The UN General Assembly has designated 2011 as the International Year of Chemistry—IYC 2011. The United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is collaborating with the International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) to coordinate IYC 2011 activities. And the American Chemical Society is taking the lead in coordinating events to celebrate IYC 2011 in the U.S.
One of the ACS initiatives is an effort to have the U.S. Postal Service adopt chemistry as a theme for a commemorative stamp in 2011. Since USPS gets about 50,000 subject requests per year and awards only 25 commemorative stamps per year, your efforts are needed to advance this cause. More on that in a moment.
Activities planned during IYC 2011 will accomplish the following:
- Increase the public appreciation of chemistry in meeting world needs
- Increase the interest of young people in chemistry
- Generate enthusiasm for the creative future of chemistry
- Celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Mme. Curie Nobel Prize in Chemistry and the 100th anniversary of the founding of the International Association of Chemical Societies (the predecessor to IUPAC).
As Judith L. Benham, chair of the ACS Board of Directors, wrote in a letter to ACS committee chairs earlier this year: "The principal goal of IYC is to celebrate the achievements of chemistry and its contributions to the well-being of humankind. We are pleased that this goal dovetails with the ACS vision and mission and several of ACS's top strategic goals: to create and sustain global scientific community; to address global challenges through chemistry; and to communicate the nature and value of chemistry and related sciences."
The UN celebrated 2005 as the International Year of Physics. This year, 2009, is the UN's International Year of Astronomy. For some weird reason, the U.S. government has a policy against supporting International Year designations, so if our country is going to have a significant presence during IYC 2011, it's going to be up to ACS to take the lead.
We have formed a staff task force, on which I sit as C&EN's representative, to help focus our efforts. We have some time to decide on and prepare for events in 2011. It seems likely that already planned events such as Chemists Celebrate Earth Day and National Chemistry Week will have an IYC 2011 flavor to them.
We don't have as much time for the commemorative stamp effort. We would like the Citizen's Stamp Advisory Committee to act this year in recommending a chemistry commemorative stamp for 2011. One powerful tool we have is a petition signed by tens of thousands of Americans requesting such a commemorative stamp.
In this week's print edition is just such a petition, ready for you to remove from C&EN and circulate widely. It doesn't have to be signed just by chemists. You can take it to work, circulate it in your neighborhood, and have family and friends sign it. If you do not want to tear it out of C&EN, you can download a PDF file.
As soon as possible, but no later than Nov. 1, 2009, please mail the completed petitions to ACS Celebrates IYC 2011, c/o American Chemical Society, Office of International Activities, 1155—16th St., N.W., Washington, DC 20036, or fax them to (202) 872-6317. For more information on ACS activities related to IYC 2011, please visit www.acs.org/iyc2011.
Thanks for reading. And thanks for signing!