27 No. 3
A Joint OPCW–IUPAC Project on Education and Outreach Regarding Chemical Weapons
In the IUPAC report on chemical weapons (Pure
Appl. Chem. 74(12),
2323–2352, 2002), stress was laid on the importance
of spreading knowledge of the Convention on Chemical Weapons
and educating chemists and the public on the ethical aspects
of these terrible applications of our science. The Committee
on Chemistry Education (CCE) is charged with overseeing educational
aspects of IUPAC’s activities, and the matter came before
the committee at its meetings. The committee was uncertain
about how to proceed, for there is a fine line between educating
in favor of prohibition and educating, accidentally, for propagation.
At its meeting in Istanbul in August 2004, the CCE established
a working party (led by Natalia Tarasova) to explore the question
of how to proceed.
To take the matter forward, IUPAC President Leiv Sydnes and Task Group Chairman Peter Atkins established contact with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), based in The Hague, and attended the States Signatories session in January 2005. From that meeting, and a particularly fruitful meeting with Ralf Trapp (OPCW), we found a way forward. A meeting now planned for next July will explore the feasibility of a conference to discover if there are ways ahead in addressing problems of insinuating ethical aspects into already overburdened chemical curricula. Readers who have strong views are encouraged to send them to Atkins, who will try to compile a discussion document for the coming meeting.
For more information and comments contact the Task Group Chairman Peter Atkins <[email protected]>.
last modified 21 April 2005.
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