What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “chemistry”?We asked, and the answers will probably not shock you. Out of the hundreds of people surveyed in our Perception of Chemistry Survey, positive responses like “It’s amazing” were few and far between — our responses primarily ranged from “boring” and “difficult” to even outright “dangerous”.
We here at ChemTalk believe that chemistry is the most exciting subject out there, but we know that the vast majority of people don’t agree. Our organization’s mission is to make chemistry fun and easy to learn for the entire planet. As the data shows, many people run away from this subject because of its intimidating reputation. This negative mindset is keeping thousands of people from seeing the beauty this subject has to offer. Chemistry is undeniably relevant in all our lives. From baking a birthday cake to the leaves changing color in the fall, chemistry is everywhere around us. Chemistry at Work in Everyday Life Johannes Schneider, CC BY-SA 4.0. Wikipedia Commons
Who is ChemTalk?
We have an amazing team of over 20 volunteers and a fast-growing board of advisors that span all of North America. Anywhere you are, we are local! Every member of our team is in charge of different aspects of our organization, from writing content for our webpage to running our many social media accounts. We work as a team to create beautiful content that not only can teach chemistry but also help develop a passion for chemistry.
A ChemTalk Infographic About Chemical ReactionsIn this modern age, we have many more ways to engage with the public than ever. The increase in forms of media opens new windows to demographics that other science communicators might not be fully utilizing. We aim to publish content in as many forms on many different platforms to engage with the largest number of people as possible. Through published tutorials and infographics on our webpage, Instagram reels and TikTok posts, long and short-form videos, an email newsletter, and an interview series highlighting chemistry jobs and research, we promote chemistry to all ages: kids, students, adults, and everyone in between.
Chemistry as a subject is evolving every second, and with every new ounce of chemistry knowledge, we are also learning more about how students learn best. Some feedback from students indicates that many people find chemistry and laboratory classes to be more difficult and less engaging than they could be. A big part of our goal as an organization is to generate additional exciting resources to supplement a typical classroom and lab experience.
Our Youtube videos showcase a variety of safe experiments at different difficulty levels that most people can replicate at home! The current curriculum provides students with a wonderful foundation for future study in chemistry courses. Combined with our supplementary content, together we can better instill in students a passion for chemistry.
https://www.youtube.com/embed/dlHMYxZ99Gw?wmode=opaqueWe want to engage with a larger number of students to see how amazing chemistry can be and encourage them to take up careers in the science fields; however, we are not limiting our reach to only students! Currently, we are actively developing more chemistry experiments and demonstrations in the ChemTalk research lab. These experiments are designed to engage several different audiences, including middle, high school, and college students, teachers, and working scientists.
Last but not least, a portion of our mission is to provide students with modern chemistry role models. When asking fellow science majors who their role models in chemistry were, we received astounding results that very few people had someone to look up to in chemistry that was still alive today. Young people especially tend not to be aware of the amazing chemists at work today, simply because no one else seems to be talking about them either.Dr. Lauren Zarzar: Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Pennsylvania State University and one of our ChemTalk Advisors.The main focus of our interview series is to showcase different researchers, scientists, and professors who are doing groundbreaking work in the chemistry field. We have had amazing guests on our podcast like Nobel Laureate Roald Hoffmann and Dr. Michelle O’Malley and Dr. Lauren Zarzar, Professors at UC Santa Barbara and Pennsylvania State University, respectively, who have shared with us more about their research and roles as professionals. These are the sorts of amazing minds we want people to hear more about and to see as role models.
From what we can tell, we inhabit a unique place in the chemistry ecosystem. Our mission is to create the world’s #1 chemistry portal to show the entire planet how amazing chemistry is. Our goal is not an easy one to accomplish, but with our dedicated, hardworking team, we are making major strides. We invite you to join us on this journey.