IUPAC in Glasgow, Scotland: Committee on Chemistry Education

Thomas Tritton, president of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, addresses the CCE meeting.

January 1, 2010 - Glasgow, Scotland

From Chemistry International, January 1, 2010, vol. 32, no. 1

By Christiane Reiners, national representative from Germany, and with contributions from Chris Brouwer

Among the many committee meetings at IUPAC’s General Assembly in Glasgow in August 2009, the passion and enthusiasm for the International Year of Chemistry in 2011 was perhaps most evident in the deliberations of the Committee on Chemistry Education (CCE). After all, this committee was instrumental in building support for the UN Declaration of IYC2011, and it will play a lead role in planning and organizing IYC events. However, the committee’s meeting on 2–3 August encompassed much more than IYC. The “normal” committee business was simply condensed into about half the allotted time.

Shortly into the meeting, CCE Chair Peter Mahaffy framed the magnitude of what lies ahead, calling IYC an “opportunity of a lifetime for the professional chemistry community.” Against this backdrop, much of the meeting was devoted to discussing “How best can we contribute to the IYC?” Mahaffy encouraged committee members to “focus on the importance of chemistry in our lives” as they devised strategies and developed ideas for activities. . . .

The meeting included presentations by Lida Schoen, who discussed the Young Ambassadors for Chemistry (YAC) project, and by Natalia Tarasova, who discussed the UN-Decade for Education for Sustainable Development. Furthermore, presentations were made about several important groups: the Network for Inter-Asian Chemistry Educators (NICE), the Australian Collaborative Education Network, FACS, the National Association of Research in Science Teaching, Chemical Heritage Foundation, and OPCW. All these activities aim at bringing partners and stakeholders together and underline the versatility of chemical education, which is a focusing and radiating enterprise at the same time.

Apart from the activities within CCE, it was interesting and encouraging to listen to the contributions from divisional representatives and from the standing committee representatives of COCI (Chemistry and Industry) and CHEMRAWN (Chemical Research for Applied World Needs). On the one hand, those interactions support the idea that chemistry education needs strong partners in other disciplines as chemistry education without chemistry is knitting without wool. On the other hand, chemistry teachers turn out to be important multipliers for spreading innovations in chemistry. Consequently, the interactions with other divisions helped to build up a close communication network, smoothing the way to an International Year of Chemistry. . . .

(Link to CI)

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