Sheila Jackson-Lee: Supporting the Goals and Ideals of National Chemistry Week (2009)

Supporting the Goals and Ideals of National Chemistry Week
by Sheila Jackson-Lee

Supporting the Goals and Ideals of National Chemistry Week



Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H. Res 793, "Supporting the goals and ideals of National Chemistry Week." I support this resolution because success in science is of the utmost importance for the future of our youth and our nation.

In order to keep America as a leader in science we need to focus on the success of our youth by emphasizing achievement in all academic endeavors. Letting our students fall behind those of the rest of the world is a mistake we cannot afford.

Chemistry is a field of science and technology that has transformed the world and will vastly improve the quality of life around the globe. Chemical sciences create an infrastructure that delivers the foods, fuels, medicines, and materials that are the hallmark of modern life. Chemical scientists and engineers are essential to technological progress and to the health of many industries, including the chemical, pharmaceutical, electronics, agricultural, automotive, and aerospace industries. The contributions of chemists boost economic growth, create new jobs, and improve health and standards of living. My home district, Texas' 18th District and other parts of Houston are the hub for many of these industries, namely NASA, the Medical Center, and the Port of Houston.

In order to foster the innovation that America needs to ensure global competitiveness, our schools must cultivate the finest scientists, engineers, and technicians from every background and neighborhood. We must strive to focus on increasing access to science, technology, engineering, and math education for Latinos, African-Americans, women, and other underrepresented students in these fields.

National Chemistry Week was established in 1987 by the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, to enhance the publics' appreciation of the chemical sciences and also to educate the public. 2009 also marks the 140th anniversary of Dmitri Mendeleev's creation of the Periodic Table of the Elements, one of the greatest achievements in scientific history. The theme of National Chemistry Week this year is, "Chemistry--It's Elemental", which was chosen to raise public awareness about the importance of chemistry and the chemical sciences by emphasizing that the elements, forming the basis of the universe, play an integral role in daily life. There are many common elements, such as copper in electrical wires, neon in lights, sodium in table salt, and aluminum in soda cans, that are tangibly present in everyday life.

This year, it is anticipated that more than 10,000 volunteers from industry, government, and academia will observe National Chemistry Week during the week of October 18, 2009, by conducting hands-on science activities with millions of children in local schools, libraries, and museums. National Chemistry Week encourages volunteers to provide resources to science educators across the country, promote community events for recycling common elemental items such as aluminum cans, encourage students to explore creative representations of the elements in the Periodic Table, and generally act as "chemistry ambassadors" who emphasize the importance and contributions of chemistry to daily life.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).