Chemistry – Our Life, Our Future

November 30, 2011
School of Arts and Sciences, Amritapuri

It was a chemist who first discovered that carbon emissions were causing the earth’s temperature to rise, leading to global warming.

According to the UN, it’s likely that chemistry will help solve the world’s, water, food, energy and sanitation problems, which explains why they chose Chemistry – Our Life, Our Future as the theme for the 2011 International Year of Chemistry.


The Department of Chemistry at the Amrita School of Arts and Sciences at the Amritapuri campus also has the future of humanity in mind. On November 16, they hosted a national workshop titled Frontiers in Chemical Sciences.

The workshop was sponsored by the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment.

“The main purpose of the workshop was to bring awareness about latest advancements in the field of chemical sciences and encourage students to take up research projects,” stated Dr. Smitha Chandran S., Assistant Professor, who coordinated the event.


During the first part of the workshop, Dr. Ayan Datta from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Thiruvananthapuram expounded on several topics including ionic and covalent bonds, chemical bond splitting and the phenol-water system.

Datta also explained two techniques used to analyze compounds viz. X-ray crystallography for solids and elastic neutron scattering for liquids.

The three main types of magnetism – diamagnetism, paramagnetism and ferromagnetism were discussed.


Finally Datta briefly explained the J.J. Thompson’s Plum Pudding Model and Bohr’s Atomic Theory, both still very much in use today.

During the second part of the workshop, Dr. Swati, also from IISER, delivered a lecture on quantum mechanical treatment of spectroscopy. Swati explained the importance of nuclear models and defined the basics of quantum chemistry.

“Spectroscopy deals with the interaction of electromagnetic radiation and matter,” she said.


“Dr. Swati made Quantum Mechanics and spectroscopy easy to understand and showed the beauty behind quantum chemistry,” said first year M.Sc. student Archana, who is planning to undertake research work in spectroscopy.

The aim of the 2011 International Year of Chemistry is to promote awareness and generate enthusiasm about chemistry’s contributions to human knowledge. Like Amrita, the UN is also cultivating an appreciation for chemistry in today’s youth. When we improve their understanding, we improve our future.

After all, chemistry is essential for life.

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