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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

Women Share Struggles, Successes in Science

Four top female scientists gathered in New York City as part of the World Science Festival recently to discuss their lives in the field. Similarly, CHF has been conducting oral histories of women in chemistry to better understand the changes that have occurred in the scientific workplace. There is, unsurprisingly, a lot of overlap.

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Posted In: History | Policy

 Study: 80% of Baby Products are Toxic

Fox News used this alarming headline last week in reporting on a study published in the journal Environmental Science and Toxicology. At issue is risk and how risk is perceived and assessed.  

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Posted In: Policy

Back... to the Future!

Greetings from the American Association of Museums conference in Houston! My colleagues and I are have gathered here to discuss what the museum of the future might look like—including CHF.

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Posted In: Education | Policy

First Person: Mary L. Good

The Cold War influenced chemist Mary L. Good’s education and career, providing not only the funding but much of the public rationale for scientific research and training. As the tensions of the 50s and 60s eased, part of her job as a political science advisor was to convince both the government and the public to continue their support.

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Posted In: History | Policy

Stellar Commissions

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences recently announced the formation of a commission to raise the visibility, status, and impact of the humanities and the social sciences. The effort complements a National Research Council project with similar goals for the sciences.

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Posted In: Policy

Women in Chemistry 2011: A Recap

A 2006 UNESCO report estimates that only 27% of scientists worldwide are women. While women in chemistry fare slightly better than some in other disciplines, their rate of retention within the industry still causes concern. As part of its ongoing commitment to women in science, last week CHF held a two-day celebration of female chemists. 

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Posted In: Education | History | Policy

Bacteriamageddon

For the past several decades low level antibiotics have been widely used to promote growth in farm animals. Estimates are that up to 70% of antibiotic use is for this purpose rather than to treat infections. The practice is effective and makes economic sense. Unfortunately, it is also a very efficient way to promote the emergence of drug resistant organisms which may in turn cause untreatable infections.

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Posted In: Policy

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

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

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