January 3, 2019David C. Horwitz, American Chemical Society
The American Chemical Society (ACS) hosted its 31st annual celebration of chemistry during National Chemistry Week (NCW) from October 21-27, 2018. As mentioned in last year’s ACS partner highlight, the mission of the NCW campaign is to motivate ACS members and other science enthusiasts to teach the public about the value of chemistry in everyday life.
This year, more than 90% (169/185) of ACS local sections hosted activities for NCW, which is ACS’s highest level of engagement in the campaign in ten years. From the Chemistry Festival in Puerto Rico to the annual Zoo Science Days in Orange County, California, ACS local sections got creative with their events and contests. You can read highlights from 2018 ACS NCW activities in an article published by Chemical & Engineering News.
Thanks to the NSF-funded ChemAttitudes project, 44 ACS groups and 206 NISE Net members were awarded an Explore Science: Let's Do Chemistry kit that provided training and resources for hosting hands-on chemistry events. The best part: more than 70% of kit recipients used the materials to host an event during NCW to help amplify the campaign’s message.
Above left: Tate MacDougall waits for his top to blow from the Rocket Reactions activity. Above right: Kian Williams builds a battery at another one of the hands-on chemistry stations.
Better yet, the kit provided an easy way for NISE Net members and ACS groups to learn about each other (that is, if there wasn’t already a connection between the two groups). So far based on preliminary reports, 40%** of the kit recipients have reported utilizing ACS volunteers for their events, and about 20%** have reported collaborating with either a NISE Net member or ACS group.
In Washington, D.C., ACS and Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum put the kit to use during NCW. Over 320 attendees engaged in eight hands-on activities, which included building their own batteries with zinc and copper washers or launching rockets with citric acid and baking soda. The event included welcome remarks about the importance of chemistry by ACS’s past president, Dr. Allison Campbell, a talk on the need for diversity and inclusion in STEM by NASA Safety and Quality Assurance Engineer, Dr. K. Renee Horton, and exciting chemistry demonstrations by Dr. Bassam Shakhashiri. Attendees received an issue of ACS’s children’s publication, Celebrating Chemistry, and other NCW educational giveaways.
Nearly all attendees reported that they learned something new or interesting at the event, and that they would attend another event like this in the future.
Above: Dr. Bassam Shakhashiri educated and entertained museumgoers with engaging stage demonstrations.
National Chemistry Week 2018 By-the-Numbers
169 ACS local sections participated in NCW, an increase from the 159 local sections in 2017, and the highest participation since 2008.
Over 75,000 people attended events held by ACS local sections.
NCW digital content received more than 2 million views.
NCW hashtags received more than 25 million views.
72% of NISE Net partners participated in NCW with the Explore Science: Let’s Do Chemistry kit.
167,650 issues of Celebrating Chemistry were distributed, an increase from the 163,750 issues distributed in 2017.
41 ACS local sections submitted a total of 101 local winning entries to be considered for the annual national Illustrated Poem Contest, an increase from the 28 local contests and the 68 local winners in 2017.
ACS would like to thank NISE Net members for helping engage the public in chemistry and for amplifying the NCW campaign this year!
Planning is underway for the next annual campaign, Chemists Celebrate Earth Week (CCEW), which takes place April 21-27, 2019 with the theme, “Take Note: The Chemistry of Paper.” Resources will launch on February 1, 2019 at www.acs.org/ccew. ACS invites the NISE Net community to break out your Explore Science: Let’s Do Chemistry materials for more hands-on chemistry fun during CCEW and NCW 2019! Contact your local ACS CCEW Coordinator today, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, with questions or comments.
** indicates preliminary/partial data submitted by NISE Network partners about their Let's Do Chemistry events. As of the date of this post, this data is based on 192 partner reports submitted out of 250 total partner events (approximately 77% response rate)