On January 29, the opening ceremony of the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements took place at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. The International Year is proclaimed by the UN General Assembly. UNESCO has been designated as the main agency responsible for coordinating activities for the Year. This large-scale event is dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the discovery of the Periodic Law of Chemical Elements by the great Russian scientist D.I. Mendeleev.
At first, the initiative to celebrate the Year belonged to Russia, then it was supported by a number of foreign countries and international scientific organizations, as well as more than 80 national academies of sciences and scientific societies.
The Russian delegation at the opening ceremony was headed by the Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, M.M. Kotyukov. In his welcoming remarks on behalf of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, it is noted that “the joint celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements is a tribute to the scientific world to the work and merits of Dmitry Mendeleev.”
As "a subject of special pride," it is characterized by "the appearance of new elements in the classical Table whose names have "Russian roots"- mendelevium, oganesson, moscovium, dubnium."
In her speech, UNESCO Director General O. Azule thanked the Government of the Russian Federation and partners in organizing the ceremony for their support and expressed confidence that the International Year would be an excellent opportunity to step up international scientific and technical collaboration and create new forms of cooperation.
The highlights of the ceremony were the lectures by Nobel Laureate in Chemistry (2016) B.Fering on the role of the Periodic Table in the development of society, the scientific director of the Flerov Laboratory of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, Academician Yu.C.Oganesyan on the recently discovered elements of the table, and a member of the British Royal Chemical Society, Professor M.Polyakoff.
The opening of the Year was timed to the Interactive Chemical Exhibition "Science for All", prepared by the All-Russian Science Festival NAUKA 0+ with the support of the Art, Science and Sport Charity Foundation, which aroused the keen interest of the public, especially students and schoolchildren. In the framework of the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements, a large number of activities are planned: scientific conferences, thematic exhibitions, competitions for young scientists, etc.
"On the sidelines" of the ceremony, the Minister of Science and Higher Education, M.M. Kotyukov, held a bilateral meeting with UNESCO Director General O. Azule, at which participants discussed all areas of cooperation. Among the priority areas of cooperation, the activities of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, the implementation of scientific and educational projects, including the forthcoming participation of the Organization in the Moscow International Salon of Education (April of this year), as well as the prospects for developing ethical principles of using artificial intelligence and genome technologies were noted.