ChemistryViews celebrates its tenth birthday this year. This is a great opportunity to look back on what we have achieved, to remember the beginning together with our readers, authors, and Society partners, to pick out highlights. And, of course, we were looking forward to various planned activities to celebrate this anniversary year with all of you. With COVID-19, not all of these ideas could be realized, and as many others, we have changed our plans and have come up with new ideas. In retrospect we are very satisfied with the outcome and your participation in the anniversary activities. Despite everything, it is a great tenth birthday.
2020 has been a very challenging year for all of us. It was a year without physical conferences and their exchange and networking opportunities, and with many other big and small restrictions. Many chemists were directly affected in their work, and I think it is especially hard for the younger ones among us. But it has also been a year that once again made us realize how important science is—especially international and interdisciplinary science. And it also shows how important the communication of science is: Communication among specialist colleagues, communication within the broad scientific community, and communication with non-scientists.
Ten years ago, the 16 Chemistry Europe societies launched ChemistryViews as their online science news magazine. It addresses the entire global chemical community and informs about what is happening in Europe and in the global chemistry community. ChemistryViews complements the national magazines of the Chemistry Europe societies and works closely together with them. And together with the societies, we continue to work on our vision of assessing, publishing, and disseminating the scientific excellence of chemical researchers from around the world across national and language barriers.
Birthday celebrations also have to do with communication. Since we couldn’t meet at conferences, we moved our anniversary activities completely to social media. Every month we chose a theme and invited readers to solve quizzes, answer questions, share opinions or photos. And we are very excited about the response and the many great interactions we have had in recent months. We would like to summarize a few of them here. You can find more about the individual monthly activities in my Editorial from January.
At this point, we would like to thank all our readers, especially those of you who were very active on our social media channels, for your great support, your ideas, for reading ChemistryViews. You have contributed to a great birthday present! And it was lots of fun interacting with you.
#guessthechemist, #yourlabstories, …
We started in January with a quiz on ChemistryViews. After this warm-up phase, we asked in February to send us photos of chromatography columns. The colorfulness of the provided pictures is amazing. You can see one example by Seren Mod below. In March, it went on with favorite reactions. Of course, the decomposition of ethanol was named, and there has to be a bang in chemistry: Pep Anton Vieta showed very spectacularly the reaction between red phosphorus and potassium chlorate with a short video. A screenshot is pictured below.
And there were also answers focussing more on utility. The “click” reaction was named, for example, since it is such a versatile tool for many fields of chemistry.
In April, we asked you to guess the chemist shown in a photo. Every day, we uncovered a bit more of a photo showing a prominent historic chemist. We posted a new picture each week. Many of you participated here. And we have certainly checked our channels more often than usual.
It continued in May with errors in movies. For example, crystal meth is not blue as shown in Breaking Bad, but it looks so much better on the screen if it is blue. In June, we had a more serious topic, we were looking for opinions on how science might be changed by the coronavirus pandemic. Ideas are that we will operate much more digitally in the future and that it is becoming easier to collaborate across distances, but there are also concerns about less funding and a loss of research time due to closed laboratories. The recently published “Top Ten Emerging Technologies in Chemistry 2020” by IUPAC fit this topic.
In July, it became lighter again, and we asked you to guess molecules. We gradually revealed images of their structure. We did the same with physical chemistry formulas in September. The tweet below shows a very nice example of an answer to one of these quizzes. In August, we looked for heroes or role models in chemistry, and in October, for stories from the lab.
Every chemist has interesting stories, anecdotes, tips, and pet peeves concerning lab work. We have learned that negative stories, such as dangerous situations, seem to be easier to tell than positive ones; at least we got more of them. Maybe this is because you believe that we can learn more from incidents and near misses and you want to push a positive learning culture.
An unpopular activity in the laboratory is, for example, recrystallization, which I also used to hate when I was still in the lab. Positive stories include the joy of pretty colorful crystals or when a reaction finally works after a long time. For example, Joanna Kowalska shared: “When a novel catalyst, which a colleague had just made for the very first time then, got a methodology to work which had previously failed in that lab for many years.”
And finally, in November, we asked you to share what is a great present for a chemist or any other science fan. This, of course, fits in very well with Christmas. My two personal highlights include █ As in previous years, our colleagues from the journal editorial offices have again collected further ideas. Maybe this will inspire you for your Christmas gifts and maybe you want to add more ideas there.
And What Comes Next?
We thank you for a great birthday year. Now we proceed to the grand finale of our anniversary competitions: As described above, we had ten contests this year. Every month we gavve away books and other small prizes among the winners. Tomorrow, we will draw two lucky winners from all participants, each of whom will receive an iPad. So stay tuned!
Today, we start with our advent calendar. This year we have decided to take a closer look at the chemistry of Christmas spices and other ingredients for Christmas cookies. There will also be some experiments for the kitchen. Have fun with them.
Thank you for your continued interest. We are looking forward to your suggestions via email, social media, or phone—and hopefully soon again in person. Happy Holidays and stay healthy!
- Editorial: Happy Birthday ChemistryViews,
ChemViews Mag. 2020.