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Younger chemists host public outreach competition in honor of Earth Day

Note: This post was written by Courtney Ngai, Public Outreach Chair for IYCN

The International Younger Chemists Network (IYCN) is pleased to announce its second annual IYCN Outreach Competition: Engaging the Next Generation. IYCN’s mission is to support and advocate for younger scientists working across the chemical sciences and aims to serve as a platform for young scientists. By providing resources and other support for its members on-site at conferences as well as virtually, IYCN supports and empowers the growth of young scientists through its four pillars: communicate, collaborate, educate, and mentor.

The annual outreach competition contributes to IYCN’s pillar to educate. With a mission to encourage public outreach related to chemistry, the competition accepts submissions of experiments and demonstrations that can be used to share chemistry concepts. The winning entries will be translated into multiple languages and posted in IYCN’s Experiment Database so that chemists all around the world can access these public outreach resources. Additionally, the winning entrants will receive a prize of up to 250USD.

The theme of the 2020 outreach competition is Earth Chemistry, in honor of Earth Day. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, which was established in response to growing concern about the environment and human impact on the earth. Earth Day has traditionally mobilized millions of people to take action for the environment. The competition launched on January 28th, the anniversary of a massive oil spill off the coast of California that lead to the first Earth Day, and will close on April 22nd (Earth Day). All submissions must tie in one or more topics related to Earth Chemistry such as soil chemistry, the chemistry of plastic degradation, air pollution or plant chemistry.

The first outreach competition was hosted in 2019, with great success. The theme of the 2019 competition was Climate Change, one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. We received submissions from participants representing seven different countries. An international panel of four judges scored the submissions and selected two winning entries. One experiment tested the efficacy of different water filtration systems to remove pollution, while the other demonstrated the relationship between rising carbon dioxide levels and ocean acidity. For more information about last year’s competition, please see the article published by ChemViews:

Last year’s competition saw contributions from around the world. We welcome submissions from all who share a love of chemistry and a desire to share chemistry with others. To find out more details and enter the competition, please visit:

You can also scan this QR code to get to the competition website.

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