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Vol. 27 No. 3
May-June 2005

The Project Place | Information about new, current, and complete IUPAC projects and related initiatives
See also www.iupac.org/projects

A Joint OPCW–IUPAC Project on Education and Outreach Regarding Chemical Weapons

In the IUPAC report on chemical weapons (Pure Appl. Chem. 74(12), 2323–2352, 2002), stress was laid on the importance of spreading knowledge of the Convention on Chemical Weapons and educating chemists and the public on the ethical aspects of these terrible applications of our science. The Committee on Chemistry Education (CCE) is charged with overseeing educational aspects of IUPAC’s activities, and the matter came before the committee at its meetings. The committee was uncertain about how to proceed, for there is a fine line between educating in favor of prohibition and educating, accidentally, for propagation. At its meeting in Istanbul in August 2004, the CCE established a working party (led by Natalia Tarasova) to explore the question of how to proceed.

To take the matter forward, IUPAC President Leiv Sydnes and Task Group Chairman Peter Atkins established contact with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), based in The Hague, and attended the States Signatories session in January 2005. From that meeting, and a particularly fruitful meeting with Ralf Trapp (OPCW), we found a way forward. A meeting now planned for next July will explore the feasibility of a conference to discover if there are ways ahead in addressing problems of insinuating ethical aspects into already overburdened chemical curricula. Readers who have strong views are encouraged to send them to Atkins, who will try to compile a discussion document for the coming meeting.

For more information and comments contact the Task Group Chairman Peter Atkins <peter.atkins@lincoln.oxford.ac.uk>.

www.iupac.org/projects/2004/2004-048-1-020.html


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