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News Release 11-013

National Science Foundation and NBC Learn Launch "Chemistry Now" Video Series

Videos celebrate International Year of Chemistry; available cost-free to students, teachers and fans of chemistry

Chemistry Now with NBC Learn and NSF logos.

Weekly online video series uncovers and explains the science of common physical objects.

January 24, 2011

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

In celebration of the International Year of Chemistry, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NBC Learn, the educational arm of NBC News, have teamed up to launch "Chemistry Now," a weekly online video series that uncovers and explains the science of common physical objects in our world and the changes they undergo every day. The series also looks at the lives and work of scientists on the frontiers of 21st century chemistry.

"Chemistry Now" consists of 32 learning packages that aim to break down the chemistry behind things such as cheeseburgers and chocolate or soap and plastics. A new topic will be explored each week starting in January and running through May. The series will then resume in the fall of 2011 to keep pace with the academic school year.

Made especially for students and teachers to explore chemistry in and beyond the classroom, the online videos are matched with lesson plans from the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and are available cost-free on NBC Learn and NSF's Science360 websites and on the NSTA blog.

Weekly content includes original video stories that illustrate real-world applications of chemistry; current events and archival news stories related to chemistry; original source documents and images from the Chemical Heritage Foundation; articles from the archives and current publications of Scientific American; and content-coordinated lesson plans for middle and high school students, produced by national curriculum specialists at NSTA.

In addition, the "Chemistry Now" series will profile NSF-sponsored scientists who are hard at work on the next generation of chemistry breakthroughs.

"The International Year of Chemistry is an excellent opportunity to reach out to the public and convey to them the ways in which chemistry is involved in their lives each and every day," said Matthew Platz, director of NSF's Division of Chemistry. "We are especially excited about the opportunity that this collaboration gives us to reach out to large numbers of intelligent, energetic young people who might not have imagined that they could be contributing members of this thrilling, dynamic field."

"Chemistry Now" builds on a number of other collaborations between NBC Learn and NSF in their partnership to advance the understanding of and interest in science, technology, engineering and math. As part of the partnership, NBC Learn oversees all production of the learning packages and contributes original video, as well as historic news coverage, documentary materials and current news broadcasts from NBC News.

"Today's students thrive on the opportunity to learn from real life examples of what they are studying in school," said Soraya Gage, executive producer of NBC Learn. "Using unique and engaging storytelling, NBC News can help break down barriers to understanding complicated scientific concepts."

"'Chemistry Now' provides a fantastic opportunity for teachers to supplement classroom learning by using video and lesson plans that are supported with rich, accessible pedagogy," said Francis Eberle, executive director of NSTA. "We are delighted to contribute to the project, and we know chemistry educators will find the packages useful."

Previous NSF/NBC Learn partner projects include: "The Science of the Winter Olympics" and "The Science of NFL Football."


Media Contacts
Bobbie Mixon, NSF, (703) 292-8485, email:

Program Contacts
Susan M. Mason, NSF, (703) 292-7748, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2020 budget of $8.3 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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