WASHINGTON, Jan 31, 2011 — The American Chemical Society (ACS) today launched the inaugural edition of its International Year of Chemistry (IYC) Virtual Journal, a dynamic online snapshot of the countless ways in which chemistry improves everyday life for people around the world. It includes a special video welcome from Nancy B. Jackson, Ph.D., who serves as ACS President during the IYC. Jackson is with the Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico.
Every month through this landmark year, the IYC Virtual Journal will showcase ways in which chemistry improves everyday life for people around the world. It illustrates how chemists and other scientists work to protect the environment; develop lifesaving new medicines; create cleaner, greener and more sustainable sources of energy; design new materials for cars, buildings, electronics, medical implants and a host of other products.
"The four subject areas covered by the virtual journal — health, energy, environment, and materials —— are the core themes of the International Year of Chemistry," noted Madeleine Jacobs, executive director and CEO of the ACS. "Improving human health, finding sustainable sources of energy, protecting the environment, and developing new materials are among the great global challenges of the 21st Century. The International Year of Chemistry virtual journal provides a unique opportunity to enhance public understanding of the many contributions and solutions that chemists and other scientists are working on to address these great global challenges."
Topics in the launch edition of the IYC Virtual Journal include the use of tobacco and proteins in coffee beans as pesticides; a new genre of environmentally friendly detergents; raves from Europe about "no-mix" toilets; new lubricants that save gasoline and evidence that people over 50 may be consuming too much copper and iron. The virtual journal's content is based on research published in ACS' 39 peer-reviewed scientific journals and Chemical & Engineering News, its weekly newsmagazine.
IYC Virtual Journal also connects visitors with content in ACS' popular online calendar, developed specifically for the IYC. The calendar serves as a virtual time machine, transporting the public back to some of the epic events and great intellects that shaped modern society through the magic of chemistry.
Called IYC-365: Chemistry for Life, the calendar links almost 250 days of the year to notable events highlighting chemistry's important role in health, medicine, energy, the environment and related fields. They range from Jan. 1 — which in 1907 saw debut of the Chemical Abstracts Service, a chemical database that has fostered unprecedented scientific discovery — to Dec. 31 and a scientific law about those New Year's toasts with champagne. A mouse-click on the days in-between revisits Joseph Priestley's discovery of oxygen; the first successful treatment of diabetes with insulin; George Washington Carver's discovery of hundreds of new uses for crops like peanuts; Marie Curie's landmark research on radioactivity; and much more. IYC-365:Chemistry for Life certainly doesn't neglect the fun and fanciful side of chemistry. The calendar highlights the debut Silly Putty, for instance, the invention of instant mashed potatoes, and the chemistry of hand warmers.
ACS purposely left the remaining days without content, and launched the "365: Chemistry for Life Contest" as an invitation to the public to complete the calendar, and participate in the IYC. Entries should consist of the name of a chemistry-related person, place, innovation or everyday item with a 300-400 word description of the entry. The description should be written in non-technical language and include a discussion of how the entry improves and impacts everyday life.
Entries accepted for use in the calendar will be eligible for a monthly drawing for a $50 Visa card, and a December drawing for an iPad, iPod Touch, and iPod Nano. Entries will be accepted until midnight on Dec. 1. There is a limit of three entries per person.
ACS encourages educators, schools, museums, science centers, news organizations, and others to embed links to the IYC Virtual Journal, IYC-365, and the 365:Chemistry for Life Contest on their websites and to spread word about them via Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites.
The IYC Virtual Journal and IYC: 365 are part of ACS' celebration of the International Year of Chemistry. The 63rd General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed 2011 as envisioning a worldwide celebration of the achievements of chemistry and its contributions to the well-being of humankind. Also being celebrated in 2011 is the centennial of the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Marie Curie for her work on radioactivity, and the 100th anniversary of the founding of the International Association of Chemical Societies.