We are officially halfway through 2011, the International Year of Chemistry. While my life as a chemist has not been impacted so far (no one has given me a medal or a certificate or anything), I have noticed that outreach efforts have been generating more press coverage than usual for the field of chemistry. For instance, last month one of the categories on an episode of Jeopardy! (America’s Favorite Quiz Show®) was entirely chemistry-themed. Many of you will not be stumped by these questions (or should I say answers?), so give yourselves a pat on the back for being well-versed in chemistry. It was fun for me to catch a glimpse of the public face of chemistry and to remember back to a time when I thought EELS referred to a group of slimy fish.
If embedding is broken, follow this link: Jeopardy – IYC-themed Questions
For more discussion on the IYC, I recommend the following series of articles:
–A letter by David Ropeik where he claims to represent the public when he asks chemists to “just keep that stuff away from us, okay?”
–The response by Katherine Haxton, one of the many dissenting voices who spoke up to defend the IYC as “far more than overcoming so-called chemophobia.”
–This post (or pretty much any post) on ScienceGeist, describing the search for an alternative to the nonsense term “chemical-free.”