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Vol. 29 No. 1
January-February 2007

Stamps International | See also www.iupac.org/publications/
ci/indexes/stamps.html

by Dan Rabinovich

The hobby of kings? The king of hobbies? Either way, stamp collecting is certainly one of the most popular and international hobbies, attracting people from all walks of life, regardless of age, race, religion, or nationality. Many postage stamps have been issued to commemorate events and educate the general public on topics ranging from history and geography to art and literature. A number of stamps also celebrate scientific discoveries or honor well-known scientists and can be used as simple yet powerful teaching tools in the classroom or to illustrate a technical presentation. This new section of Chemistry International will feature interesting or visually appealing chemistry-related postage stamps from different countries, and will thus underscore the international character of both philately and our science.

The postage stamp shown here was issued by the USSR on 15 June 1965 to publicize the 20th Congress of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), held in Moscow a month later (12-18 July). It is the only stamp that I am aware of that has IUPAC as the central theme and it is also one of my favorites: the names of both the organization and the host city are spelled with chemical symbols! In addition, the stamp shows a molecular diagram of an unidentified substance and honors the chemical (petrochemical?) industry using a retort as a background. Remarkably, especially for a stamp issued more than 40 years ago, the bright rose ink used for the globe diagram and the face value of the stamp (4 kopecs) are fluorescent!


Daniel Rabinovich <drabinov@email.uncc.edu> is a professor in the Department of Chemistry at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. His research interests include synthetic and structural inorganic, organometallic and bioinorganic chemistry. He is also the Editor of Philatelia Chimica et Physica, a quarterly publication dedicated to the study of postage stamps related to chemistry and physics <www.cpossu.org>.


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