2019: A year to celebrate Chemistry
As we celebrate a new year, our first thoughts immediately turn to the commemoration of the International Year of the Periodic Table (IYPT2019), a wonderful and significant worldwide celebration and of particular relevance to EuChemS. This initiative which already began in 2017 is the result of the efforts of several associations, including IUPAC, IUPAP, ICSU, IAU, IUHPS and of course EuChemS. From the very beginning, we have played an active part in promoting the IYPT, recognising it as a great opportunity to transmit to society the importance of chemistry, and to highlight its role in providing solutions to the many challenges humankind is facing, and will continue to face in coming years.
As we celebrate the Periodic Table, a truly iconic symbol in science, EuChemS decided that it would be interesting to design and provide our own icon. The result is a unique and different periodic table that aims to be thought-provoking and stimulate debate on sustainability. If we want future generations to study a periodic table as we have known it, we need to be very careful with how we use, misuse and recycle the 90 elements that make up everything. This is the message behind our table. We wish to highlight the real threat for many elements and in addition, show the unsustainable use of endangered elements in our smartphones.
This table of element scarcity has been very well received by our member societies, and we can already boast of having had it translated in over 20 languages, with more expected soon. The EuChemS Periodic Table was officially launched on 22nd January 2019 at the European Parliament.
Another important initiative to promote the Periodic Table and in particular to reach younger generations is the very recent video game we have developed. The target audience is 11-15-year-old children and the aim is to explain the basis of the periodic table and compound formation while engaging in a fun and otherworldly adventure. Everything you need to know about the game can be found here.
Throughout the year we will be participating in many of the events organised worldwide as well as in close collaboration with our member societies. In January 2019, we headed to Paris for the IYPT 2019 Opening Ceremony, where our table and video game were exhibited and promoted. The next event, in which we are co-organisers, is the International Symposium “Setting their Table: Women and the Periodic Table of Elements” taking place at the University of Murcia (Spain) 11-12 February.
Since chemistry is an integral part of Europe´s shared cultural heritage, EuChemS launched in 2018 a Historical Landmark Award to identify chemical sites that have played a vital role in defining the cultural makeup and history of Europe. The award is presented at two levels, one European and one regional. The Ytterby mine in Sweden was given this first European Award because it was the source of new elements identified during the XIXth century. We will be placing an award plaque in April this year. This will moreover be intertwined with the IYPT celebrations because of the importance the elements discovered at the Ytterby mine have played in the development of the periodic table.
The first regional Historical Landmark was awarded to the industrial complex of ABEA in Crete, Greece. The site played a pivotal role in developing the region of Chania, linking traditional olive oil production with more elaborated compounds. We look forward to a great popular celebration in which we plan to involve the local community.
Despite much of our effort devoted to the IYPT, EuChemS will continue focusing on its many other activities. We are very pleased to welcome the Union of Chemists of Bulgaria who will be joining us this year. Our General Assembly will be held in Bucharest, Romania, early October and we are extremely grateful to the Romanian Chemical Society for hosting us. We have scheduled this General Assembly in such a way that we have the opportunity to interact more closely with our professional networks and member societies.
The EYCN delegate assembly, which will gather young chemists from over 25 countries will take place in Bremen, Germany, co-organised with the GDCh to whom we are grateful.
All in all, 2019 will be a most memorable year for chemistry, chemists and EuChemS and beyond, so let me just encourage you to participate in all the events, global or local, so we can insist on our message that
chemistry has the potential to radically change our lives for the better,
and that it can play a pivotal role in finding solutions to challenges facing our planet, our environment and our social woes.
Pilar Goya Laza
EuChemS at IYPT2019 Opening Ceremony
On 29 January 2019, EuChemS President Pilar Goya, together with the EuChemS Secretariat made their way to Paris for the opening ceremony of the International Year of the Periodic Table (IYPT2019). The celebrations drew over 700 participants from around the world, and included an outstanding line-up of speakers, led by Ben Feringa, Chemistry Nobel Laureate 2016, Yuri Oganessian, best known for discovering element 118, and Sir Martyn Poliakoff, who delivered an entertaining and educational talk on the various Periodic Tables in his office – including the recent EuChemS Periodic Table of element scarcity. In the exhibition area, our latest initiative, the video game ‘Elemental Escapades!’ was available to try out, whilst a framed EuChemS Periodic Table was on display. The many inspiring discussions that took place, and the numerous upcoming activities to celebrate the IYPT2019, bode well for making this year an especially important one for Chemistry and science in the world. EuChemS is one of the founding partners of the IYPT2019.