National Chemistry Week Themes

The American Chemical Society began celebrating National Chemistry Day in 1987, which became National Chemistry Week (NCW) in 1989. NCW is celebrated annually during the fourth week of October.

In 1997, the Committee on Community Activities added annual themes to give direction and variety to that year’s celebration, but archived materials can be of use during any time of year.

NCW logo
Year Dates Topic Theme Name - Main Focus
2020 October 18-24 Glues and Adhesives Sticking with Chemistry
NCW 2020 investigates the sticky chemistry of glues and adhesives.
2019 October 20-26 Metal Marvelous Metals
NCW 2019 explores the properties and uses of metals.
October 21-27 Outerspace Chemistry is Out of This World
NCW 2018 focuses on chemistry of and in outer space.
2017 October 22-28 Geochemistry Chemistry Rocks!
NCW 2017 celebrated the 30th anniversary of the program and covered the chemistry of rocks.  
2016 October 16-22 Forensics Solving Mysteries Through Chemistry
NCW 2016 focused on the chemistry of fibers and forensics.
2015 October 18-24 Color Chemistry Colors Our World
NCW 2015 examined the chemistry of color.
2014 October 19 - 25 Candy The Sweet Side of Chemistry: Candy
NCW 2014 highlighted the chemistry involved in candy and confections.
2013 October 20-26 Energy Energy: Now and Forever!
NCW 2013 explored how renewable and non-renewable energy sources power our planet.
October 21-27 Nanotechnology Nanotechnology: The Smallest BIG Idea in Science!
NCW 2012 celebrated the 25th anniversary of the program and focused on the nanoscience contributions to the environment, energy, materials, and health.
2011 October 16-22 Chemistry and Health Chemistry: Our Health, Our Future!
NCW 2011 emphasized the importance of chemistry to our health and future.
2010 October 17-23 Movie Special Effects Behind the Scenes with Chemistry!
NCW 2010 explored the chemistry behind special effects in movies.
2009 October 18-24 Periodic Table Chemistry—It’s Elemental!
NCW 2009 was in honor of the 140th anniversary of the periodic table.
2008 October 19-25 Sports Chemistry  Having a Ball with Chemistry
NCW 2008 focused on the chemistry of sports equipment, sports safety, and the body as it performs physical activities.
2007 October 21-27 Careers in Chemistry The Many Faces of Chemistry
NCW 2007 celebrated the 20th anniversary of the program and emphasized the diversity of the discipline and its practitioners and coupled a career profile with a chemistry activity related in some way to the career.
2006 October 22-28 Materials Chemistry, Home Safety Your Home—It’s All Built on Chemistry
NCW 2006 Focused on the chemicals found in objects common to most homes and how chemistry has helped to improve materials used in building homes.
2005 October 16-22 Chemistry in Toys The Joy of Toys
NCW 2005 celebrated the chemistry in toys—the materials used to create them and some that use chemistry or chemical reactions as part of how they work.
2004 October 17-23 Food and Body Chemistry Health and Wellness
NCW 2004 shared information about food choices and how they can influence some diseases, including diabetes. It also emphasized the chemistry happening in various parts of the body
2003 October 19-25 Atmospheric Chemistry and Chemical Reactions Earth’s Atmosphere and Beyond!
NCW 2003 celebrated improvements in materials for flight, described the atmosphere, acid rain and the ozone layer.
2002 October 20-26 Soaps and Detergents Chemistry Keeps Us Clean!
NCW 2002 celebrated the 15th anniversary of the program and discussed the chemistry of soaps and detergents, surface tension of water, and chemistry’s role in cleaning, including an article on the importance of hand washing.
2001 November 4-10 Chemistry and Art Celebrating Chemistry and Art
NCW 2001 explored the role that chemistry plays in the arts and includes activities that use chemistry to make works of art.
2000 November 5-11 Kitchen Chemistry Get Cooking With Chemistry
NCW 2000 examined the properties of powders used in cooking: baking soda, baking powder, cornstarch, etc. It also looked at the power of chemistry in raising bread and making cheese.
1999 November 7-13 Polymer Chemistry A Global Salute To Polymers
NCW 1999 investigated the properties of different polymers.
1998 November 1-7 Pigments and Dyes World of Color
NCW 1998 featured use of natural plant materials in a global experiment to map the natural sources for eight colors.
1997 November 2-8 Chemistry Is Everywhere Planet Chemistry
NCW 1997 celebrated the 10th anniversary of the program with activities focused on hard and soft water testing, measuring pH, and making crystals with Epsom salts.