Nation’s Birthplace Hosts U.S. Launch of International Year of Chemistry
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Prominent leaders in the fields of chemical engineering, science, industry and academia convened today for a high-level panel discussion to examine solutions to the pressing issues of energy, safe food and water and human health, at the U.S. launch event for the International Year of Chemistry.
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The United Nations designated 2011 the International Year of Chemistry to recognize the contributions of chemistry to the well-being of humankind. The goals of IYC 2011 are to increase public appreciation of chemistry in meeting world needs, encourage interest in chemistry among young people, and generate enthusiasm for the creative future of chemistry.
Featured panelists included: Andrew Liveris, president and CEO of The Dow Chemical Company; Ellen J. Kullman, chair and CEO of DuPont; Joshua S. Boger, founder and former Chair and CEO, Vertex Pharmaceuticals; Rita Colwell, former director of the National Science Foundation; and Janet Hering, director of the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology.
The panelists highlighted the role chemistry plays in sustainable development in all aspects of human life. For example, chemistry is crucial to ensuring that water is safe to drink. Worldwide, more than 1 billion people lack access to clean drinking water. When added to drinking water, chlorine destroys disease-causing organisms to eliminate waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery.
A key educational and outreach component of IYC 2011 is the Global Experiment – “Water: A Chemical Solution,” intended to educate children around the world about the role that chemistry plays in water quality and purification. Through the Global Experiment, launching in March, teachers and children can conduct experiments that overview a variety of concepts including acidity, salinity, filtration, and solar still water purification.
The panelists also highlighted the role of chemistry in agriculture and ensuring a safe food supply globally, as well as how the products of chemistry can help increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition, chemistry contributes to jobs and innovations in the United States and globally. The business of chemistry is one of America’s largest industries – a $674 billion enterprise that touches every segment of the economy, including 96 percent of all goods manufactured in the United States. The chemistry industry provides 780,000 jobs in the United States and indirectly contributes another 4.3 million jobs to the national economy.
Activities commemorating IYC will continue in Philadelphia this week, including the February 4 opening of “Elemental Matters: Artists Imagine Chemistry” at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and an event February 5 at the Franklin Institute, featuring chemistry experiments for all ages, hosted by the American Chemical Society. For more information on these and other local IYC events, visit the CHF website at www.chemheritage.org.
IYC was developed under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).
SOURCE American Chemistry Council