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Vol. 32 No. 2
March-April 2010

From the Editor

By now, you have seen the logo of the 2011 International Year of Chemistry. It is simple, and for good reason. Chemistry is so many different things and if one tries to brand it to a single image, many chemists will quickly say “’that’s not chemistry.” Chemistry today is no longer a simple beaker. It is much more than a molecular model. It is also more than just green chemistry, or materials, or drug design. It is all of these things and more—a multitude of simple and complex challenges.

image of Fabienne MeyersThe French academician Pierre Potier, once said “la chimie est à la biologie ce que le solfège est à la musique” (i.e., “chemistry is to biology what musical notation is to music.”) One does not need to be a musician to appreciate the relevance of that expression.

So, back to the IYC logo; since it was decided to keep it simple, the chosen logo is just a “C” for chemistry. It looks like the carbon element in the periodic table, and also like a page of a daily calendar, recalling 2011 as the year to celebrate.

I wear the logo as a pin and when asked what it is, I am ready to answer. If my interlocutor frowns at my first answer, I add that C is for Celebrate and also for Curie, as in Marie Curie. After all, in 2011 we will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of her Nobel Prize in Chemistry. I could also say that C is for Curious (aren’t we all?), which works well with the kids and intrigues them. While meeting recently with a colleague from the International Union of Crystallography, I suggested that he claim the C is for Crystals. Crystallographers have good reasons to celebrate: in 2012, they will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Bragg’s Law.

C is for Challenges, for Creativity, or for Changes. Whatever your preference on any given day, there is plenty to Celebrate under the C of Chemistry. If you are a music aficionado like Potier, and if your challenge is to convince others that being a Chemist is a bit like being a Composer, then you know that “Do” in Romance languages is just “C” in English.

Think C and happy IYC planning.

Fabienne Meyers
fabienne@iupac.org

P.S.: Last month, chemists welcomed a new element to their cherished periodic table while paying tribute to Nicolaus Copernicus’ lifetime contributions to science. Element 112 now has a proper name: copernicium. The name copernic•ium—don’t forget the “i” in the ending—is consistent with the 2002 IUPAC recommendations on the naming of elements which suggest, for linguistic consistency, that the names of all new elements should end in “-ium”. (Pure Appl. Chem. 74(5), 787–791, 2002). Read more on page 16.

Cover: The Nicolaus Copernicus Monument in Warsaw, Poland. Designed by Bertel Thorvaldsen in 1822, the bronze statue of the Polish astronmer was completed in 1830.


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