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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 policy

Yet Another Foundation

Last month the Brookings Institution proposed the creation of a National Innovation Foundation. As the president of a science-based foundation myself, it’s hard to quibble with a new actor in this fertile territory.

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Posted In: Policy

Values in Collision

Peer review is one of the bedrocks on which modern science rests. In theory, peer review is thorough, unbiased, objective. In practice, it may fall short of these ideals because of the usual human frailties. But it’s still the best we have for assessing quality.

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Posted In: Policy

Chemistry and Congress

Any U.S. House or Senate bill containing the word chemistry would seem worthy of our attention. And there always are such bills, usually dealing with funding university research, regulating specific molecules, or honoring Nobel laureates.

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Posted In: Policy

Yet Another Periodic Table

Another periodic table has found its way to my conscious attention, but this one is a bit distressing. Called the A to Z Guide to Political Interference in Science, it presents examples of the best scientific advice being suppressed, misstated, or ignored.

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Posted In: Policy

On the One Hand...

On the one hand: there is evident incentive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels, one contribution to which could be environmentally friendly biofuels. On the other hand: fuels like ethanol from sugarcane and other crops may require extensive cropland acreage that competes with food production.

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Posted In: Policy | Technology

Time Is Money

Whoever said “time is money” probably didn’t anticipate the relevance of this equation for contemporary science. The pulse of basic research, which in turn drives innovation, continues to pound because of the large infusion of public money supporting the ideas of working scientists.

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Posted In: Policy

Science, Humanities, and Betwixt

Legendary Harvard professor E. O. Wilson wrote Consilience, a wonderful book on connections between the sciences and the humanities. The wildly ambitious goals were to reduce the fragmentation of understanding across disciplines so common in our highly specialized world and to seek linkages between the technological and the literary spheres.

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Posted In: Education | Policy

The Great Debate?

A group of distinguished scientists and science journalists have issued a call for a public debate in which the presidential candidates share their views on the issues of the environment, medicine and health, and science and technology policy. What a splendid idea!

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Posted In: Policy