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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

Reality Check 

In reaction to IYC2011, a Scientific American blogger confesses: "When we hear 'chemicals' we think death, harm, cancer, birth defects, danger, pain, poison, pollution, hazardous waste, Love Canal, Bhopal. Oh, joy!" Here's why, even as we celebrate chemistry's successes, we must take into account its stigmas.

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Posted In: Education

Science Fairs vs. Science Festivals

Starting next Friday, The Philadelphia Science Festival will present two impressively packed weeks of lectures, demonstrations, games, science cafes, dinners, panel discussions and more. The idea of a great big science party reminds me of a more familiar, if less celebratory, gathering of minds: the school science fair. 

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Posted In: Education | History

What’s the History of Science Good For?

With universities around the country cutting their budgets, especially in the humanities, history of science departments might seem like a good place to cut. After all, they aren't money makers for universities—no new patents, technologies, or bankable discoveries tend to come from them. So what is the value of history of science? Nathaniel Comfort at the PACHS blog has taken up the question.

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Posted In: Education | History

Chemistry Kit Chemophobia 

How can you have a chemistry set with no chemicals?

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Posted In: Education

Elements in Action

Don't know much about gadolinium? Students from our It's Elemental video competition can fix that for you.

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Posted In: Education | History

Ode to Joy

As part of the U.S. kickoff for the International Year of Chemistry last week, CHF hosted a panel, Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions, which focused on the big issues: energy, health, water, and so on. I want to focus on a small part of the so on. At the end of the discussion, a perennial question cropped up: How to get kids interested in science.

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Posted In: Education | History

Happy Chemistry Year!

Finally, it’s our year. Thanks to the good graces of the United Nations, 2011 is the International Year of Chemistry. 

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Posted In: Education | History

Competing Elements

With less than three weeks remaining in CHF's It's Elemental video competition, student films interpreting the elements are quickly streaming in. Time to vote for your favorites!

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Posted In: Education

How I Would Have Died: Breaking My Neck

Twice this year and a dozen times in the last four decades, I have had a reason to celebrate modern medicine and the chemistry behind it. This series of blog posts explains how I would have died if I had the same injury 100 years ago. Last week, I described the bicycle racing crash that left me in a ditch bleeding with ten broken bones. The worst of those ten broken bones, at least in terms of my short-term and long-term survival, was my seventh cervical vertebra, C-7. How would I have fared if this injury had occurred a century earlier?

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Who is a Chemist?

I noticed a story in the Wall Street Journal entitled “In Quest for ‘Legal High,’ Chemists Outfox Law.” So who really qualifies as a chemist?

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Posted In: Education