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CHF staff and scholars provide a behind-the-scenes guide to activities at CHF, with reflections on science education, provocative explorations of chemistry in the wider world, and much more.

This page holds archived blog posts. Visit our Tumblr page to see recent content and to join the conversation.

All posts in History

Scientific Communities: They're Just Like Us!

Last week Sarah Hunter and I presented at the Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference. The theme of the conference was "Displacement and Community: Using Oral History to Document Transitions, Evolutions, and Adaptation." While most other presentations focused on communities people have heard of but may not know much about (New York City taxi drivers, community organizers in West Mount Airy, or cloistered nuns) Sarah and I were the only people who spoke about scientists and science.

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Posted In: History | Policy

First Person: Hubert N. Alyea

The Oral History Program  is excited to start a new series on the Periodic Tabloid: First Person. Every month we will highlight one of the over 400 oral histories in CHF's collection. The first is Hubert N. Alyea.

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Posted In: Education | History

A Scientific Rapture?

If you haven’t heard of the Singularity it’s time to pull your head out of the sand. The strange idea of technological utopianism may be going more mainstream, or at least getting air time, now that a computer is king of Jeopardy. 

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Posted In: History | Technology

Science Fairs vs. Science Festivals

Starting next Friday, The Philadelphia Science Festival will present two impressively packed weeks of lectures, demonstrations, games, science cafes, dinners, panel discussions and more. The idea of a great big science party reminds me of a more familiar, if less celebratory, gathering of minds: the school science fair. 

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Posted In: Education | History

Bridging the Perception Gap on Climate Change

The current debate on climate change is not moving towards a consensus and the public appears dazed and apathetic. Perhaps understanding the history of climate could help.

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Posted In: History | Policy

Be Chemistry Fools This April Fools’ Day

Science is all around us—in fact, it's even IN us! Like it or not, we're chock full of chemistry. Here's how to change your name to reflect this.

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Posted In: History

What’s the History of Science Good For?

With universities around the country cutting their budgets, especially in the humanities, history of science departments might seem like a good place to cut. After all, they aren't money makers for universities—no new patents, technologies, or bankable discoveries tend to come from them. So what is the value of history of science? Nathaniel Comfort at the PACHS blog has taken up the question.

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Posted In: Education | History

Female Faculty: Another Study from MIT

A new study on the Status of Women Faculty at MIT raises questions about the perception of equality versus the reality.

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Posted In: History | Policy

Blog Love

Bloggers write about many sides of CHF

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Posted In: History

A Mad, Mad World

Mad scientist characters like Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll have been popular for centuries. Are they fictional creations or very real reflections of anxious times?

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Posted In: History