Media

Archives

Categories

Contributors

Subscribe Subscribe:

Blog Archive

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

Who’s Afraid of History of Science?

Three historians of science got together last week in Philadelphia to talk about what matters in the history of science and what’s useful about it. I went into the talk convinced of the importance of the history of science. After all, I wouldn’t be a historian of science if I didn’t think it important. But I did have one concern.

Read More ›

Posted In: Education | History

Can We Talk About Creationism?

I recently received a letter criticizing Chemical Heritage for running an article on a creationist. A fair criticism, right? After all, we run a science and history magazine, not a religion magazine. Except that the creationist in question is a chemist. As the editor of the magazine I approved the inclusion. I had three reasons.

Read More ›

Posted In: History | Policy

First Person: Orlando Battista

Orlando Battista was a prolific polymer chemist; there are over 65 patents to his name. But his scientific career wouldn't have happened without his non-scientific talents.

Read More ›

Posted In: History

The Secret of a Stradivarius: Physics or Chemistry?

Music aficionados swear that instruments by Antonio Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri are the very definition of superlative. Could it be physics: the shape and structure of the instrument producing perfect intonation? Or could it be chemistry: the varnish and other finishes adding the final definitive touch to timbre excellence? A new study suggests it may be neither.

Read More ›

Posted In: History | Technology

First Person: Claire Schultz

Most of CHF’s oral histories focus on scientists—the individuals producing scientific research. But CHF also has an insider’s look into how that research gets to others, via the interviewees in our Scientific and Technical Information Systems collection. One of these interviewees is Claire Schultz, who observed wartime technologies turn into to computerization and, ultimately, the internet – a tool that would revolutionize scientific research and human knowledge worldwide.

Read More ›

Posted In: History | Technology

Christmas Countdown with the Othmer Plates

CHF supporters may recognize Donald and Mildred Othmer as the founders of the Donald F. and Mildred Topp Othmer Library of Chemical History at CHF. But friends and family knew them as Don and Mid. This holiday season we would like to share CHF’s collection of the Othmers' Christmas plates. A different plate will be unveiled each day leading up to December 25.

Read More ›

Posted In: History | Technology

How Bjork is Mining the Historical Intersection of Science and Music

Science and music have always fascinated me, but for different reasons. I turn to one for its promise of explaining nature and humanity, the other for its emotional and introspective qualities. This is why I was surprised to learn about Icelandic singer and electronic musician Bjork’s latest album, Biophilia. In it, she transforms scientific instruments into just, well, instruments.

Read More ›

Posted In: History | Technology

First Person: Kathryn Hach-Darrow

"I had a date with Clifford Hach. He came up to the door and had a nice little package all wrapped up for me. I thought, 'It’s a box of candy.' He gave me the package, I opened it up, and there was a book for me to read by Dr. Otto Eisenschiml - Without Fame: The Romance of a Profession. Cliff said, 'I want you to read this because we’re going to build a chemical company.' His ambition was already very clear, even back in those days."

Read More ›

Posted In: History | Technology

Feeding the World

The world population is rapidly growing and there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight. By the end of 2011, which the United Nations has designated the International Year of Chemistry, the population is estimated to exceed 7 billion people - and may have already. By 2050 even modest projections place this same figure above 9 billion. Among other issues such unprecedented growth raises is one stark and glaring question: How can the world feed that many people?

Read More ›

Posted In: History | Policy | Technology

Collective Voice: When Midland Mourned

This month’s item comes hot off the processor’s desk. One of our archivists is currently processing a collection and came across a newspaper from Midland, Michigan (home to Dow Chemical) on the day that the company’s founder, Herbert H. Dow passed away.

Read More ›

Posted In: History