On 20 December 2017, during its 74th Plenary Meeting, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly 72nd Session has proclaimed 2019 as the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements (IYPT 2019). In proclaiming an International Year focusing on the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements and its applications, the United Nations has recognized the importance of raising global awareness of how chemistry promotes sustainable development and provides solutions to global challenges in energy, education, agriculture and health. Indeed, the resolution was adopted as part of a more general Agenda item on Science and technology for development. This International Year will bring together many different stakeholders including UNESCO, scientific societies and unions, educational and research institutions, technology platforms, non-profit organizations and private sector partners to promote and celebrate the significance of the Periodic Table of Elements and its applications to society during 2019.
The development of the Periodic Table of the Elements is one of the most significant achievements in science and a uniting scientific concept, with broad implications in Astronomy, Chemistry, Physics, Biology and other natural sciences. The International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements in 2019 will coincide with the 150th anniversary of the discovery of the Periodic System by Dmitry Mendeleev in 1869. It is a unique tool enabling scientists to predict the appearance and properties of matter on Earth and in the Universe. Many chemical elements are crucial to enhance the value and performance of products necessary for humankind, our planet, and industrial endeavors. The four most recent elements (115-118) were fully added into the Periodic Table, with the approval of their names and symbols, on 28 November 2016.
The International Year of the Periodic Table of the Chemical Elements will coincide with the Centenary of IUPAC (IUPAC100). The events of IUPAC100 and of IYPT will enhance the understanding and appreciation of the Periodic Table and chemistry in general among the public. The 100th Anniversary of IUPAC will be on the UNESCO Calendar of Anniversaries on 28th July 2019.
“As the global organization that provides objective scientific expertise and develops the essential tools for the application and communication of chemical knowledge for the benefit of humankind, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry is pleased and honored to make this announcement concerning the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements” said IUPAC President, Professor Natalia Tarasova.
Chemical Elements play a vital role in our daily lives and are crucial for humankind and our planet, and for industry. The International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements will give an opportunity to show how they are central to linking cultural, economic and political aspects of the global society through a common language, whilst also celebrating the genesis and development of the periodic table over the last 150 years. It is critical that the brightest young minds continue to be attracted to chemistry and physics in order to ensure the next generation of scientists, engineers, and innovators in this field. Particular areas where the Periodic Table and its understanding have had a revolutionary impact are in nuclear medicine, the study of chemical elements and compounds in space and the prediction of novel materials.
The IYPT is endorsed by a number of international Scientific Unions and the International Council for Science (ICSU). The IYPT will be administered by an International Steering Committee in collaboration with the UNESCO International Basic Sciences Programme and an International Secretariat, to start operating in early 2018. In addition to IUPAC, IYPT is supported by the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP), the European Chemical Sciences (EuCheMS), the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (IUHPAST).
See UN release, posted 20 December 2017
See UN resolution, General Assembly, Seventy-second session, Agenda item 21 (b) “Globalization and interdependence: Science, technology and innovation for development (document A/72/422/Add.2), para 31