EuChemS has engaged enthusiastically with the IYPT, which was opened in Paris on 29 January and closed in Tokyo on 5 December 2019.
A Task Group, which was responsible for the EuChemS input, decided to limit our activities to a small number but to put great effort into all of them.
It was very good to give so much prominence to the role of women in the development of the Periodic Table through current and former Chairs of the Working Party on the History of Chemistry, Annette Lykknes and Brigitte van Tiggelen’s book, Women in their element. The Historic Role of Female Scientists in the (Pre)History of the Periodic Table and through the Murcia Conference, Setting their Table: Women and the Periodic Table of Elements which, coinciding with the International day of Women and Girls in Science and a Global Women’s breakfast, was wonderfully organized by Pedro Lozano. We must build on this and work harder on diversity in representation on EuChemS Boards, Committees and Professional Networks. The WP also organized a session in the highly successful Mendeleev Conference in St Petersburg.
The EYCN video competition, In their Element, attracted more than 250 90-second entries, many of them outstanding. The Wilkinson Charitable Foundation, which provided funds for the top prize in the under 18 category, has now agreed to sponsor the entire competition in the future.
The video game, Elemental Escapades, A Periodic Table Adventure has been downloaded 2921 times. We hope it will continue to be promoted regularly on social media to provide a lasting legacy.
Finally, the new EuChemS Periodic Table has been very popular in schools and with the general public. Following its launch in the European Parliament by MEPs Catherine Stihler and Clare Moody, it received enormous publicity in 5 continents including interviews on US and Russian independent television, on a South American Blog, an on-line Canadian Journal, several interviews on BBC stations and articles in almost all UK newspapers. Subsequently, it was much in evidence at the IYPT opening and closing ceremonies and Eckhart Rühl presented it on one of the main German television channels during an interview concerning the 2019 Chemistry Nobel Prize for lithium batteries. Many Member Societies have made extensive use of the EuChemS Periodic Table for publicity, in schools, on t-shirts, mugs, etc. It was printed on the participants bags for the closing ceremony.
The Division of Inorganic Chemistry held a highly successful IYPT conference in Moscow.
The legacy must now be to protect vulnerable elements by encouraging more circular use, reducing demand and lobbying for proper recycling facilities. The Task Group will make these missions its priorities.
Former EuChemS President
50 years of EuChemS
The IYPT which has taken place during 2019 has been a most important year for EuChemS because it has allowed us to emphasize the importance of chemistry, and how it will provide solutions to the many challenges humankind will be facing. The year we are starting, 2020, is yet another opportunity for EuChemS to push home this message, since we will be commemorating our 50 years of existence.
The European Chemical Society as we now know it, previously the European Association of Chemical and Molecular Sciences (EuCheMS) started in Prague on 3 July 1970 as FECS, Federation of European Chemical Societies, in an inaugural meeting which was attended by 17 European chemical societies.
The idea of constituting such an umbrella organization started some years before involving, at the beginning, mainly representatives of West European chemical societies, but it soon extended to include East European countries. A “Steering Committee” was established which met alternately in East and West European cities and its members were dedicated to promoting international cooperation and to building the image of European Chemistry which is still part of the mission of today´s EuChemS.
The main activities of FECS had to do with the professional aspects, within the Working Parties on Professional Affairs and Chemical Education, together with eight Working Parties dealing with different aspects of the chemical sciences, namely Analytical Cemistry, Food Chemistry, Organometallic Chemistry, Chemistry and the Environment, History of Chemistry, Electrochemistry, Chemistry and the Conservation of the Cultural Heritage and Computational Chemistry. It is a real tribute to the foresight of our predecessors that many of these topics are still covered by our Professional Networks today.
The FECS Lectures were introduced in 1980, coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the Federation in 1980, and already around 1985 FECS set up a Code of Conduct already anticipating even at that stage the importance of research integrity.
On 14 October 2004 in their General Assembly in Bucharest, FECS adopted the EuCheMS designation, (European Chemical and Molecular Sciences Association), decided to establish their headquarters in Belgium and prepared a new constitution which was finally published in the Belgian Gazette on 28 April 2006. This constitution was signed by 29 chemical societies.
Now, in 2020 EuChemS comprises 51 chemical societies and organisations from 33 different countries, representing around 150.000 chemists. It has grown to be what the founding organizations envisaged 50 years ago. So, we are more than pleased to commemorate our 50th anniversary throughout this year, without having lost any of the enthusiasm and dedication of the pioneers of this adventure, to whom we will always owe much gratitude.
Come and hear more at our 50th anniversary meeting in Prague on 3 July, 2020.