2011 has been designated as the International Year of Chemistry (IYC) by UNESCO and IUPAC (the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, responsible for the systematic naming of new chemicals). The year will be marked by events and displays in countries around the world. The opening event was in Paris in January, the closing event will be in Brussels in December.
Inspired by EESC Member David Sears, Employers Group, UK, the Cultural Sub Committee of the Committee has agreed to contribute to this week. The exhibitions and displays bring together a number of themes relating to the past, present and future of life as we currently know it. The EESC is deeply grateful to the many companies and learned bodies that have made this possible, together with the Polish Embassy during their Presidency of the EU.
The past is represented by a series of displays on the life and times of Maria Skłodowska-Curie in her pioneering role as a woman in a man’s world at the turn of the last century, winning the Nobel prize in Physics in 1903 with her husband, Pierre, and Antoine Henri Becquerel for their supportive work on radioactivity, and again, by herself, in 1911 in Chemistry, for her discovery and characterisation of two new elements, radium and polonium.
The present provides insights into the role of water as a vital resource for us all. An exhibition of art by children from around the world, sponsored by the Royal Society of Chemistry in London, is shown here on video displays while the originals move around the capitals of Europe.
The future consists of presentations and displays which show a more sustainable future that could be ours, if we can continue to develop and master the required science and technology. ‘Catalytic clothing’ brings together materials scientists at Sheffield University, the fashion world in London, and a surfactants manufacturer in Belgium, building on existing technology to produce textiles that can help us meet environmental objectives by cleaning the surrounding air. The ‘Solar Impulse’ is a plane that can fly on solar power.
We are grateful to all involved in these projects for developing the ideas and for presenting them to us in this way.
The main presentations are accompanied by a number of lunchtime and evening events for members and staff of the EESC, for their guests from the other institutions, agencies and consultative bodies of the EU and from the companies and organisations involved, and for younger audiences at school. We hope that you will enjoy the week's events.
Ms. Anna Maria Darmanin
EESC Vice President