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Highlights from the International Year of Chemistry

As the International Year of Chemistry comes to an end, it’s worth looking back on some of the amazing contests and events that took place. Many of them have left behind lasting resources that will be useful for decades to come.

The Future We Create
A group of 30 of the brightest minds in chemistry delivered lectures on problems that future generations will face, such as finding sustainable fuels or feedstocks, and ways that chemistry may be able to solve those problems.

Honors and Activities for Women in Science
This year, the Royal Society of Chemistry elected its first female president, and the cover of the September 2011 issue of Nature Chemistry featured a portrait of Marie Curie made from a mosaic of photographs of female scientists. And Future We Create hosted a remarkable virtual conference on the future of women’s roles in science.
Nature Chemistry Cover

YouTube Mania
Dow Chemical and The Franklin Institute created a series of videos called “Celebrating Chemistry.” The series features lots of experiments that kids can do at home.

The “It’s, Chemistry, Eh?” video contest motivated lots of students to make charming short films, including a great parody of Material girl.

Nearly 700 students submitted videos to the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s “It’s Elemental” contest.

A New Blog is Born
Inspired by the International Year of Chemistry, @sulfur_blue created a new blog called Everyday Chemistry in an attempt to generate enthusiasm for chemistry in the general public. Be sure to check out the list of chemistry-adapted movie titles.

Caring for Water
Thousands of students around the world built solar stills, tested the pH and salinity of their water, and learned about providing safe drinking water as part of the Global Water Experiment. Meanwhile, the American Chemical Society raised money for and awareness of the Pennies for PUR program, which provides packets of water purification chemicals to areas where they are needed.

Special Issues
In honor of the International Year of Chemistry, C&EN’s June 27 issue featured a collection of essays on the contributions of chemistry to humanity. Nature created an IYC website with dozens of articles about everything from research to careers.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of the IYC activities that occurred over the last twelve months. Feel free to share in the comments any of your favorite activities that didn’t get a mention.

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