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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 education

The Year in Chemistry

The International Year of Chemistry technically ended with 2011, but it’s clear from IYC’s  event page that the celebrations – and discussions – aren’t over.

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Posted In: Education | Policy

Happy New Year

As the International Year of Chemistry draws to a close it seems fitting to offer seasonal greetings to all those in the chemical and wider scientific communities who believe in the power of chemistry to make life better. Thus, I offer the traditional salutation in several languages of CHF friends and supporters.

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Posted In: Education

Blog Review: Chem Engineering Posts

Concerned with the decline of student interest in chemical engineering, CHF board member Peter Spitz has started a new blog, Chem Engineering Posts, drawing on his experience and extensive knowledge about the chemical engineering industry. There are few blogs devoted to chemical engineering, so Spitz’s is a welcome and accessible addition

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Posted In: Education | Technology

Dirty Science

Observation of nature is a pleasant task—field work is surely one motivation for choosing to become a scientist—but such work can also be tedious and time consuming. Is there a faster alternative? The answer is dirt, specifically the DNA fragments left behind in dirt by living creatures.

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Posted In: Education

Kids at Play: Philadelphia’s Community Arts Festival 2011

Yesterday a group of local art, science, and education organizations convened in Philadelphia’s Crane Arts Building to inspire the next generation of young artists and environmentalists. My colleague Gigi Naglak and I were thrilled to set up a CHF booth amidst food trucks and musical acts to participate in this mighty effort.

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Posted In: Education

What is CHF's Board?

Today CHF’s Board of Directors gathers in Philadelphia for an intensive day and a half of meetings. The board is made up of 16 individuals who fall into one or more of the following categories: eminent scientists and engineers; business leaders; scions of important cultural organizations; generalist wizards.

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Posted In: Education

Telling Stories

If you are alive, chemistry is part of your life. As such, I’ve always been surprised that people are put off by it. Until I read “Chemistry: All About You.” This outreach website almost turned me off chemistry.

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Posted In: Education | History

Undergraduate Research: Joys and Perils

It is an article of faith among scientists that undergraduate students benefit from participating in research. But wouldn’t it be nice to know what students themselves expect to obtain from a research experience? And wouldn’t it also be nice to know whether their experiences match their expectations? A recent study from the University of Georgia attempts to answer these questions.

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Posted In: Education

Chemophobia

Books with the word “chemistry” in their title often sell poorly, though books that include lots of chemistry often end up doing well. Take, for example, Deborah Blum's The Poisoner’s Handbook, Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, or Sam Kean's The Disappearing Spoon: all bestsellers. So what’s in a word?

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Posted In: Education | History

Video Wednesday: Chemical Party

This video may be old news, but things do move a bit more slowly here at CHF - it only made the rounds around our office recently.  Produced by Marie Curie Actions, a funding group within the EU Commission on Research and Innovation, the 2-minute short presents some of the basic relationships between the elements. To a thrumming techno beat!

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Posted In: Education