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Nation's schools finish stretch of celebrating geoscience, chemistry education

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The United States has celebrations, large and small and short and long, that commemorate historical occurrences, cultural attributes, and even foods. Even science gets its turn in the spotlight.

Schools across the nation finished on Friday a two-week run in which the contributions of both the Earth sciences and chemistry were recognized in science classrooms.

This year's Earth Science Week, which ran from Oct. 14-20, focused on careers in the geological sciences.

"With over 150,000 positions expected to open in the next decade, opportunities for building an exciting and meaningful career in the geosciences have never been better, even in this tough economy," Christopher M. Keane, head of the American Geosciences Institute's Geoscience Workforce Program, said.

Geoffrey Camphire, a spokesperson for AGI, said that Earth Science Week's importance also includes the imperative of improving our understanding of how the planet works.

"The more we know, the better we can manage our most important responsibilities, from employment to civic decision making," he said.

Schools and museums undertake a variety of activities and can emphasize any aspect of the Earth sciences to advance the week's theme. As an example, Camphire pointed to a program at Dinosaur Ridge, located at Colorado's Morrison Fossil Area National Natural Landmark, that aimed to increase public knowledge of paleontology.

"Young people enjoyed sifting for microfossils, dinosaur track painting, and a 'dinosaur dig' at the visitor center," he said.

Meanwhile, the American Chemical Society-sponsored National Chemistry Week, which is being observed through Saturday, is emphasizing nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology refers to efforts to manipulate atoms and molecules in order to build tiny machines.

ACS has a page on its website that enables a search for local National Chemistry Week events.

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