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Vol. 35 No. 2
March-April 2013


IUPAC Wire | News and information on IUPAC, its fellows, and members organizations
See also www.iupac.org/indexes/News

Chemical World Tour

In coordination with the 2011 celebrations of the International Year of Chemistry two years ago, five French students travelled on the Chemical World Tour to find out more about five innovations in chemistry that are likely to shape the future. Season I of the Chemical Word Tour was so successful that the organizers, French Union of Chemical Industries and the Fondation Internationale de la Maison de la Chimie, decided in 2012 to launch Season 2 on “Chemistry and Sport” to coincide with the London Olympic Games.

The CWT Step by Step

The Chemical World Tour starts with a casting session. An initial shortlist is drawn up based on written applications. This is followed by video-conferences with the candidates and final selection by a jury of professionals as part of a filmed talent-contest-style session.

For the 2012 event, 10 students were selected: five chemistry students (from professional baccalaureate to Ph.D.) and five journalism students from the European Institute of Journalism. Participants were paired in journalist/chemist teams with the aim of mixing complementary talents and providing a mutually beneficial experience.

Following a day’s training session (on how to operate a mini camera and prepare for video shoots, etc.), each team was sent on a two–three day shoot, supervised by staff from CAPA Entreprises. The shoot provided material for participants to post on their blogs, such as photos/video footage, their impressions, what they learned, etc.

Once shooting was finished, the reports were edited by CAPA Entreprises and posted online in August 2012. The voting period opened on 30 August 2012 and for a month, followers were asked to vote for their favorite report.

Objectives

The Chemical World Tour is an initiative of the French Union of Chemical Industries and Fondation Internationale de la Maison de la Chimie, under an agreement with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Higher Education and Research. The CWT has two main objectives: to explain how the chemical industry helps to create a more sustainable, safe, and successful sporting environment; and to encourage talented youngsters to take an interest in a career in the chemical industry.

For the 2012 Tour, five teams produced five reports from all corners of the globe. Each team visited R&D facilities equipped with a camera and film crew. The five teams travelled to the following destinations between 2–13 July 2012 and returned with unique stories and reports:

  • Nordine and Pauline went to Rhodia in Brazil and returned with a story on smart-fiber fabrics for use in sportswear.
  • Nora and Loïc travelled to Arkema in Japan to report on athletic shoes and bio chemistry.
  • Perrine and Mickaël went to Dow in Spain and learned about artificial grass surfaces for new athletic facilities.
  • Sara and Tanguy went to Bayer in Germany and reported on the technology used to manufacture soccer balls.
  • Pierre and Hélena travelled to BASF in Germany to prepare a report on Phthalate-free PCV compounds for athletic facilities.
To view each team’s report, visit <www.chemicalworldtour.fr>.

It still remains to be seen if a CWT can be repeated again this year or next, but the feedback from participants has been encouraging. According to UIC Communications Director Hélène Méjean, “the objective of this operation is two-fold. To show what goes on behind the scenes by going to the source of the innovation to understand the role played by the chemical industry and to stimulate interest from our younger generation in chemistry.”

The 2012 CWT received support from the following partners: Arkema, BASF, Bayer, The Dow Chemical Company, Rhodia—a member of the Solvay Group, CAPA Entreprises—a radio/TV subsidiary of CAPA Press, European Institute of Journalism, and MCE—student television channel.

Aside from the Chemical World Tour, the UIC and the Fondation Internationale de la Maison de la Chimie have also collaborated onthe development of two serious games: “Super Kimy” (www.superkimy.com), for 7–11 year olds, and “Projet M2C” (www.projetm2c.com), for children 12 and over.

www.chemicalworldtour.fr

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