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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.

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All posts in education

Ullyot Delight

For the past 20 years the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s Ullyot Public Affairs Lecture has brought people of the highest distinction to Philadelphia for an evening of lively discussion. Academics, CEOs, government officials, university presidents, and others have all offered their perspectives on the chemical sciences’ contributions to society. This year’s honoree was Dr. Joseph M. DeSimone of the University of North Carolina.

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Posted In: Education

Student Achievement in Science

It is an article of faith, especially in higher education, that student participation in research is utterly required for shaping attitudes, appreciation, and understanding of the scientific enterprise.

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Posted In: Education

Mind-Boggling Numbers

The universe is a big place. Estimates vary, but there are something like 1010 galaxies, 1022 stars, and 1080 atoms. Such numbers are hard to get your mind around, even in an era when trillions (1012) is commonly used when measuring government debt. But this is just the observable universe. Cosmologists are now pretty convinced that the true reality is a multiverse, or many parallel universes existing at the same time.

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Posted In: Education

On the iPod, Kindle, and Bedside Table

Like most contemporary people, I am a voracious consumer of information.  I readily concede that possession of information does not ensure wisdom, but at least it raises the possibility of a more informed judgment about the state of the world. Leaving aside television and the Internet, my main info sources are podcasts and books. Here are a few current favorites from each category.

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Posted In: Education

Chemistry Film Fest

Most people love movies. Whether drama, comedy, westerns, thrillers, romance, documentaries, or animation, what’s not to like about settling in for a couple of hours with popcorn and film? But have you ever seen a chemistry movie?

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Posted In: Education | History

All the World’s a Stage for Periodic Tables

Without consulting a dictionary, I would say that a metaphor is a comparison that shows how two things not fundamentally the same have at least one thing in common.The periodic table, that veritable icon of science, has itself been used as a metaphor for countless ideas. And now, combining idioms, comes the Periodic Table of Metaphors, courtesy of artist Christoph Niemann.

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Posted In: Education

Organic Molecules Made Easy

Anyone familiar with the synthesis of complex organic molecules knows that it requires a clever combination of art, guile, dumb luck, and smart science. Wouldn’t it be nice if everything needed to produce a molecule could be plopped into a single pot, stirred, and voila, out pops the finished product? Impossible, you say.

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Posted In: Education | Technology

What People Think and Know About Science

By now most readers will have heard about the July 9, 2009, Pew Research Center report on the attitudes of Americans on science and scientists. At one level the news is good: Americans hold scientists in high esteem and believe science contributes to our economic well-being. At another level, though, the Pew report reveals the seeds of future problems.

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Posted In: Education

Art and Science

A cold war mentality shows clearly, as well as an uncritical belief in the power of science to solve all human problems. The color and typography are delightfully retro, but one also sees design elements that foreshadow contemporary tastes.

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Posted In: Education

Nature Chemistry

A new journal is usually a sign of vitality and excitement in any field. And if that journal reaches the caliber of the venerable Nature family of publications, the excitement hits an even higher energy level.

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