The Periodic Table of Chemical Elements is more than just a guide or catalogue of the entire known atoms in the universe; it is essentially a window on the universe, helping to expand our understanding of the world around us. Next year will mark the 150th anniversary of its creation by Russian scientist Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleev.
"The periodic table of chemical elements is 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 disciplines. It is a unique tool, giving scientists the opportunity to predict the appearance and properties of elements on Earth and in the universe as a whole,” said Jean-Paul Ngome-Abiaga, coordinator for the celebration of the Year at UNESCO. “This observance, including activities around the world, will underscore its importance for science, technology and sustainable human development."
Further proof of the periodic table’s continuing relevance to science will be a tribute during the Year of the recently completed advanced discoveries of four super heavy elements of the Periodic Table of Mendeleev with atomic numbers 113 (Nihonium), 115 (Moskovi), 117 (Tennesin) and 118 (Oganesson), which were only possible through international scientific cooperation.
The International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements is an extension of the International Year of Chemistry in 2011 and the International Year of Crystallography in 2014. This year also provides an opportunity for UNESCO to promote the basic sciences for sustainable development, including through UNESCO’s International Basic Sciences Programme (IBSP).
"I believe these events planned for 2019 will demonstrate the important role of the basic sciences in solving problems around the world, demonstrating the progress generated by scientific discoveries, and encouraging the next generation to expand the boundaries of human knowledge, just as Dmitry Mendeleyev demonstrated in the 19th century, "said Jean-Paul Ngome-Abiaga.
On 20 December 2017, during its 72nd session, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 2019 the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements. Previously, this initiative was sponsored by the Russian Federation within the framework of UNESCO and was approved at the 39th session of the General Conference of the Organization.
More than 150 leading scientific centers around the world supported the idea of proclaiming the Year, including the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), the International Union of Theoretical and Applied Physics, the European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences, the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Astronomical Union, Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR), and the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science and Technology. UNESCO-IBSP and IUPAC will coordinate the International Year in cooperation with national, regional and international chemical societies and unions.
Preparations for the celebration of the Year have already begun with some planned to take place in the Russian Federation.