“Science, which deals with the infinite, is itself without bounds”.*
The International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements (IYPT) proclaimed by the UN and coordinated by UNESCO and IUPAC in close collaboration with other founding partners (EuChemS, ISC, IUPAP, IAU, IUHPST) is expected to enhance international cooperation by coordinating activities between learned societies, educational establishments and industry, focusing specifically on new partnerships and initiatives in the developing world and establish durable partnerships to ensure that these activities, goals and achievements continue in the future beyond the year 2019. The IYPT provides an exciting opportunity to reflect upon many aspects of the periodic table, including its history, the role of men and women in research, global trends and perspectives on science for sustainable development, as well as its social and economic impacts.
On 10 April 2019, I took the plane from Moscow to Brussels to join the flagship ceremony dedicated to the Centennial of the International Astronomical Union (IUA). The IAU was the founding partner of the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements (IYPT) along with EuChemS, IUPAP and IUHPST. Professor Ewin van Dishoeck, the IAU President, made a brilliant presentation “Origin of Elements in the Outer Space” at the IYPT Grand Opening Ceremony in UNESCO HQ in Paris on 29 January 2019, so, I accepted the invitation to join the IAU Centenary Celebration with great pleasure. You can watch the Grand Opening Ceremony here.
The flight from Moscow to Brussels takes about 3,5 hours. I was looking through the news magazines offered by the stewardess. One of the headlines attracted my attention: “Dialogue with Silence”. The publication dealt with the recent workshop organised by the METI International. Among the primary objectives and the purposes of this organisation is the conducting of scientific research and educational programmes in Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) and to foster multidisciplinary research on the design and transmission of interstellar messages, building a global community of scholars from the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and arts. But how to choose the content of the interstellar message so that it is understandable to everyone and everywhere in the Universe? I believe that most of the readers will have already guessed. Yes, dear colleagues, you are right: by the end of 2019, 150 years after D. Mendeleev discovered the Periodic Law, METI will transmit the interstellar message with the coded Periodic Table of Chemical Elements to the Universe! The comprehensive vision of periodicity is the over-arching concept that will be understood by every and any extraterrestrial intelligence.
I invite you to actively participate in and organise events and activities in your countries so that the role and significance of the Periodic Table is made visible on our planet Earth, as a crucial pillar for scientific knowledge. The initiatives from the Universe are welcome as well. Do not forget to register your event on www.iypt2019.org to make it visible.
Natalia P. Tarasova
IUPAC Past-President, co-chair of the IYPT2019 Management Committee;
Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology of Russia
*Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleev, The Principles of Chemistry (1891), Vol. 1, preface, footnote X, as translated from the Russian 5th edition by George Kamensky, edited by A. J. Greenaway.
EuChemS and ACS meet in Orlando
In April this year, we made our way to Orlando, USA, for the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) yearly National Meeting, following an invitation by the ACS. We were delighted to have the opportunity to present EuChemS, and our latest initiatives at the ACS Committee on international activities / subcommittee for Europe meeting. We also discussed how to further develop collaboration – and in particular, with a focus on how we can, through chemistry, jointly contribute to many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
An example of such collaboration was recently demonstrated at the workshop on Horizon Europe, education and employability, organised by EuChemS and held in the European Parliament on 7 March 2019. A relevant and timely contribution from LaTrease E. Garrison, Executive Vice-President for Education at the ACS was provided by video, in which she analysed the state of employability of chemists in the USA.
Moreover, EuChemS and the ACS are jointly developing the upcoming employability survey for chemists in 2020 following the recent publication of EuChemS’ second employability survey for European chemists in 2018 as well as joint events at the 8th European Chemistry Congress in Lisbon in 2020, following a great success of such joint events at the 7th ECC in Liverpool last year. Stay tuned for our upcoming Lisbon events!
Pilar Goya, President
Nineta Hrastelj, Secretary General