FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | October 17, 2006

National Chemistry Week 2006: Building for the future

You probably are not aware of it, but from the moment you wake up in the morning and step onto your bedroom floor virtually everything you see and touch and use in your home is part of the world of chemistry. In fact, almost everything workers have used to build your house or apartment –– from the shingles on the roof to the cement in the basement –– has been developed by chemists. It’s also chemistry that makes the plywood sturdy, the paint waterproof, the carpet stain-resistant, and the porcelain sink able to withstand high temperatures.

Children and adults across the nation will discover the contributions of chemistry to the homebuilding industry during the 19th annual National Chemistry Week (NCW) celebration, held Oct. 22-28. Sponsored by the American Chemical Society (ACS), this year’s NCW theme is “Your Home — It's All Built on Chemistry.”

NCW is a community-based program that unites ACS local sections, businesses, schools and the public in communicating the importance of chemistry to the quality of life. Activities at will be offered in cities across the country, and they can be done at home by kids and their parents. They include:

  • Making salt dough “bricks” that mimic the real thing by changing from elastic to hard and rigid
  • Investigating what materials make the best insulation, using ice cubes, wax paper, plastic wrap, newspaper and aluminum foil
  • Preparing paint from colored chalk, water and glue
  • Using spaghetti to learn about the strength of plywood

Other resources available online include:

  • A Kids’ Page, where kids, parents and teachers learn how chemistry is a part of everyday life through games, activities and fun information
  • Celebrating Chemistry, a newspaper for elementary school students, that features hands-on activities related to home-building materials, home safety and preparedness, and home recycling and conservation
  • Information about Home Safety Fairs, a K-12 national poster contest focused on science in home safety
  • A Student Affiliates Chemvention contest challenging ACS chapters to use chemical principles to develop a new green building material or improve an existing one for a home

During NCW ACS Immediate Past President William F. Carroll, Jr., will be hitting the road to help ACS Local Sections, Student Affiliates and high school chemistry clubs celebrate their special National Chemistry Week events. He will be traveling from Oct. 21–28, visiting nine cities in one week while covering up to 200 miles a day. Carroll, a lively and articulate spokesperson for chemistry, will be doing demonstrations and giving talks during his “Extreme Tour” as follows:

  • St. Louis, Mo., Saturday, Oct. 21, ACS Local Section, St. Louis Science Center, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Birmingham, Mich., Sunday, Oct. 22, ACS Detroit Local Section, Cranbrook Institute of Science, noon to 4 p.m.
  • Oglesby, Ill., Monday, Oct. 23, Illinois Valley Community College, 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., and Holy Family School with Carus Chemical Co., 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Evansville, Ind., Tuesday, Oct. 24, high school chemistry competition, Southern Indiana ACS Local Section, USI College Colloquium, 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Cleveland, Ohio, Wednesday, Oct. 25, presentation to disadvantaged, underrepresented high school students, Case Western Reserve University, Chemistry Dept., 2-3 pm.
  • Rocky River, Ohio, Wednesday, Oct. 25, ACS Cleveland Local Section, North Olmsted Library, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Greencastle, Ind., Thursday, Oct. 26, ACS Student Affiliate Chapter, DePauw University, Department of Chemistry, 8 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
  • Chicago, Ill., Friday, Oct. 27, presentations to students at Walter Payton High School, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., and Whitney Young High School,10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
  • River Falls, Wis., Saturday, Oct. 28, expo at Concordia University, Chemistry Dept., 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.