About National Chemistry Week

National Chemistry Week (NCW) is a community-based program of the American Chemical Society (ACS). This annual program unites ACS local sections, student communities, technical divisions, businesses, schools, and individuals in communicating the importance of chemistry to our quality of life. NCW occurs annually during the third week of October, typically the same week as Mole Day.

In 1986, George Pimentel, then ACS president, had an idea to better educate the public about the crucial role of chemistry in everyday life. ACS organized its first official National Chemistry Day on Nov. 6, 1987. By 1989, the ACS Board had approved National Chemistry Day, and it became an annual celebration, held every year in late October. In 1993, it was renamed National Chemistry Week.

The mission of NCW is to reach the public, particularly elementary and secondary school children, with positive messages about chemistry to:

  • Make a positive change in the public's impression of chemistry;
  • Promote a mechanism for effectively mobilizing ACS local sections; and
  • Motivate the ACS membership through local section activities.

NCW is administered by the ACS Office of Science Outreach which is part of the Education Division. The Committee on Community Activities (CCA) serves as the advisory group for outreach programs, and selects and develops the NCW themes and materials.

Upcoming Themes

NCW 2023

October 15–21, 2023
Topic: Health & Medicine
Theme: The Healing Power of Chemistry
En Español: El Poder Curativo de la Química

NCW 2024

October 20-26, 2024
Topic: Photography and Imaging
Theme: Picture Perfect Chemistry
En Español: Fotografía Perfecta de la Química

Past Themes

YearDatesTopicTheme Name
2022October 16-22FibersFabulous Fibers: The Chemistry of  Fabrics
2021October 17-23Reaction RatesFast or Slow ... Chemistry Makes It Go!
2020October 18-24Glues and AdhesivesSticking with Chemistry
2019October 20-26MetalMarvelous Metals
October 21-27OuterspaceChemistry is Out of This World
2017October 22-28GeochemistryChemistry Rocks!
2016October 16-22ForensicsSolving Mysteries Through Chemistry
2015October 18-24ColorChemistry Colors Our World
2014October 19-25CandyThe Sweet Side of Chemistry: Candy
2013October 20-26EnergyEnergy: Now and Forever!
October 21-27NanotechnologyNanotechnology: The Smallest BIG Idea in Science!
2011October 16-22Chemistry and HealthChemistry: Our Health, Our Future!
2010October 17-23Movie Special EffectsBehind the Scenes with Chemistry!
2009October 18-24Periodic TableChemistry—It’s Elemental!
2008October 19-25Sports Chemistry Having a Ball with Chemistry
2007October 21-27Careers in ChemistryThe Many Faces of Chemistry
2006October 22-28Materials Chemistry, Home SafetyYour Home—It’s All Built on Chemistry
2005October 16-22Chemistry in ToysThe Joy of Toys
2004October 17-23Food and Body ChemistryHealth and Wellness
2003October 19-25Atmospheric Chemistry and Chemical ReactionsEarth’s Atmosphere and Beyond!
2002October 20-26Soaps and DetergentsChemistry Keeps Us Clean!
2001November 4-10Chemistry and ArtCelebrating Chemistry and Art
2000November 5-11Kitchen ChemistryGet Cooking With Chemistry
1999November 7-3Polymer ChemistryA Global Salute To Polymers
1998November 1-7Pigments and DyesWorld of Color
1997November 2-8Chemistry Is EverywherePlanet Chemistry
National Chemistry Week Logo
National Chemistry Day Parade
National Chemistry Day Parade 1987 (Washington, DC)

Find Your
Local NCW Coordinator

Find Your Local Coordinator Map
Contact icon

Contact the ACS Office of Science Outreach