Home Alchemy to Chemistry 1001 Inventions Celebrates Chemistry Week at Manchester Central Library

Manchester, 4 November 2021 – “1001 Inventions: Journeys from Alchemy to Chemistry” event ended today at the iconic Manchester Central Library. The educational event to celebrate Chemistry Week was made possible by the generous support of the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Ernest Solvay Fund, administered by the King Baudouin Foundation.

More than 1,000 people participated at 22 sessions organised from 30 October to 4 November 2021. Sessions featured a set of activities starting with a short-animated video and immersive on-stage experiments weaved in a theatrical performance. Together with the video and live show creatively introduce children to fascinating journeys from alchemy to chemistry, across ages, by pioneers from different backgrounds and cultures, in particular the remarkable work of Jabir ibn Hayyan in the 8th century. While they highlight discoveries from the past, they link themes of science, history and culture to present the relevance to our world today and relay a positive message of diversity, aimed to unite and inspire children.

Students then rotate to different stations where they engage in hands-on activities connected to the themes discussed in the film and live show. Led by a creative team of science explainers, the hands-on workshops include making perfumes and soaps using recipes from the golden age of Arabic Science.

Also making goo to illustrate how matter changes states, from solid to liquid and gas as well as the elephant toothpaste demonstration that dazzle children with a bit of mystery and introduce them to chemical reactions. Such experiential learning help spark children’s interest in science and introduce basic principles of chemistry and raise awareness about its application and importance for our daily lives.

At the end of the experience, children are excited to be greeted by the Jabir ibn Hayyan mascot, who distributes stickers with a link where parents and teachers could download an  ‘Educational Workshops’ guide. This guide includes a variety of themed activities to allow children to continue their learning journey beyond the event.

The programme delivered is part of the “1001 Inventions: Journeys from Alchemy to Chemistry” global educational initiative launched at UNESCO headquarters in Paris in January 2019 in celebration of the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements (IYPT2019). After the successful launch at UNESCO HQ, the initiative rolled out on a global tour including in Beijing as part of the China Science Festival, at the Berlin Science Week, the Maker Faire Cairo and the All-Russian Science Festival in Moscow. The initiative premiered in the UK in partnership with the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) with an event at Burlington House in December 2019.  Considering the massive success of the global tour, 1001 Inventions aims to continue to present the programme to more children in the UK and globally.

About The Royal Society of Chemistry

We are an international organisation connecting chemical scientists with each other, with other scientists, and with society as a whole. Founded in 1841 and based in London, UK, we have an international membership of over 50,000.

We use the surplus from our global publishing and knowledge business to give thousands of chemical scientists the support and resources required to make vital advances in chemical knowledge.

We develop, recognise and celebrate professional capabilities, and we bring people together to spark new ideas and new partnerships.

We support teachers to inspire future generations of scientists, and we speak up to influence the people making decisions that affect us all.

We are a catalyst for the chemistry that enriches our world.


About Manchester Central Library

Central Library is the city’s main library and information service. Situated just off St Peter’s Square, this iconic city venue, designed by E. Vincent Harris, was first opened in 1934. Following a £50m refurbishment in 2010, taking four years, the Grade II listed building has been brought into the 21st century by combining historic features with cutting-edge design. Most of our events take place in the Archives+ area on the ground floor and the performance space on the ground floor.


About 1001 Inventions

1001 Inventions is an award-winning, British based organisation that creates international educational campaigns and initiatives aiming to spark young people’s interest in science. 1001 Inventions believes in the power of culture and storytelling to encourage innovation and promote diversity and inclusion. As such, 1001 Inventions produces themed transmedia productions uncovering fascinating contributions of lesser-known pioneers from Arab, Asian and other Eastern cultures. Such creative public engagement productions cover a wide array of themes including health and wellbeing, machines and robotics, chemistry and its applications as well as animals and nature.