Members Perspectives

Future Members of the Chemical Community

For several years now, a general tendency of the students to choose careers in non-scientific fields is observed. Chemistry, like other STEM (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects, suffers from a lack of attractiveness in the eyes of the younger generation since it requires a lot of work in understanding its language and considerable effort to learn and apply its rules. In addition, in many cases, the public shows hostility against chemistry and chemical processes. Therefore, in many countries assuring the future generation of chemists generates some concerns.

Several programs supported by the EU and other governmental bodies are in operation at European level, aiming to attract the younger generation towards STEM professions. For instance, SCIENTIX[1] is a project funded from the European Union’s H2020 research and innovation programme which aims to promote and support a Europe-wide collaboration among STEM teachers, education researchers, policymakers. In the US, a STEM Education Coalition works aggressively to raise awareness in Congress, the Administration, and other organizations about the critical role that STEM education plays.

Many steps have been taken towards increasing the attractiveness of the science related professions among the younger generation but still much needs to be done. Consequently, in many member societies, there are constant efforts spent to offer the kids the chance to get in contact with science at early stages in an attractive way. For example: in Sweden Berta, a staffed dragon, visits kids and presents interesting chemical reactions. It’s a lovely set of demonstrations, which aren’t huge explosions or massive light shows but which are easily reproducible in the classroom and are colourful and unexpected with good basic science behind them. In Hungary, a world record was established raising public awareness, by performing the same experiment by a large number of people in the same time. Starting from Germany and now going across the EU, a project supported by BASF, called “Kid’s Lab” invites primary school children to perform experiments with their own hands, in perfectly safe conditions, explaining the basic principles behind them and discussing important topics like the vitamin content of our food, or solving pollution problems etc.

Those are just a few examples of the activities conducted so far which could be easily implemented in the activity plans of each Member Society assuring a rich supply of future members of our chemical community.

Cristina Todasca
Romanian Chemical Society