Philadelphia to Host Opening Week of United Nations Designated International Year of Chemistry

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Events Across City Planned to Engage Public in Value of Chemistry

We want people to understand chemistry’s role in leading innovation in America and around the world

The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) along with venues across the city will host the U.S. opening week of the United Nations International Year of Chemistry or IYC in America. The purpose of IYC is to celebrate the value and relevance of chemistry to the world and show the public about the importance of this science.

“We want people to understand chemistry’s role in leading innovation in America and around the world,” said Thomas R. Tritton, President and CEO, The Chemical Heritage Foundation. “Chemistry is at the heart of solving many of our most daunting problems including developing new medicines, inventing useful materials and technologies, sustaining food production and creating new energy sources.”

Opening week of IYC at The Chemical Heritage Foundation will feature a diversity of opportunities for interactive learning and fun for both the industry and the general public. These activities include:

  • February 1: “Global Challenges, Chemistry Solutions”, a panel discussion featuring some of the brightest minds from academia and the industry. Led by Daniel Nocera, the Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy and Professor of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the panel will also include Andrew Liveris, Chairman and CEO, The Dow Chemical Company; Ellen Kullman Chair and CEO, DuPont; Janet Hering, Director, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology; Joshua S. Boger, former Chair and CEO, current board member, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Rita Colwell, Distinguished University Professor, University of Maryland at College Park, and former Director, National Science Foundation.
  • February 2: Meeting of IYC Book Club, in collaboration with Headhouse Books, will feature

The Emperor of Scent by Chandler Burr. Chemist Joseph Rucker of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia will be on hand to discuss the sense and sensibility of smell.

  • February 3: Celebration of the life and work of Percy Julian with a historical interpretation of the highly successful African-American chemist and businessman by actor James Armstead. Armstead will bring Percy Julian to life for student groups at the African-American Museum of Philadelphia and at The College of Physicians.
  • February 4: Elemental Matters, a new exhibit of seven contemporary artists responding to the Periodic Table of Elements, that will open on Friday, February 4, at The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF). The artists will be in the gallery talking about their work between 5pm and 8pm when CHF opens its doors for First Friday in Philadelphia. Their work will be on display in CHF’s Hach Gallery through November of 2011.
  • February 5: Chemistry at the Franklin Museum hosted by the American Chemical Society. Volunteers from across the region will guide visitors to the Franklin Institute through chemistry experiments for all ages.

Separate from these activities, CHF will host Science on Tap on January 14, featuring Sam Kean, author of The Disappearing Spoon and Other True Tales of Madness, Love and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of Elements.

CHF has also launched It’s Elemental, a national high school video competition that invites students to submit videos inspired by a single element for an interactive periodic table. The deadline for entries is January 7, 2011. For more information:

Check our events schedule often to find the latest gatherings to celebrate the International Year of Chemistry.

About the Chemical Heritage Foundation
The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) fosters an understanding of chemistry’s impact on society. An independent nonprofit organization, CHF strives to:

  • Inspire a passion for chemistry;
  • Highlight chemistry’s role in meeting current social challenges; and
  • Preserve the story of chemistry and its technologies and industries across centuries.

CHF maintains major collections of instruments, fine art, photographs, papers, and books. The Foundation hosts conferences and lectures, support research, offer fellowships, and produce educational materials. Its museum and public programs explore subjects ranging from alchemy to nanotechnology.

For more information, please visit


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Neil Gussman
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