Molecular Frontiers Foundation is a non-profit organization, founded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The aim is to Inspire public appreciation of molecular science globally, by:
• Stimulating an interest in science in young people
• Increasing awareness of and access to chemistry and molecular science in the general public
• Promoting communication between scientists worldwide
The Molecular Frontiers Symposium is a think tank with the Scientific Advisory Board as its core, where leading scientists from different fields meet to discuss and analyze current scientific developments. The Molecular Frontiers Symposiu
m also facilitates cross-disciplinary knowledge transfer and guides activities for the younger audience.
Annual Molecular Frontiers Symposia are held at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, typically in May or June. In 2013, the takes place May 28-29, and the topic is "Exploring the Boundaries: the Science of the Extremes ".
Topics of previous meetings:
2012: "How chemical cycles shape our planet: the global challenge"
2011: "Origin of Life and Molecular Evolution"
2010: “Alternative energy & Molecules”
2009: "Of Molecules and Minds - the Machinery of Our Senses and Emotions"
2008: "Energy and Nano: Emerging Molecular Science & Technology"
The symposia are open to anyone, free of charge. High school students are invited to participate and ask questions to the scientists in a dedicated session called "Forum LIVE!". Registration takes place via the homepage of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
Molecular Frontiers Symposia have also been organized in Singapore and in Bangalore (India), and a symposium is currently being planned in Korea in October 2013.
MoleClues is an interactive website for young people with games, videos, news, interviews, discussion forums and competitions - anything related to molecules! The aim is to show that molecules are everywhere - not just in science labs - and to inspire young people to scientific thinking. Young scientists from all over the world contribute with content.
The website, which targets kids aged 10-18 all over the world, was launched in 2007 and has a growing audience with visitors from more than 190 countries. MoleClues is also host for the annual Molecular Frontiers Inquiry Prize (see below).
The Molecular Frontiers Inquiry Prize is the first competition that rewards questions, not answers. Young people (under 18) are invited to submit questions about anything related to molecules. A jury, consisting of eminent scientists, many of them Nobel laureates, judge the questions to find the best questions. Each year, five girls and five boys win a medal, a certificate and a device such as an iPad.
The winners are announced at the annual Molecular Frontiers Symposium at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
The Chemistry Calendar
The Chemistry Calendar is a video project created in conjunction with the International Year of Chemistry 2011, in collaboration with Chalmers, University of Gothenburg, Universeum and Untamed Science. Twelve action-packed videos, one for each month of the year, show how chemistry plays an important role in everyday life, and how researchers at Chalmers and the University of Gothenburg are working to improve the world. The Chemistry Calendar was awarded as the best activity in Sweden during the International Year of Chemistry.
In conjunction with each video, teaching material has been produced, downloadable via MoleClues. The project was extended in 2012-2013 with the production of twelve new videos, where experiments from the teaching material are demonstrated.
Tropical Molecules is another video project in progress, in collaboration with Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and Untamed Science. Four videos are in production, for release on YouTube and MoleClues. The theme of the video series is molecules found in Nature that can be studied and utilized by scientists for the benefit of mankind.
Science@Art - communicating with teenagers in their universal language
Inspiring teenagers is a challenging goal, and combining this with educating them about science requires a highly focused strategy. This project will use teenagers’ favourite means of communication, the internet, and language that they can relate to on a personal level, art, to achieve these goals.
Art is a universal language – children of all nations learn to understand and communicate ideas in pictures long before they learn to read and write in their native language. And all children are artists - asking questions, developing ideas, solving problems. These child-like skills are the same ones that make great scientists and maintain the creativity for significant scientific discoveries.
The aims of this project are to melt the barriers of different languages in the international audience of visitors to MoleClues and to re-kindle the latent skills in all teenagers, not just those choosing science for a future career. By encouraging curiosity and offering choices for follow through of ideas in a virtual Art and Science environment, visitors of all ages and nationalities will be able to share the enjoyment of discovery and appreciate the contribution of science in, what might at first appear to be, a totally unrelated, yet familiar environment – Art.
Science@Art will be released in 2013.
The following organizations have contributed to Molecular Frontiers, financially or in kind:
Chalmers University of Technology, through the Areas of Advance: Life Science Engineering, Materials Science and Nanoscience & Nanotechnology
Nanyang Technological University
Vetenskapsrådet (Swedish Research Council)
Vinnova (Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems)
Choate, Hall & Stewart LLPChoate, Hall & Stewart LLP European Science FoundationEuropean Science Foundation
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Hasselblad
Foundation Erna and Victor Hasselblad Foundation
Italian Research Council