All members of the Slovak Chemical Society under 35 years of age are also members of the Youth Forum. Currently, there are around 130 members.
The chair is Michal Procházka from the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Bratislava. The vice chair is Denisa Vargová from the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Comenius University in Bratislava.
Before the establishment of the Youth Forum in late 2018, young people were already an active part of the Slovak Chemical Society. Some of their main activities were:
- Organizing the Summer School for Young Chemists and Chemistry Summer School. These are events for high-school and elementary-school students who are interested in chemistry. Different fields of chemistry are taught in the form of lectures and laboratory workshops.
- Cooperation on preparing students for chemistry olympiads. This includes organizing the boot camps where the participants are selected, authoring problems for all rounds of the national olympiad, and contributing their theoretical knowledge for lectures in Bratislava, Banská Bystrica, and Košice as well as their laboratory skills throughout the year.
- Helping with the organization of the 50th International Chemistry Olympiad in 2018. The olympiad was co-organized in a joint effort by the Czech and Slovak Republics. The competition’s theoretical and practical exams took place in Bratislava in Slovakia at the Faculty of Natural Sciences of Comenius University. This involved a lot of preparation that started more than a year in advance. Young members were involved in preparing most of the practical exam, which included 300 benches with more than 100 pieces of equipment and chemicals for each student. This was all done to meet high standards and also involved supervision during the exams as well as collecting and evaluating the results. Others worked as chaperones for the students and took care of them during their whole stay. After the competition, volunteers helped distribute the glassware and other equipment to high schools all over Slovakia.
A team from Slovakia takes part in the International Chemistry Olympiad every year and usually receives several medals. This success can also be attributed to the efforts of people who take time to give lectures and prepare study materials for the students. Students also participate in other international competitions, such as the International Mendeleev Chemistry Olympiad.
Figure 1. Participants of the 51st IChO in Paris, France, with their mentors. Photo credit: Slovak Chemistry Olympiad Archives
- Actively participating in preparing conferences, mainly the Congress of the Slovak and Czech Chemical Societies. This event is held in Slovakia every other year. There are additional international conferences, too, such as the bi-annual Advances in Organic Chemistry in Smolenice. Each university also has its own student conference, which is mainly organized by students.
The current activities of the Youth Forum are building on the already established projects. They are also aimed at strengthening collaboration on a national as well as an international level. Some of these activities include:
- A youth-oriented section was added to the program of the 71st Congress of the Slovak and Czech Chemical Societies. After the youth section, Nobel Laureate Professor Ben Feringa of The Netherlands was kind enough to engage in a lively discussion with young chemists on different topics, including advice for early-career researchers.
- The Slovak Chemical Society has sent delegates to annual meetings of the European Young Chemists’ Network (EYCN) for three years now and is actively involved in various collaborative projects. A collaboration with the International Younger Chemists Network (IYCN) was initiated last year.
- Several groups attended the European Researchers Night in Bratislava and Košice. The aim of this festival was to familiarize the general public with science and research. The public can try the latest technologies and instruments under the guidance of scientists, participate in experiments, watch demonstrations and simulations, exchange ideas, and party with the researchers.
Figure 2. Young chemists at the European Researchers Night in Košice. Photo credit: Jana Hovancová
- The Youth Forum also organized the first Global Women’s Breakfast in Slovakia in 2020. The meeting received positive feedback from the participants. The main topics were the challenges women face in science (all speakers were from academia), networking, and role models. The event marked a very successful start to a new tradition, forming bonds between the Youth Forum of the Slovak Chemical Society, the National Committee of IUPAC in Slovakia, and the Association of Doctoral Students in Slovakia. We are looking forward to future collaborations.
Figure 3. Participants of the Global Women´s Breakfast in Bratislava. Photo credit: Michal Procházka
Currently, the Slovak Chemical Society Youth Forum is seeking active new members. They are welcome to join and bring their own ideas or participate in ongoing projects.
- Webpage of Slovak Chemical Society Youth Forum
- Slovak Chemical Society Youth Froum on Facebook (@forummladych)
- Slovak Chemical Society Youth Forum on Twitter (@SlovakYouth)
Also of Interest
- The Future of Chemistry is Global,
Vera Koester, Paula C. P. Bueno, Sophie Carenco, Christine Dunne, Lori Ferrins, Evijola Llabani, Nnanake-Abasi Offiong, Ilya V. Vorotyntsev,
ChemViews Mag. 2017.
Members of the newly formed International Younger Chemists Network (IYCN) talk about their ideas, aims, and work
- Behind the Scenes at the 50th International Chemistry Olympiad.
ChemViews Mag. 2018.
The world’s most prestigious pre-university chemical competition