From today until 5 July, the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cape Town will be offering an interactive public programme to celebrate the International Year of Chemistry.

The deparment is presenting a wide range of events to give insight into what chemistry is about and how it impacts on so many different aspects of our everyday lives. There is something on offer for everyone, it says, from young children to senior school learners and adults.  
Professor Anton le Roex, Dean of the Faculty of Science, says: “Understanding even the basics of chemistry can help everyone make intelligent decisions about maintaining their health and how they purchase and use food, beauty/grooming products and other products in used in their daily lives. Chemistry can even increase our understanding of how our emotions work. And it can be fun!”
According to the IYC website: “The International Year of Chemistry 2011 is a worldwide celebration of the achievements of chemistry and its contributions to the well-being of humankind. The Year of Chemistry is intended to reach across the globe, with opportunities for public participation at the local, regional, and national level.”
The programme seeks to encourage learners to consider an education and career in chemistry, to increase South Africa’s skills base with qualified chemists who can work in health, food, engineering, IT, pharmaceutical and industrial sectors. Another aim of the programme is to highlight how African-based knowledge and expertise can contribute to the world’s body of knowledge.
The UCT events will include mini lectures covering topics ranging from molecules, malaria, mineral water and traditional medicine to cosmetics, crystals and computers. These topics are free and open to the public.  
List of mini lectures:
·         Chemistry of Mineral Waters – What does it teach us?  Healthy Spin-offs or Trendy Rip-offs?
·         Lessons from the History of Chemistry:  Foundations of How We Think.
·         How Chemistry Contributes to the Safety of Herbal & Traditional Medicines
·         Crystal Healing:  Solid State Chemistry & Drug Performance
·         The Beauty of Symmetry in Chemistry
·         Short History of Malaria Chemotherapy: from Pigments & Priests to Modern Drug Discovery
·         Chemistry in Health & Disease:  Marvellous & Malevolent Metals
·         Chemistry & IT:  Looking into the Heart of the Molecule using High Performance Computing
·         Chemistry of Garlic:  From Smell to Well
·         Chemistry, Beauty & Grooming
·         Chemistry of Kidney Stones:  Bizarre & Beautiful
Other events in the two week long programme include Chemistry in Action in which exciting experiments will be demonstrated and explained. Tour de Chemistry will offer a behind the scenes glimpse of chemical research at UCT while Chemistry, Cupcakes and Cookies, through a fun interactive demonstration entertains kids and the young at heart.
The keynote lecture, Chemistry between ourselves: Insights into human behaviour explores the extent to which the science of chemistry has contributed to our understanding of human behaviour and relationships. The Intervarsity/ Interschool Chemistry Quiz will test the brilliant minds of aspiring young scientist.