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International Organization for Chemical Sciences in Development

One-World Chemistry

OWC – Systems Thinking in the Chemical Sciences

The need for systems thinking in the chemical sciences

The environment in which chemistry takes place is not just the immediate walls of the test tube or reaction flask —beyond these is the whole world. In this larger setting, the conduct of chemistry impacts on many interconnected systems.

Consider, for example, the life cycle of a chemical product (see figure below):

life cycle

Implications of systems thinking for chemistry

‘One-world’ chemistry embraces the view that the chemical sciences should not be taught or practiced without an in-built consideration of the relationships between chemistry and the Earth systems with which it interacts. The adoption of systems thinking approaches in chemistry has implications for all aspects of research and practice in the field:

See the section on Systems Thinking in Chemistry Education (STICE) here for a detailed discussion of the subject and information on IOCD's collaboration with IUPAC in the STICE Project.


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