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Minnesota House of Representatives passes 2011 International Year of Chemistry Resolution

MINNEAPOLIS, March 11, 2011 The Minnesota House of Representatives has passed a bi-partisan resolution recognizing 2011 as the International Year of Chemistry (IYC), according to the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Minneapolis) and Rep. Duane Quam (R-Byron) co-sponsored the resolution, and the North Star State is the first U.S. legislative body to back the United Nation's declaration of 2011 as the International Year of Chemistry.

"Members of the Minnesota Government and Legislative Affairs Committee and Minnesota Local Section of ACS were delighted to attend the House floor session last week in which the IYC resolution was read into the record," said Matt Mortensen, Chair of the Minnesota ACS Government and Legislative Affairs (GALA) Committee. "We are so glad that Minnesota has state representatives that recognize the importance of chemistry and the sciences in general, even in such tough economic times. The diversity of our delegation, which included researchers, professors, K-12 educators and quality and regulatory professionals, shows just how many roles chemists play in our state's economy."

The resolution by the Committee on Rules and Legislative Administration of the House of Representatives of the State of Minnesota:

  1. "Recognizes 2011 as the International Year of Chemistry;
  2. Recognizes the necessity of educating the public on the merits of the sciences, including chemistry and promoting interest in these fields in the youth of the nation;
  3. Supports the goals of International Year of Chemistry; and
  4. Encourages the people of the great state of Minnesota to participate in the International Year of Chemistry through appropriate recognition, programs, activities and ceremonies to call attention to the importance of chemistry to our well-being, present and future."

A copy of the full House resolution, as well as a photo of the ACS delegation that attended the statehouse ceremony, are both available online at:

At the statehouse event March 3, Reps. Kahn and Quam were joined by six chemists and chemical engineers who represent the diversity of jobs and organizations in which Minnesota chemists serve. They are members of the ACS GALA Committee and of the ACS Minnesota Local Section. The GALA Committee includes volunteers from the five local sections serving the state of Minnesota: LaCrosse-Winona, Lake Superior, Minnesota, Red River Valley and Sioux Valley sections.

The International Year of Chemistry was designated by the United Nations. The program is an initiative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). The IYC international opening ceremony was held at UNESCO's headquarters in Paris, France, on January 27-28, 2011, and drew more than 1,000 delegates from 60 countries. The United States' kickoff ceremony was held in Philadelphia, Pa., on Feb. 1, 2011 at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. The Minnesota legislature is the U.S. legislative body to officially recognize the International Year of Chemistry; a number of states are expected to follow in the coming weeks.

Minnesota's chemists and chemical engineers, many of whom serve as ACS Chemistry Ambassadors sponsoring and organizing chemistry education and information events, will make extra efforts throughout 2011 to plan a range of events for audiences of all ages highlighting the important role of chemistry. More information about these events is available online at the following websites: and

Kahn is a member of the Minnesota Legislature, serving her 15th term. With a Ph.D. in biophysics from Yale University, she has been active nationally on issues involving science and public policy. Her district includes much of the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus.

Quam is an engineer with CTG/IBM. He earned his B.S. in engineering and M.S. in physics from the University of Texas at Dallas. He is a first-term Representative, elected in the 2010 elections. He has served as chair of the Minnesota State Academic Science Standards Writing Committee. His district, near Rochester, Minn., includes portions of Dodge and Olmsted Counties.


Contact: Denise Anderson
American Chemical Society

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