AG Chemistry and Society

AG Chemistry and Society

Former GDCh president Dr. Thomas Geelhaar founded the work group “Chemistry and Society” at the beginning of his term in 2014 in order to strengthen the dialogue of chemistry and society. Under the central theme “Chemistry in Dialogue with the Society—Information, Fascination, Controversies”, the members of this work group are engaged in an open exchange of ideas at the interface between chemistry and society. Focal activities of the work group “Chemistry and Society” are events that create a platform for a pertinent public dialogue about new technologies in which chemistry plays a role.

Current initiatives of the work group also reflect the central theme of GDCh President Prof. Dr. Thisbe K. Lindhorst who has dedicated her term to the motto “Value Set for Chemistry”.

We would like to welcome further active members who want to enter this dialogue with society. Should you be interested in joining, please email the chair of the work group “Chemistry and Society”, Prof. Dr. Klaus Griesar. We recommend that you read the Preamble in order to get acquainted with the mission of this association and its work groups.


Chemistry is ...

Chemical reactions steer processes in the animated and inanimate nature. Thus, Chemistry is a science of nature — in short: a natural science. Moreover, the knowledge of chemistry as well as of physics and biology, for example, is applied for producing and improving many products of our everyday life. At best, the public appreciates its advantages and is aware of its risks. From our perspective, the GDCh should do more to better communicate chemical know-how so that it is easily understandable to lay people, and the GDCh should address controversial topics.

The work group “Chemistry is…” would like to raise interest in chemistry and explain chemical facts in relation to everyday life. The contributions may range from the newspaper column to Science Slam and are geared to young people as well as adults. The articles ought to neither glorify nor damn chemistry but rather present facts. Thus, the work group aims to contribute to an objective public discourse of new technologies in which chemistry plays a role.

Big Challenges – Future Chemistry

Chemistry has the opportunity to venture beyond its classical areas and, with regard to the guideline “Sustainable Chemistry”, to strive for new solutions for nutrition, health and life quality. Chemistry should be strongly engaged in the themes “Change in the Raw Materials Base”, “Energy Supply of the Future” and “Climate Change” and, thus, it should underscore its commitment to global sustainability.

The focus here is a sustainable development that, according to the frequently cited words of the Brundtland Report, “corresponds to the needs of today’s generation, without endangering the options of future generations to satisfy their own needs and to choose their own lifestyle.”

In this sense, chemistry ought to show us pathways into the future, whereby it would be a good start to follow the Millennium Development Goal and to discuss the contributions which chemistry needs to perform to achieve this.

Chemistry – Transdisciplinarity– Speech

With the topic “Fascination Chemistry”, we link our hope to catch up to our neighboring disciplines biology and physics with respect to the interest of the society.

Hereby we need to use simpler words and address exciting topics. Insofar as the topic is fascinating, the spreading of knowledge about chemistry is easy. Here we should strive towards transdisciplinarity bridging “Chemistry and the Humanities” and incorporating other disciplines such as art, architecture or music in order to spur enthusiasm. 

Science Communication – New Technologies – Acceptance

Chemistry is seeking a more solid and constructive partnership with other parts of society. “Eye to eye” dialogue means understanding in both directions and enables the exchange of opinions and perspectives and, thus, promotes an objective and balanced communication.

Even though science communication does not automatically translate to greater acceptance of new technologies, information and communication are a necessary prerequisite for a dialogue of Chemistry and Society that can lead to more technology receptiveness and risk awareness. In this context, we would like to more strongly consider newer knowledge regarding the importance of interdisciplinary and fact-based dialogue as well as the incorporation of technology assessment and social sciences.

Education and Fascination

We are called upon to introduce chemical knowledge of general importance into the society, in particular, into the next generation.

The growing generation ought to be put in the position to acquire information independently and to evaluate this information—and do this in the sense of lifetime learning. Here chemical education comprises teaching expert knowledge as well as promoting the education of far-sighted responsible personalities who are poised to critically address the global challenges and complex questions.

Therefore, the specific addressing of especially younger people ought to improve the understanding of chemical facts and future developments as well as generate fascination for chemistry. Chemistry— as well as other natural and engineering sciences— is to be understood as a part of the culture and, thus, also of modern general education.

zuletzt geändert am: 30.05.2018 09:56 Uhr von N.Bürger