In Praise of Scholarship
CHF enjoys a respected position in the ancient and universal company of scholars. Over the 30 years of our existence we have been home to hundreds of scholars—historians, sociologists, and political scientists, of course; but also science and society types, journalists, a stray English professor or two, and even a few actual chemists and engineers. Some have been visitors, others members of staff, but all have contributed careful and important work in their respective fields.
Why does this scholarly purpose matter? Because without it, knowledge would cease to expand. If there were no original research, there would be nothing new to teach, just reworking of the same ledger of human accomplishment over and over again.
The coin of the realm for scholarly output is peer-reviewed publications, especially journal articles and monographs. CHF scholars have produced their fair share of these over the years, and continue to do so. This is our contribution to humanity.
Our contribution is magnified when our scholarly work also reaches broader audiences beyond academics, researchers, and other specialists. Thus, we aim to have a public programming component in all our scholarly endeavors. This can take the form of a lecture (Catherine Jackson on the history of organic chemistry), a First Friday presentation (John Ceccatti on the history of ale), an article in Chemical Heritage (Donna Messner on PKU), or Science on Tap (Helen Curry on plant breeding).
Scholarship and public outreach interconnected—it’s what we do best.
Tom Tritton is President and CEO of CHF.