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Celebrating the year of chemistry in 2011

22 December 2010

Celebrating the year of chemistry in 2011

The International Year of Chemistry 2011 is being celebrated worldwide next year and a new website has been launched as the hub for New Zealand activities at

The Royal Society of New Zealand and the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry have set up the website to provide updates on events, competitions and speakers, as well as interesting resources about chemistry.

The website will feature all the events organised by the Royal Society and by the Institute of Chemistry, as well as other organisations. These include lectures by international chemist, Professor Robin Clark looking at pigments in art, a chemistry quiz for secondary school students, the Marie Curie lecture series featuring New Zealand women chemists and running throughout 2011, lectures by the Rutherford Medal winner, Professor Warren Tate, and an art exhibition, ‘The Art of Science’ which will tour New Zealand.

Professor Margaret Brimble, 2007 L’Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science Laureate, is the first speaker in the year-long Marie Curie lecture series and says she is delighted that 2011 is being celebrated as the International Year of Chemistry.

“The role that chemistry plays in our everyday lives is enormous, but generally goes unnoticed. From the medicines we take, the foods we eat, to the cars that we drive, our lives are heavily dependent on chemistry.

“I’ve built my career on using chemistry to make natural compounds that can be used to treat medical disorders. Making useful molecules is at the heart of this work and I have dedicated most of my life to this endeavour.

“I hope that the events planned for 2011 will highlight the wonders of chemistry and showcase the work of our talented chemists in New Zealand.”

The official New Zealand launch of the International Year of Chemistry will be on 9 February at the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington, with a lecture by Sir Richard Friend, Head of Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, UK and a fashion show by Massey University design students using nano-gold merino wool.

The International Year of Chemistry is designed to be a worldwide celebration of the achievements of chemistry and its contributions to the well-being of humankind. The aim of the year is to increase the public appreciation of chemistry in meeting world needs, to encourage interest in chemistry among young people, and to generate enthusiasm for the creative future of chemistry.

The year 2011 was chosen as the International Year of Chemistry because it marks the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize awarded to Madame Marie Curie. It is also the 100th anniversary of the founding of the International Association of Chemical Societies.

It has a distinctly New Zealand connection as it is the centenary of the publication of Ernest Lord Rutherford’s Nobel Prize winning paper describing the discovery of the atomic nucleus.


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