International Year of Periodic Table 2019 celebrated at the University of Karachi-Pakistan with 2nd International Conference of Chemistry and its Role in Sciences under the theme "Chemistry Today”

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Celebrating International Year of Periodic Table 2019, 2nd International Conference of Chemistry and its Role in Sciences under the theme "Chemistry Today" was held at the University of Karachi- Pakistani from 2 – 4 August 2019.

The Conference was opened by the Vice Chancellor of University of Karachi Prof. Dr. Khalid Iraqi and the President ECOSF Prof. Dr. Manzoor H. Soomro was the Chief Guest in the Inauguration Ceremony.

The Vice Chancellor in his opening remarks welcomed   the Chief Guest, Distinguished Delegates and the Participants. He shared his wisdom for uplifting the University and appreciated the organizers of the Conference i.e., Department of Chemistry of the University for celebrating the year of Periodic Table and organizing the 2nd International Conference. He hoped that, during the conference, there would be some fruitful discussion and outcome in the field of Chemistry.

Prof. Soomro in his remarks as Chief Guest said that during its 74th Plenary Meeting, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2019 as the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements (IYPT 2019) on 20 December 2017. Based on UN’s proclamation in 2017, the IYPT2019 was adopted by the UNESCO General Conference at its 39th Session. The IYPT 2019 also commemorates the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements as 1869 is considered to be the year of discovery of the Periodic System by the Russian scientist, Dmitri Mendeleev. The International Year aims to recognize the importance of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements as one of the most important and influential achievements in modern science reflecting the essence not only of chemistry, but also of physics, biology and other basic sciences disciplines. Thus the IYPT 2019 is an opportunity to reflect upon many aspects of the periodic table, including its history, the role of women in research, global trends and perspectives on science for sustainable development, and the social and economic impacts of this field.

As an ordinary citizen, I may not have any interest in the organization of the periodic table even though as per Wikipedia, it can be used to derive relationships between various elements and their properties, and also to predict chemical properties and behaviors of undiscovered or newly synthesized elements. But the real appreciation of the society would develop only when you the chemists elaborate and highlight this relationship between elements in a common language to be understood by the public at large.

He also shared that the milestone work of Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev publishing the first recognizable periodic table in 1869, which was developed mainly to illustrate periodic trends of the then-known elements. He also predicted some properties of unidentified elements that were expected to fill the gaps within the table. Most of his forecasts proved to be correct. Mendeleev's idea has been slowly expanded and refined with the discovery or synthesis of further new elements and the development of new theoretical models to explain chemical behaviour.

Dr. Soomro told that the modern periodic table now provides a useful framework for analyzing chemical reactions, and continues to be widely used in chemistry, nuclear physics and other sciences However, the ordinary members of the society have no knowledge of importance of periodic table, or Chemistry for that matter. Thus if you as chemists wish the importance of Chemistry to be more popular, please develop linkages with Industry and the Public, he said. And for interaction with public and the young generation- the future of any nation, you need to give some time to development of exhibits in your institutions and in schools around you. I strongly feel that students from universities can help school teachers in explanation of chemical concepts and reactions to the pupils in schools. Realizing the importance of public awareness about science including chemistry, I have personally been pursuing the education of school teachers and children through what we call the Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE) and for public, I have been organizing thematic travelling exhibitions- one has been exclusively on Chemistry!

He also shared that ECO Science Foundation runs IBSE programme in collaboration with its international partners- IAP SEP, LAMAP and ISTIC and lately with CAST of China

  • Teenager Maker Camps
  • CASTIC and participation of young scientists from ECO member countries
  • Digital@Double Hundred Universities Cooperation Programme together with the Academy of Engineering and Technology of the Developing World (AETDEW).

At the end, he thanked once again the University of Karachi and the Department of Chemistry, especially Dr. Rafia Azmat and Professor Iraqi for inviting and giving him the opportunity to have spoken in the Conference.The participants discussed the trends and latest research being carried out world over. They also shared their experiences, wisdom and developed networking for future collaboration in the field of chemistry.

The outcome of the conference will be published in the research Journal.

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