By: Mohd Sukor Su’ait and Shangeetha Ganesan
Science outreach became a lower priority during the pandemic in the majority country with the most attention given to the intervention on public health & awareness and later, economy driven activity is the urgency due to inflation, job security and stability. Beyond the existing barrier for chemistry outreach program in gender, ethnics, cultural, and geographical location as highlighted in model of diverse, equitable, inclusive and respectful (DEIR), the new challenge faces in post-pandemic on stigma, psychological, behavioural, socioeconomic status, and other factors operating within an individual, family unit, local community, or/and societal levels. The understanding on these factors, in turn, should provide advance knowledge of how Chemistry Outreach Program able to mitigate the challenge in post-pandemic and support recovery, renewal and resiliency to the society.
ACS Malaysia Chapter is committed to break the barrier by providing our local members an opportunity to reach out to the targeted community and location. In continuation of the similar success and adaptation to the current landscape, 2023 Chemistry Festival is proposed to be organized virtually and in-person which will involve inclusive participation across the Malaysia regions. This activity has been highly valued among the members due to the positive impacts observed during the past events. This year event is designed based on “CHEMISTRY Ἀσκληπιός” that represent “The Healing Power of Chemistry” theme by various chemical element available in today’s modern developments in medicine that have allowed us to support life-threatening conditions via diagnostic, therapeutic and intervention procedures. Asclepius (/æsˈkliːpiəs/; Greek: Ἀσκληπιός Asklēpiós [asklɛːpiós]; Latin: Aesculapius) is a hero and god of medicine in ancient Greek mythology, a son of Apollo (god of healing, truth, and prophecy). Thus, the proposed outreach event will be embedded with the values of attractive, significant, connecting and sustainable of medicinal chemistry and public health. ACS Chemistry Festivals experiments will be converted into a compact kit, suitable for children of all ages. The experiments will be carefully selected to embody the ACS spirit of safety, and aligns with the theme of the 2023 National Chemistry Week (#ACS_NCW) which is celebrated during the week of October 15-21. This theme is apt with the current situation of post-pandemic that we are in. There are so many drugs being tested and on trails too. The educational kits were formulated using the materials readily available in a home environment, but prepared for them in a convenient kit. “CHEMISTRY Ἀσκληπιός” will bring participants to have deep experiential chemistry learning via psychometric approaches, virtually or in-person. The active involvement of volunteers from among the researchers and scientists to communicate science and expose the participants to the fascinating chemistry through interesting experiments. Therefore, “CHEMISTRY Ἀσκληπιός” should achieve the objectives in nurturing student’s interest in chemistry by interactive learning and attractive experiences as well as cultivating the chemistry knowledge and learning.