Boehlert: National Chemistry Week (1999)

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National Chemistry Week
by Sherwood Louis Boehlert

National Chemistry Week



Wednesday, November 10, 1999

Mr. BOEHLERT. Mr. Speaker, this week is National Chemistry Week. I rise on this occasion to recognize the thousands of American Chemical Society members who are volunteering their time this week--not only across the nation, but around the world as well--to teach all of us about the exciting ways that chemistry and chemical engineering benefit our country and improve our everyday lives.

This is the 12th year that the American Chemical Society has led the celebration of National Chemistry Week. And I'm especially excited that in my home district, the 23rd District of New York, volunteer chemists and chemical engineers of the American Chemical Society's Norwich Section will host an open house for 4th, 5th, and 6th graders Chenango County schools. There they will teach practical chemistry using a full range of hands-on activities, so they can see and explore and learn for themselves how chemistry works. Last year, the Norwich Section won national recognition for its Chemistry Week event, which was attended by 250 people from all over Chenango County.

This year National Chemistry Week culminates a 52-country International Chemistry Celebration that featured "A Global Salute to Polymers." In the United States alone, no less than 51 companies, 10 universities, 2 museums, and 17 individual scientists were saluted for the innovative products they created that have changed our lives.

During National Chemistry Week members of the American Chemical Society will conduct events in communities around the country along the theme "Celebrating Polymers." For instance, kids will be asked to carry out activities using sodium poly-acrylate, a widely used absorbent with applications ranging from horticulture to construction to disposable diapers. After seeing how poly-acrylate works, students will be challenged to think up other ways it can be applied to other real-life problems. More activities using sodium polyacrylate are available in the fall issues of the ACS student magazines WonderScience and Chem-Matters.

Mr. Speaker, our ability to improve the quality of our lives, make educated decisions in an increasingly technological world, and compete successfully in the global economy depends critically upon our understanding of sciences like chemistry.

So please join me and the 160,000 chemists, chemical engineers, and allied professionals of the American Chemical Society in highlighting the fact that every single aspect of our lives is in some way a result of chemistry in action.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).