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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 technology

Video Monday: Artificial Leaf

We've been buzzing about personalized energy ever since MIT’s Dan Nocera came by CHF to discuss a fascinating technology called the “artificial leaf.” What’s it all about? An explanation after the jump.

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Posted In: Technology

Bug Off

Developed by the U.S. Army for use in the jungle, DEET sprays and lotions are now commonly available to anyone seeking relief from annoying bugs. It works well and many outdoorsy types wouldn’t leave home without it. But how does DEET work on the molecular level?

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Posted In: Technology

Nuclear News Analysis

Secrets are hard to keep in the news world, which is usually a good thing. But what happens when the knowledge that bursts into the headlines is difficult to understand, incomplete, or badly translated by experts? “Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima: An analysis of traditional and new media coverage of nuclear accidents and radiation,” a recent report in The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, looked at just that question.

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Posted In: History | Policy | Technology

Food for Thought

Surprise! When it comes to taste you can thank your brain, not your tongue, according to an article published recently in Science.

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Posted In: History | Technology

Get the Lead Out!

At the beginning of the 2007 NASCAR season Dale Earnhardt, Jr. dropped out of a race and finished at the back of a 43-car field. His reason: the team’s engine builders had trouble with a new NASCAR rule mandating that high-octane fuel be lead free. This year Earnhardt is racing in a Chevrolet Impala race car making more than 800 horsepower—with unleaded fuel.

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Posted In: History | Technology

Innovation Day 2011

It’s Innovation Day at CHF! Innovation Day is a bit of a misnomer, actually, because the event spans two days. Now in its eighth year, Innovation Day brings together young innovators and industry leaders, both to celebrate breakthroughs in chemistry and seek solutions for tomorrow’s challenges.

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Posted In: Technology

Today's Magic Bullet

102 years ago today, Paul Ehrlich developed a chemical compound to effectively treat the scourge of his day: syphilis. Ehrlich’s compound, a derivative of arsenic called Salvarsan, was also the first successful chemotherapeutic agent. But the miracle drug, which Ehrlich called his “magic bullet,” was not without its problems.

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Posted In: History | Technology

Color, Cut, Clarity, Carat…and Carbon

Though I’ve been staring at my stunningly sparkly diamond engagement ring for just over two months now, I’m still wondering where it came from. I don’t mean blood diamonds—my natural, mined stone is certified conflict-free. I mean where it originally came from and how it was made. As a lover of chemistry I see my diamond for what it really is: carbon.

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Posted In: Technology

Old Drug, New Use (Again)

Malaria is one of the nastier scourges confronting humankind. The grand challenge for treating it, as it is with all infectious diseases, is drug resistance. A recent paper by a high-powered collaboration between the NIH and Columbia University rises to this challenge.

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Posted In: Technology

Tall Tales

There are certain advantages to being tall. Basketball prowess, for example, or potential as a “tall, dark, and handsome “movie star. On the other hand, disadvantages to surplus height include not fitting in airline seats and having to duck when entering a room. Now there is a new downside to tallness—susceptibility to cancer.

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Posted In: Technology