For the second year in a row, Attraction chimique has received a grant of $5,000 from the CIC’s Chemical Education Fund (CEF). The Québec city-based organization, founded in 2011 by Université Laval chemistry professors Normand Voyer and Michèle Auger, works against the often negative public perception of chemistry by providing dynamic, entertaining and interactive chemistry workshops for participants aged 7 to 77. The new funding will allow Attraction chimique to increase its impact, including further expansions into English-speaking Canada.
Attraction chimique has developed workshops based around six themes: the chemistry of food, the science of fireworks and special effects, forensics, radioactivity, materials and the history of chemistry in Quebec. The hands-on workshops are performed mostly in schools, but also in museums, shopping centres and public festivals of all kinds including Expo Québec and the Eurêka! science festival in Montréal. Participants become ‘chemists-for-a-day’ and perform real experiments and demonstrations. To date, the organization has held almost 100 events across Quebec and even in Ontario. During its first two years of operation, more than 400,000 individuals were reached; the goal is to reach a 100,000 more by the end of 2014.
“The CEF funding is really crucial to us. It allowed Attraction chimique to buy equipment used for our new theme, ‘Materials, United We Stand.’ It has also financed the translation of our workshops for English-speaking schools,” says Jean-Daniel Doucet, manager of Attraction chimique. In addition to the funding from the CEF, Attraction chimique is supported by the Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche, de la Science et de la Technologie du Québec and close to 10 other partners. “Thanks in part to the CEF funding, Attraction chimique is ready to hit the road,” says Doucet. “We plan to travel to further Quebec regions, but also to Ontario and New Brunswick in 2013 and 2014.”