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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.

Doomsday Science

Detailed analysis of years of data from the Hubble Space Telescope reveal that our very own Milky Way galaxy is headed for a direct head-on collision with the Andromeda galaxy.

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Posted In: Technology

Beckman at 25: Gabriele Ferrario and David Schleifer

2012 is the 25th anniversary of CHF’s Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry. To celebrate the Beckman Center’s remarkable achievements and its many accomplished fellows, we will be profiling one former fellow each month over the course of the year. This month we’d like you to belatedly meet Gabriele Ferrario (profiled in April but never posted on the blog), and David Schleifer, our pick for May.

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Posted In: Fellows

In Praise of Scholarship

Why does scholarly purpose matter? Because without it, knowledge would cease to expand. If there were no original research, there would be nothing new to teach, just reworking of the same ledger of human accomplishment over and over again.

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Posted In: Education | Fellows

Alchemical Actors in the Hach Gallery

For the Hach Gallery exhibit that features rare books from the Othmer Library, The Alchemical Quest, exhibit designer Keith Ragone aims to create a “set design for the actors which are the books.”

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Elemental News

If you watch the news today (or perhaps tomorrow) you will be among the first to know that not just one, but two elements (114 and 116) will be baptized with their newly official names.

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Posted In: Technology

The Amazing Adventures of Spider Silk

Spidey’s secret identity is being revealed, and it has nothing to do with Peter Parker. Chemists and biochemists are manipulating spider silk in ways that a few years ago would have been possible only in a comic book.

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Posted In: Technology

Banish STEM

The STEM acronym: what is it good for? Possibly nothing.

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Posted In: Education

Book Learnin'

In a heritage institution, the marriage between technology and interpretation more often feels arranged than passionate. Communicating historic objects authentically in a new medium requires new thought patterns. Enter The Alchemical Quest interactive project, which attempts to thwart this tradition. Here's what we're learning.

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Posted In: Technology

First Person: Vladimir Prelog

Sometimes important discoveries happen in the lab; sometimes they happen in unexpected spaces. In 1954 Vladimir Prelog learned that a formal ball was just the place to work out an important scientific issue.

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Posted In: History

Genes and Identity

When the human genome was sequenced a decade ago it stirred hope that knowing the chemical identity of our own personal DNA would yield precise clues about what to expect in our lives. Alas, DNA predictions are not that easy, at least according to a recent scrutiny from Johns Hopkins and Harvard researchers.

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Posted In: Technology