I  U  P  A  C

News & Notices

Organizations & People

Standing Committees







Links of Interest

Search the Site

Home Page





Number: 2003-022-1-020

Title: Chemistry's contributions to humanity - A feasibility study

Task Group Chairman: Edwin P. Przybylowicz

Appendix (updated 24 Sep 2004):
Listed below are books, pamphlets, websites, and video/DVD and identified to date, that contain information on the theme of chemical contributions to society. This listing is by no means complete and is given here to solicit help to augment this list or critique it from the standpoint of what is included.


  • The Chemical Society of Japan: a 125-Year Quest for Excellence 1878-2003, Chapter 1 Prominent Achievements, pp. 23-70, published by the Chemical Society of Japan, 2003.
    Scientific and industrial achievements of the Japanese chemical enterprise.

  • Chemical Achievers: The Human Face of the Chemical Sciences, Mary Eldon Bowen, A publication of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, 1997.
    A book containing vignettes of 80 inventors and innovators in chemistry.

  • Pharmaceutical Achievers: The Human Face of Pharmaceutical Research, Mary Eldon Bowen, Amy Beth Crow and Tracy Sullivan, A publication of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, 2003.
    A book containing vignettes of 88 inventors and innovators in pharmaceutical chemistry.

  • Chemistry, Society and the Environment, A New History of the British Chemical Industry, by Colin Archibald Russell (Editor)
    Looks critically at the development of industrial chemistry in the UK in the context of its effects on the environment. Early chapters look at the shape and origins of the British chemical industry, and later chapters describe various specific industries such as the alkali, nitrogen, pharmaceutical, and inorganic chemicals industries. Other subjects are polymers and petrochemicals, metal extraction and refining, and the chemical industry and quality of life. Looks at the whole development of industrial chemistry in the UK in the context of its effects on the environment. Relevant to all those concerned with the social and environmental impact of the chemical industry.

  • A History of the International Chemical Industry: From the "Early Days" to 2000, Fred Aftalion, paperback, 436 pages, A publication of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, 2001.
    A short history of chemical industry from the viewpoint of the chemicals produced. It is a good historical reference and read from the perspective of a chemist provides much interesting information on the contributions that chemistry has made to society. However, it is probably not a book for the general reader.


  • Todo dia com a Quimica (Chemistry Everyday), in Portugese. Edited by Abiquim (Brazilian Chemical Industry Association), 2003.
    A 52-page brochure showing in a friendly and funny language, the presence of chemical products in everyday life, from the wake-up in the morning to the end of the day.

  • Chemistry Europe & the future: Science and technology to improve the quality of life in Europe, Prepared by the Alliance for Chemical Sciences and Technologies in Europe (AllChemE) 2003.
    A 44-page brochure on the contributions of chemistry to the quality of life in Europe from innovations to the educational aspects of chemistry.

  • Chemistry in Our Community, Prepared by the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK).
    A 10-page colorful brochure that highlights the role of chemistry in everyday activities.


  • Brazilian Chemical Industry Association (ABIQUIM):
    This website which is in Portugese and English has an attractive link to a section entitled "You and the Chemistry". This site contains descriptive information about the contributions that chemistry has made to society in major areas of human need such as health, nutrition, water, as well and pointding to the new materials and future developments from chemistry. The site also has typical daily situations in the home, workplace and school, highlighting the products of chemistry that are in common use. One feature entitled " A Day with Chemistry" highlights 21 areas of everyday life and details the contributions that chemistry makes to those activities. All vignettes of chemistry are designed to heighten awareness of how pervasively chemistry enhances our lives.

  • Nobel Museum - Laureates in Chemistry: http://www.nobel.se/chemistry/laureates/index.html
    This website lists the laureates in chemistry (other fields are accessible from the above URL) from 1901 to present. It provides a link through each laureate to details about the person, the contribution for which they are recognized, some personal comments by the laureate that often includes why they studied chemistry and why they studied the problems for which they have been recognized. The site has links to articles that relate to the topic. This is an excellent site and is obviously kept very current. The site design is easy to use and to navigate to various levels of information. Information is apparently limited by what the laureate has submitted because in some cases, the information is very detailed, well illustrated with photographs and graphics and in other recent laureates, it is limited. Some laureates include educational programs such as the biochemistry laboratory on Kurt Wuthrich's page.

  • Royal Society of Chemistry - Visual Elements: http://www.rsc.org/is/viselements.htm
    The website provides a very interactive information base about each element (through element 101) that is visually attractive as well as factually informative. This site received the Scientific American Sci/Tech Web Award in 2003. It is a site that contains some scientific information but is also visually attractive providing a "game" atmosphere, obviously designed to attract youngsters to use it.

  • Royal Society of Chemistry - Timeline: http://www.chemsoc.org/timeline/index.html
    This website provides a historical timeline through which various scientific inventions (chemistry emphasis) and innovations are identified and linked to other websites that give details of the discovery, invention or innovation. Contributions to this site have come from individuals all over the world.

  • Chemical Institute of Canada: Canadian Society for Chemistry - National Chemistry Week
    The Canadian Society for Chemistry has a number of outreach programs to educate the general public and students on the importance of the chemical sciences. National Chemistry Week is a week-long series of events to highlight the chemical profession and educate the public about the positive aspects of chemistry. This website links to a series of articles about the contributions of chemistry in a variety of fields including health and environment. There are also links from this website to the McGill University Office of Science and Technology which also has public education in chemistry materials on it. The Milestones in Chemistry link on this site was not operational.

  • Milestones of Canadian Chemistry in the 20th Century - Canadian Society for Chemistry National Meeting, May 27-31, 2000, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    This site gives a listing of the milestones that were described at this meeting in a paper entitled, "A Retrospective Celebration of a Century of Canadian Chemical Accomplishment at the Calgary CSC2000 Exhibition". Unfortunately, no detail is given beyond mention of the accomplishments nor are there links to other sites. The CSC site has a link to the milestones, but it was not functional.

  • Chemistry Milestones at NRC
    This is a site that highlights milestones of Canadian Chemistry in the 20th Century at the National Research Council. It includes a wide variety of innovations ranging from "prairie concrete", the problems of making and maintaining concrete with the highly alkaline ground water in the prairies, to the mass spectrometry of free radicals.

  • Canadian Chemical Producers' Association
    This website has a link to the CEFIC site "Chemistry and You".

  • CEFIC - Chemistry and You:
    This is an interesting and highly interactive site. It shows the role that chemicals play in everyday life. You can follow five individuals in different parts of the world through their daily activities and see how their lives are made easier though chemistry. Also, there are three rooms in a furnished house that you can move through pointing at various items in the room and a pop-up tells you about the item and its chemistry. Finally there is a supermarket game, again with chemical descriptions. It is a site that would have some general appeal but is more likely to attract children. This site went "live" in November, 2003 and they have had 15,000 visitors since that time.

  • Chemical Heritage Foundation - Explore Chemical History: http://www.chemheritage.org/explore/explore.html
    This site is being developed presently. It has descriptive information about chemical innovations and industry. The database is at present minimal and the site does not have any interactive aspects.

  • Chemical Heritage Foundation - Publications http://www.chemheritage.org/pubs/pub-results.asp
    The Chemical Heritage Foundation has published a number of books and pamphlets that indirectly provide information on the theme of the value of chemistry to society. For example, a 1994 publication entitled Chemical Sciences in the Modern World, edited by Seymour Mauskopf was judged as "The collection . . . deserves wide reading. It offers reflective chemists the opportunity to find out how their science appears to seasoned observers removed from the field."--Chemical and Engineering News.

  • Science Across the World
    This is a site that provides teaching materials for students/teachers and has some 3000 teachers in 100 countries accessing the site. There is a section entitled "Chemistry in Our Lives" that provides student and teacher materials explaining how chemistry is everywhere in our lives. It is designed for ages 12-16.

  • German chemical societies and organizations - 2003 Year of Chemistry:
    http://www.year-of-chemistry.de (English)
    This website is more a newsletter about the celebration of chemistry in Germany, giving details as to events in the celebration. It does not have any factual chemical innovation information on it.

  • Todo es química (Everything is chemistry) in Spanish.
    This is a virtual exhibition where you can discover how chemistry is present in everyday life and how it has contributed to the improvement of life in many different aspects (health, nutrition, transport, sports, arts, etc).

  • Didáctica de la química y vida cotidiana (Teaching chemistry and everyday life) in Spanish
    This website is part of a project aimed at supporting chemistry teachers, attracting students and increasing the scientific culture of society. It shows how chemistry is involved in our daily life (drugs, materials, environment...) and intends to encourage the learning of chemistry with analogies and examples that we encounter every day.

  • Química en acción: aprender experimentando (Chemistry in action: learning by doing experiments)
    This is an initiative of the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares to attract young students to chemistry. University teachers give lectures and perform experiments in the secondary institutes and students from these institutes visit the Pilot Plant of Fine Chemicals and other premises of the University. In the website there is a video and a presentation of the kind of experiments performed.

  • Verband der Chemischen Industrie e.V. - Chemical innovations: www.vci.de to Kommunications then to Expo/ChemiDrom (German only).
    There are links to information about innovations in chemistry that are all on this site which are a series of descriptive articles such as, the human body: a chemical factory.

  • Scientific American Sci/Tech Web Awards in Chemistry:
    > 2003 Awards
    > 2002 Awards
    > 2001 Awards
    This is a useful website that highlights new, unique and useful websites in the chemical sciences. There are similar sites for other sciences.

  • About.com - Inventors in chemistry:
    > Inventors in chemistry
    A website that has many linkages to chemistry websites including inventors and innovators.

  • What you need to know about chemistry:
    A website that provides many chemistry linkages, most of which are directed at students and provide both factual information as well as details for experiments. There are some sites that relate to the value of chemistry topic.

  • Australian scientists: Bright Sparcs site: http://www.asap.unimelb.edu.au/bsparcs/bs_expl.htm
    This website gives the contributions and backgrounds of Australian scientists and it has a subcategory of chemists which lists 505 chemists dating back to 1811.


  • "A Quimica em suas maos" (Chemistry in Your Hands); Spoken in Portugese with English subtitles. Produced by Abiquim (Brazilian Chemical Industry Association - 2002).
    In 12 minutes, it shows the importance of chemical products in everyday life and explains how the Responsible Care Program helps to improve health, safety and environmental standards in the chemical industry.


> If you want to update this list, contact us by e-mail

> Back to Project page


Page last modified 24 September 2004.
Copyright ©1997-2004 International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.
Questions or comments about IUPAC, please contact, the Secretariat.
Questions regarding the website, please contact web manager.