemical problem solving as they assumed the role of environmental chemist, food chemist, nanotechnologist, synthetic chemist, and polymer chemist.

Idaho Section
Safety First Students at Idaho State University put on a colored flame show.

Many sections attracted visitors through heavy promotion of their events. The Kalamazoo Section advertised its NCW activities by distributing place mats to 11 area restaurants. As a result of this and other promotional efforts, more than 1,000 visitors participated in the section's Chemistry Day at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum on Oct. 13.

The Midland Section advertised its annual Sci-Fest by distributing 25,000 fliers to area schools. It also promoted the event in local magazines, on the Internet, and through a local television program. As a result, 1,500 visitors came to the event on Oct. 27.

Despite poor weather, more than 500 people made it out to Lakes Mall, in Muskegon, Mich., to take part in activities hosted by the Western Michigan Section. One of the highlights was making slime from polyvinyl alcohol. In addition, chemists from Gentex and Grand Valley State University entertained the audience with ketchup races (to demonstrate viscosity), experiments involving liquid nitrogen, and elephant's toothpaste demonstrations (to show the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide).

The Michigan State University Section also reported strong attendance at its Chemistry Day, which was held at the Impression 5 Science Center, in Lansing. More than 1,300 visitors participated in the hands-on activities and demonstrations and received free admission to the museum. Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops who joined the activities earned a patch with this year's theme. The Erie Section also sponsored a free museum day in collaboration with Pennsylvania State University, Erie, the Behrend College. More than 350 visitors took part in a dozen hands-on activities, each celebrating a career in the chemical sciences.

In Wisconsin, the Central Wisconsin Section showed that you're never too young to learn chemistry. Volunteers performed simple chemistry demonstrations for preschool children at the child care center of the University of Wisconsin, Stephens Point.

The St. Louis Section held its Chemistry Expo at the St. Louis Science Center. Scientists from Covidien, Monsanto, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Agriculture were on hand to help students with a variety of activities, including adding water to cross-linked sodium polyacrylate to make instant snow.

On Oct. 12, the Indiana-Kentucky Border Section hosted an overnight "lock-in" event for 75 Girl Scouts on the campus of the University of Southern Indiana. The students participated in science experiments to earn a merit badge. NCW activities included demonstrations at the Evansville Museum of Arts & Sciences, a chemistry bowl competition on Mole Day (an Oct. 23 celebration of Avogadro's number), a tour of the chemistry facilities at the University of Southern Indiana, and visits to fourth-grade classes.

Julie Switzer
Future Chemist A child peers through a cutout during an event hosted by the Indiana Section at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis.

On Nov. 2, the Indiana Section hosted a day of experiments for boys and girls visiting the Children's Museum of Indianapolis.

Tennessee was no exception when it came to drawing large crowds. The Nashville Section reached 25,000 visitors with its career fair, and student affiliates handed out periodic table cookies. The section also distributed more than 15,000 copies of Celebrating Chemistry.

Nashville Section
Snack For Mole Day, students from Middle Tennessee State University display a periodic table of cookies. Giving out treats was among the Nashville Section's many activities during the week.

The Northeast Tennessee Section hosted two days of demonstrations and activities for 1,400 fourth-graders from around the region. The children toured interactive booths covering topics such as density, pH, and cross-linked polymers. Volunteers from local businesses highlighted the role of science and math in the workplace.

At the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, chemistry professor Al Hazari staged his popular chemistry magic show. Approximately 250 visitors between the ages of five and 105 attended. The East Tennessee Section also obtained NCW proclamations from Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam.

In Washington, D.C., ACS staff partnered with the American Chemistry Council and volunteers from the Chemical Society of Washington Section to host Young Scholars' Day for students at Lucy Ellen Moten Elementary School. Hands-on activities included launching a pop rocket powered by antacid tablets and demonstrating the effects of sunscreen. Volunteers described how each activity is related to a career in chemistry. ACS staff also held an in-house reception.

Spencer Hochstetler
Buzz During a Northeast Tennessee Section event, students from Washington Elementary School, Kingsport, Tenn., discover that they can conduct electricity.

The activities of the Maryland Section included a chemistry magic show at Towson University and an alternative energy symposium at Hood College, in Frederick. Demonstrations also took place at local libraries and elementary schools. Volunteers handed out periodic table cookies at Loyola College, in Baltimore.

The Western Maryland Section organized an all-day flavor symposium in conjunction with the Smithsonian's traveling taste exhibit. Approximately 180 students from local schools and Frostburg State University attended. Volunteers from the section also visited nearby high schools and performed chemical demonstrations for approximately 150 students.

More than 900 children and their parents participated in the Virginia Section's three-day event at the Science Museum of Virginia, in Richmond. Through various activities, children learned about chromatography, fingerprinting, cosmetic chemistry, and chemical engineering, and they took on roles of cosmetic chemist, forensic scientist, and chemical engineer. They also learned that many items in their homes were developed by chemists.

On Nov. 3, the Philadelphia Section partnered with the local chapter of the Association for Women in Science to focus on women scientists as role models. Sixth-grade girls participating in the Expanding Your Horizons program spent the day with women scientists and engineers.

The Pittsburgh Section focused its efforts on encouraging minorities to enter science. Volunteers reached out to at-risk minority students in the southwestern Pennsylvania area by offering free admission to their activities at the Carnegie Science Center. Through this program, 1,575 students from 23 schools were able to participate in the NCW celebration.

Michael Mautino
Look At Me The Pittsburgh Section celebrates the "Many Faces of Chemistry" at the Carnegie Science Center.

Up north, the New York Section held its activities at the New York Hall of Science, in Queens. Scientists from Pepsi taught visitors how to flavor and color their own sodas, scientists from International Flavors & Fragrances tested participants' ability to identify different scents, and scientists from VWR Scientific Products demonstrated equipment used in chemistry labs.

Elsewhere in the state, 1,000 visitors participated in the Eastern New York Section's activities at the New York State Museum, in Albany. And 650 students from local schools gathered at the Corning Museum of Glass as part of the Corning Section's activities. In addition, professionals from various careers talked about how chemistry is used in their jobs.

Children participating in the Northern New York Section's NCW activities played the role of a chemist as they analyzed balloons filled with various chemicals. They also pretended to be engineers designing, building, and testing boats made of aluminum.

In New Jersey, Princeton University's Frick Laboratory hosted the Princeton Section's NCW activities. George W. Chin of the New Jersey State Police Office of Forensic Sciences showed visitors how chemistry is used in solving crimes. Visitors then made their own toothpaste, explored properties of polymers, and used liquid nitrogen to freeze flowers.

The Northeastern Section hosted a variety of activities at the Museum of Science in Boston and the Boston Children's Museum, starting with a kickoff event on Oct. 21. More than 1,000 visitors participated in eight hands-on activities including determining the sugar content of cereals and beverages. The following day, nine scientists from diverse fields spoke to 200 high school students about their careers.

In the southeastern U.S., NCW activities were also in full swing. Volunteers from the Carolina-Piedmont Section and students from Appalachian State University, in Boone, N.C., entertained 235 children from six area elementary schools with activities in pH testing, kinetics, and carbon dioxide formation.

Among the Alabama Section's activities, members of the Science Club at Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School, in Birmingham, put on demonstrations for approximately 200 students from Irondale Middle School.

Meanwhile, student affiliates from the University of North Alabama, in Florence, hosted a Chemistry & Industrial Hygiene Career Day for the Wilson Dam Section. Approximately 130 students attended the event and learned about various careers in chemistry.

In the Auburn Section, student affiliates from Tuskegee University promoted NCW by donning T-shirts and temporary tattoos. They also celebrated Mole Day by holding a contest to calculate the number of moles of Skittles candies in an irregularly shaped container.

Along the Gulf Coast, local sections continued to give back to the community. On Oct. 27, the Baton Rouge Section and the department of chemistry at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, hosted Super Science Saturday at the university's Maddox Field House. Volunteers from nearby corporations such as Albemarle, BASF, and ExxonMobil staged a variety of demonstrations; more than 1,000 people participated.

The Northwest Louisiana Section sponsored hands-on activities at the Sci-Port Discovery Center, in Shreveport. About 50 volunteers from Centenary College of Louisiana, in Shreveport; LSU, Shreveport; LSU Health Sciences Center, New Orleans; and Northwestern State University, in Natchitoches, facilitated activities for 220 schoolchildren.

Georgia local sections continued their tradition of strong participation in NCW. The Savannah River Section held its activities at the National Science Center's Fort Discovery, in Augusta; the University of South Carolina, Aiken; and Aiken Mall. The section also donated copies of "Forgotten Genius," the film biography about pioneering African American chemist Percy Lavon Julian (C&EN, Oct. 2, 2006, page 52) to 31 area high schools.

The Georgia Section and the Sigma Xi chapter of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention hosted a Science Caf??, where David Lynn of Emory University and Nicholas Hud of Georgia Institute of Technology talked about the chemistry involved in the origin of life.

Despite a rainy week, the Middle Georgia Section pulled off their biggest and best NCW celebration ever. Student affiliates from Georgia College & State University, in Milledgeville, and Mercer University, in Macon, partnered with other student organizations to engage in a week of activities that reached more than 2,000 people. In addition, scientists from pigment company Thiele Kaolin, in Sandersville, held a day of activities at a local elementary school with 135 children.

Florida's local sections had a lot of support from their student affiliate groups. On Oct. 20, student affiliates from Florida Southern College, in Lakeland, partnered with official ACS-chartered high school ChemClubs to perform activities with children at a local mall and at a children's museum as part of the Florida Section's activities. And in the South Florida Section, student affiliates from Barry University, in Miami Shores, and Florida International University, Miami, joined students from Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School, in Miami, and Broward Community College, in Fort Lauderdale, for the section's annual Science Day at the Mall.

The NCW activities of the Central New Mexico Section provided a welcome respite for students from Innesence School, Santa Fe, N.M., who recently lost a classmate to a fire. The school's science teacher distributed NCW T-shirts and helped the students build molecular models with marshmallows and toothpicks.

Volunteers from the Central Arizona Section arranged for professionals to visit high school students at Brophy College Preparatory, in Phoenix, and describe how chemistry plays a role in their jobs. The professionals came from two law firms, a pharmaceutical company, a juice manufacturing plant, and a botanicals company.

On Oct. 13, the Salt Lake City Public Library was buzzing with activity. Volunteers from the Salt Lake Section set up 19 activity booths, each highlighting a different field of chemistry. As children rotated through the booths, they learned about packaging chemistry, soap and surfactant chemistry, and polymer chemistry.

In Idaho, volunteers from the Idaho Section and Idaho State University, Pocatello, visited several elementary schools and performed demonstrations and hands-on activities.

And in Nevada, chemists from the Environmental Protection Agency and student affiliates from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, carried out various chemical demonstrations for fifth-graders and their teachers as part of the Southern Nevada Section's NCW activities.

On Mole Day, more than 400 students and their families attended Family Science Night at Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School, Moraga, Calif. The event was organized by the California Section and featured a career fair, live music, science magic show, and a dozen demonstrations. Jeanne Pimentel welcomed guests and spoke about the first National Chemistry Day in 1987.

The Orange County Section held its NCW activities at the Santa Ana Zoo and offered free admission to more than 2,000 residents of Santa Ana. On Nov. 4, the San Diego Section held its annual ChemExpo at Balboa Park. The event attracted more than 2,300 visitors.

Robert Cohen
Intrigued Children participating in the Orange County Section's activities learn about acid/base indicators.

The Santa Clara Valley Section hosted its activities at the Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose. Volunteers from the section also organized an interactive panel discussion on "Drugs, Bombs, and CSI: Your Future Careers in Chemistry" at De Anza College, in Cupertino. A panel of chemists talked about career opportunities in chemistry.

The San Joaquin Valley Section held NCW activities at Bakersfield College. Students made posters and PowerPoint presentations on the periodic table of elements and voted for their favorites. The posters and PowerPoint presentations were displayed outside the chemistry labs.

On Oct. 26, the Southern California Section held an alumni reunion and career fair at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Several alumni making up the panel of speakers were student affiliates when NCW began in 1987.

Up north in Oregon, the Oregon Section hosted Discovery Days, a two-day event sponsored by the College of Science and the Collge of Engineering at Oregon State University, Corvalis. Nearly 2,000 elementary and middle school children participated in hands-on activities involving chromatography, density, and polymers.

Student affiliates from Evergreen State College, Olympia, Wash., engaged children in various activities at Timberland Regional Library, in Olympia, as part of the Puget Sound Section's NCW celebration. In the spirit of Halloween, the Montana Section hosted a Creepy Science Bash, where students used dry ice to make pumpkins explode.

The Heart O' Texas Section kicked off the week's activities with demos at the Railroad & Heritage Museum in Temple. Later in the week, student affiliates from the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor, in Belton, put on a light show featuring the chemistry of luminescence.

Student affiliates participating in the South Texas Section's activities performed demonstrations at McAllen Memorial Library for more than 40 children and their parents. The students also celebrated Mole Day by handing out periodic table cupcakes and 1 mol of water to toast the day. Texas A&M Section's activities included a Chemistry Road Show featuring explosions, "weird" polymers, and supercold materials.

Whitney Green
Creative Casadonte, NCW coordinator for the South Plains Section, mimes during a poetry reading at Texas Tech University.

Among the South Plains Section's activities were a Chemical Magic Show for 100 students at Lauro Cavazos Middle School in Lubbock, Texas, and a chemical demo show for students at Texas Tech University, in Lubbock, and Brownfield High School. Both shows were put on by Dominick Casadonte, NCW coordinator for the South Plains Section and a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Texas Tech.

And in Puerto Rico, more than 200 volunteers engaged thousands of visitors in activities during the Festival de Qu??mica in San Juan. Among other events organized by the Puerto Rico Section were chemical demonstrations, chemistry contests, lectures, public exhibits, open houses, and visits to schools and industrial facilities.

José Rodriguez
Splash Students aren't afraid to get their hands dirty during the Puerto Rico Section's "Festival de QuÍmica."

As NCW continues to grow, coordinators look for ways to keep the public engaged. "You have to keep up with the taste and sophistication of the younger generation," Jeanne Pimentel says. "If we want to interest kids, we have to get into their heads, and we have to present chemistry in ways they like to look at the world." One of her ideas is to encourage children to produce videos on chemistry-related topics.

Another challenge is to stay relevant to society at large. "I would love to see us link NCW to things that have a real societal impact," Hunt says. "Link it to energy, food, water, and sustainability so that we really make that connection between chemists and what chemists do."

Montes says she would like to see NCW have a more global reach. And Hunt points out that at a recent European Association for Chemical & Molecular Sciences meeting, leaders of the European chemical societies passed a resolution supporting activities similar to NCW in their respective countries. Serbia held its version of NCW this year. "We all have so much in common," Hunt says. "It's wonderful for us to each share what we do best."

Next year's NCW "Having a Ball with Chemistry" celebration will take place on Oct. 19–25 and will highlight the chemistry in sports.

In addition, CCA and the ACS Office of Community Activities have already begun planning for the 25th anniversary celebration of NCW.

Although much planning goes into each year's NCW celebration, there's always room for spontaneity. "Look around and see what opportunity there is to teach the public about chemistry," Pimentel says. "And take every opportunity there is."

Many Faces of Chemistry Photos

During National Chemistry Week 2007, ACS local sections promoted the diversity of chemistry. Here is a sampling of the activities that occurred around the country.

Jeff Johansen

A volunteer from the Indiana Section demonstrates the flammability of some gases.

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Alissa Daniels

During the Northeastern Section's activities at the Boston Children's Museum, a visitor isolates iron from Total cereal.
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Robert Cohen

A large crowd turned out for Rudy Gonzalez' Radical Science Show hosted by the Orange County Section.
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Greg Wall

During the St. Louis section's Chemistry Expo event at the St. Louis Science Center, a girl gets comfortable inside a Hoberman sphere model of reentrant foam.
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New York Section

Among the New York Section's activities, chemists from Pepsi show children how to flavor and color their own sodas.
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Steve Falling

Fourth-grade students attending activities organized by the Northeastern Tennessee Section wait for a reaction that will dislodge an egg.
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Linda Wang/C&EN

Boys concentrate on making pop rockets during the ACS and Chemical Society of Washington's Young Scholars' Day.
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Steve Falling

A volunteer from the Northeastern Tennessee Section performs an experiment involving liquid nitrogen.
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Janice Hironaka

Fletcher Daniels, vice president of the Michigan State University chapter of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists & Chemical Engineers, explains fluorescence to a group of Boy Scouts.
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Elise Zablowsky

At the Museum of Science in Boston, Bassam Z. Shakhashiri of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, delights the audience with an experiment involving dry ice.
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Linda Wang/C&EN

Students at Lucy Ellen Moten Elementary School, in Washington, D.C., learn about protective coatings through an activity involving wax during the ACS and Chemical Society of Washington's Young Scholars' Day.
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Steve Falling

Francis Webster of Radford University coaxes a genie out of the bottle during his Magic of Chemistry presentation on behalf of the Northeast Tennessee Section.
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José A. Prieto

The Puerto Rico Section hosts its annual Festival de Qu??mica in San Juan.
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Virginia Section

Children attending the Virginia Section's event at the Science Museum of Virginia learn how to make polymer putty with glue, water, and Borax.
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Jonathan L. Josephs

A budding chemist tests his toothpaste formulation during the Princeton Section's activities at Princeton University's Frick Laboratory.
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Salt Lake City Section

Sand pulled from a bucket of water dries instantly in this activity organized by the Salt Lake City Section.
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Central New Mexico Section

Students from Innesence School in Santa Fe, N.M., show off their National Chemistry Week T-shirts bearing the buckyball.
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Catrena Lisse

A student affiliate participating in the Middle Georgia Section's activities demonstrates inertia for a resident of the Georgia War Veterans Home in Milledgeville.
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Alex Madonik

Students make slime during the California Section's Family Science Night.
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Gail Cozza

Children participate in activities hosted by the Eastern New York Section at the New York State Museum in Albany.
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Savannah River Section

The Savannah River Section hosts activities such as making slime during Science Education Enrichment Day at the University of South Carolina, Aiken.
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J. Sanchez

During the Heart O' Texas' Demos in the Dark at the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor, National Chemistry Week coordinator Darrell Watson finishes his show with a bang.
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Montana Section

Joe Harworth, an undergraduate student at the University of Montana, gets caught up in the excitement of blowing up pumpkins with dry ice.
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Jay Gee

During a Science Café event hosted by the Georgia Section, Nick Hud of Georgia Institute of Technology talks about the chemistry of the origin of life.
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NCW Poster Contest Winners Announced

The ACS Committee on Community Activities and the Office of Community Activities have announced the winners of the 2007 National Chemistry Week Poster Contest.

K???2nd Grade

Mikal C. Ankrah
K-2 First Place

First-place winner in the K???2nd grade category:
Annabel Haberberger, Pittsburgh Section. View Enlarged Image
Mikal C. Ankrah
K-2 Second Place

Second-place winner in the K???2nd grade category:
Sophia Olson, Portland Section. View Enlarged Image

3rd-4th Grade

Mikal C. Ankrah
3-4 First Place

First-place winner in the 3rd???4th grade category:
Amelia Milne, Santa Clara Valley Section. View Enlarged Image
Mikal C. Ankrah
3-4 Second Place

Second-place winner in the 3rd???4th grade category:
Alexis Osmolowski, Central Massachusetts Section. View Enlarged Image

5th-8th Grade

Mikal C. Ankrah
5-8 First Place

First-place winner in the 5th???8th grade category:
Annie Yang, Milwaukee Section. View Enlarged Image
Mikal C. Ankrah
5-8 Second Place

Second-place winner in the 5th???8th grade category:
Karlee Murawski, Erie Section. View Enlarged Image

9th-12th Grade

Mikal C. Ankrah
9-12 First Place

First-place winner in the 9th???12th grade category:
Wendy Reyes, Rio Grande Valley Section. View Enlarged Image
Mikal C. Ankrah
9-12 Second Place

Second-place winner in the 9th???12th grade category:
John Galin, New Haven Section. View Enlarged Image

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