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Special stamp: Vitamin C – the subject of the UN Year of Chemistry

Swiss Post is issuing a special stamp to mark the UN's "International Year of Chemistry" and is thus recognizing the important role that chemistry plays in building Switzerland's reputation as a research and financial centre. The stamp's motif is the vitamin C molecule. It was in 1933 at the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich that Tadeus Reichstein first succeeded in synthesizing the vitamin. The patented solution was commercially marketed by the Basel-based pharmaceutical company Hoffmann-La-Roche. The stamp, which was created by graphic designers Daniel Dreier and Barbara Pfander, has a three-dimensional effect. Owing to the multi-stage embossed printing procedure used to produce the stamp, the vitamin C molecule appears to float in the air, seemingly within reach, in front of a blue background. This special stamp with a face value of CHF 1.00 is available from 24 February and valid for postage as of 3 March.

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In 1911, Marie Curie was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovering the chemical elements polonium and radium. The UN has chosen to mark the centenary of this event by declaring 2011 the International Year of Chemistry. Chemistry also plays a significant role in Switzerland. Numerous researchers have undertaken pioneering work here and have thus contributed to Switzerland becoming one of today's most important countries for the international pharmaceuticals and chemistry industry.

Synthetic vitamin C – a product of Swiss research

Swiss Post is featuring the vitamin C molecule on a special stamp with a face value of CHF 1.00. It represents the innovativeness of Swiss research into chemistry and of the ability to use this on a commercial scale. Tadeus Reichstein was the first person to artificially produce vitamin C from glucose at the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich in 1933. He sold his patent for synthetic vitamin C to Hoffmann-La-Roche in the same year. The synthetic ascorbic acid went on to conquer the world.

Special embossed printing process

The Swiss Post special stamp with a face value of CHF 1.00 features a vitamin C molecule. The multi-stage embossed printing procedure successfully achieved a three-dimensional effect and gives the impression that the molecule is floating in the air. This effect is reinforced by the light-blue background which contributes to the sense of depth and makes the space around it appear bigger and wider. The stamp was created by graphic designers Daniel Dreier and Barbara Pfander from Berne.

It is available from 24 February and can be ordered online ( www.swisspost.ch/philashop ). The special stamp will be available at every post office from 3 March 2011 and valid until further notice.

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