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2011 to be observed as Year of Chemistry

Saturday January 01, 2011 07:01:39 PM, IANS

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Bangalore: Indian scientists, research scholars and students Saturday began celebrating 2011 as the International Year of Chemistry (IYC) for the achievements and contributions made by this important branch of science to the well-being of humankind.

"The new year will be celebrated as the IYC in line with the resolution adopted by the 63rd general assembly of the United Nations in December 2008, with Unesco and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) organising the year-long event," eminent scientist C.N.R. Rao said, inaugurating the celebrations at the premier Indian Institute of Science here.

The year also coincides with the centenary year of the Nobel Prize for chemistry to Marie Curie (1867-1934) for her discovery of radioactivity.

"All known matter is based on chemical elements or compounds and our understanding of the chemical nature is based on our knowledge of the subject, as all living process is controlled by chemical reactions," Rao, who is also chairman of the scientific advisory council to the prime minister, said.

Admitting chemistry was not the most popular, Rao told about 500 school and college students from across the city that the subject did not attract the kind of attention physics and biology get as the benefits of chemistry were not communicated properly.

"Chemistry does not seem to be as fascinating as other branches of science though it deals with the basic aspects of life such as food, water, energy, health and transportation. Teaching chemistry as an interesting subject is lacking due to the absence of quality teachers in the field," Rao lamented.

The Chemical Research Society of India (CRSI), set up in this tech hub in 1999 to mark the 50th year of Indian republic, will spearhead the celebrations of the IYC with a wide range of activities, including demonstrations, workshops, prize rewards to chemistry teachers at university level, partnerships with industry for creation of national wealth and popularization of achievements in the field to the public.

"We intend to reach across the young, not so young and general public with opportunities for participation at the local, regional and national levels, as chemistry is a creative science essential for sustainability and improvements in the quality of life," CRSI president V. Krishnan said.

To popularise chemistry, the society brought out a book titled "Chemistry Today", authored by Rao, for free distribution among schools and colleges and teachers across the country.

"In addition, we have decided to publish and distribute the periodic table and physical constants as ready reckoners to students of chemistry at the graduate and post-graduate levels," Krishnan noted.

As part of the celebrations, the society will hold workshops at Pune in May, Puducherry in June, Siliguri in July and Jammu in September.

"The two-day workshops will be devoted to chemical education involving chemistry teachers in the area. Zonal meetings will also be held during the workshops in the respective cities as a special event to mark the IYC," Krishnan said.





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