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2011: UN International Year of Chemistry

The International year of Chemistry 2011 celebrated the appreciation of chemistry and promotes achievements in this branch of science.

Illustration image

The International Year of Chemistry.


The United Nations’ (UN) declared 2011 to be the International Year of Chemistry, along with the International Year of Forests and the International Year for People of African Descent.

The year 2011 marked the 100th anniversary of the founding of the International Association of Chemical Societies, as well as the year Marie Curie won the Nobel Prize – which celebrates the contributions of women to science.

Achievements in chemistry

People celebrated the International Year of Chemistry in 2011 by recognizing the achievements of chemistry throughout history and its contributions to the humankind. The Year gave a global boost to chemical science, and focused on increasing the interest in chemistry among young people. It aimed to increase the public appreciation of chemistry in meeting world needs and people around the world are invited to participate in activities and events that promote the International Year of Chemistry.

Activities and events

Activities for the International Year of Chemistry include:

  • Events that emphasize chemistry as a creative science essential for sustainability and improvements to our way of life.
  • Experiments to explore how chemical research is critical for solving our global problems involving food, water, health, energy, and more.
  • Activities that engages young people with scientific disciplines and generates enthusiasm for the creative future of chemistry.

Organizations such as the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) are coordinating events in countries such as (but not exclusive to) France, Puerto Rico, India, and the United States to promote the International Year of Chemistry in 2011. These events include conferences, workshops, expositions, festivals, as well as educational activities.

The science of matter

Chemistry is the science of matter and the changes it undergoes, concerned with the composition, behavior, structure, and properties of matter, as well as the changes it undergoes during chemical reactions. Chemistry is vital to our understanding of the world and the cosmos, especially molecular transformations are important to the production of food, medicines, fuel, and countless manufactured and extracted products.

In partnership with the UN, the Year will make educational contributions in the areas of health and environment, for the goals of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. The activities during the International Year of Chemistry will emphasize the importance of chemistry in helping to sustain the natural resource base for life.

The International Year of Chemistry will celebrate the art and science of chemistry, and its essential contributions to knowledge, to environmental protection and to economic development.


The official name and slogan for this event is the International Year of Chemistry (IYC) - “Chemistry – our life, our future.” Logos, posters, business cards, and other promotional items for the event feature the official slogan, the event’s official name, and an image that shows three layered squares colored red, orange and blue, to represent chemical elements on the periodic table. The top square is labeled with the letter “C” and labeled “2011 CHEMISTRY”.

Topics: UN Year