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Vol. 35 No. 3
May-June 2013

May Celebrations

May is a month of many celebrations. As we have mentioned several times before in CI, 20 May is World Metrology Day, which commemorates the signing by representatives of 17 nations of The Metre Convention on that day in 1875. This year, the theme is "Measurements in Daily Life"—see more at www.worldmetrologyday.org.

image of Fabienne Meyers

While living in the states, but having grown up in Belgium, I have found that measurements in my daily life can be quite bewildering. A simple length mentioned in inches, a travel distance referred to in miles, a quantity in a cook book specified in spoons or cups, or my own weight blurred in pounds on my bathroom scale make no sense to me. And, it is beyond me that this "New World" is stuck in a nonmetric system. If on 20 May I can convince just one friend that SI is the way to go, even for daily usage, it is worth celebrating!

There are many more international and world days in May, several that are even recognized by the UN or UNESCO. My favorites include 3 May, World Press Freedom Day; 17 May, World Information Society Day; 21 May, World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development; and 22 May, International Day for Biological Diversity.

Looking beyond May, two days of relevance to educators and scientists are 5 October, World Teachers' Day, and 10 November, World Science Day for Peace and Development. According to UNESCO "The purpose of the World Science Day for Peace and Development is to renew the national, as well as the international commitment to science for peace and development and to stress the responsible use of science for the benefit of society. The World Science Day for Peace and Development also aims at raising public awareness of the importance of science and to bridge the gap between science and societies." In 2012, the theme was "Science for Global Sustainability: Interconnectedness, Collaboration, Transformation." It was chosen to highlight "the increasingly interconnected and interdependent economic, social, cultural, and political systems, both in terms of the pressure these place on the Earth system and of the potential for solutions that they provide." It seems to me that all chemists should rightfully take part in the 10 November celebrations.

Lastly, if one is desperately looking for a day to celebrate Chemistry, and IUPAC as well, then I think it should be 28 July, since it was on that day in 1919 that the Union was born after being registered by a plenary session of the International Research Council.

Fabienne Meyers
fabienne@iupac.org

Cover: Boys from Paraguay's rural Chaco region learn more about Chagas disease and the so-called vinchuca, the bug that is the main vector of the parasite that causes the disease. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) works in isolated communities to educate people about the disease and screen them for it.
Credit: © Anna Surinyach/MSF, reproduced with permission.

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