PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There’s a concerted effort this year to make chemistry cool by people who think it already is. The United Nations has dubbed 2011 the International Year of Chemistry, and the movement’s nerve center for the United States is in Philadelphia.

If only the millions of kids captivated by sports stars could be similarly captured by chemistry:

“Find the LeBron James of science.”

That’s what Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris suggests could spark some interest in a broad field that has room for rock stars — and the kind of blockbuster thinking that’s behind the tech boom, from Facebook to the iPad.

“They’ve made it fun. It’s exhilarating. It’s the era of dynamic interactions and these gadgets enable all that. Well, guess what? We have those enabling sciences, too.”

Tom Tritton, the president of the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia, is leading the charge for an attitude change among parents, students, and teachers when it comes to science:

“Everything we make, everything we build, everything we think that’s going to be new and original, depends on the raw materials that chemistry and all of its manifestations will provide.”

Reported By Ian Bush, KYW Newsradio

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