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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

Semantic Math

I ran across a paper analyzing common expressions intended to convey fuzzy quantitative meaning. At first I wondered if the work was a hoax similar to the famous Sokal Affair: the prose is off-puttingly dense and the text filled with odd equations. But the title conveys the gist of the study: "Bags of Talent, A Touch of Panic, and a Bit of Luck: The Case of Non-numerical Vague Quantifiers."

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Posted In: Technology

Time Travel

Many of science's geratest achievements once seemed unimaginable lunacy. If we can make objects invisible, is it so unreasonable to imagine we might be able to travel in time some day?

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Posted In: Technology

Discount DNA

Researchers are working hard to lower the cost of DNA sequencing. What are the benefits and why does this matter? CHF oral history interviewee George Church weighs in.

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Posted In: History | Technology

Regarding Evidence

What happens when truly false information is offered in a public forum and perhaps is even repeated over and over again? A research study from Australia attempts to answer this question and the results seem especially pertinent in an age when misinformation swirls constantly through our many channels of communication.

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Posted In: Technology

An Uncool Discovery

Holding up in the heat? Across the country, people are praising their air conditioning units. But decades ago these appliances came with dangerous and environmentally-devastating risks.

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Posted In: History | Technology

An Ounce of Prevention

Ben Franklin knew what he was talking about when he advised, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Though Franklin was generalizing about the superiority of preventing problems rather than trying to fix them after the fact, his 18th-century idiom applies quite aptly to modern medicine.

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Posted In: Technology

Collective Voice: The Magic of Paris

June's conference "Renewing the Heritage of Chemistry" was an incredible opportunity in itself, but while in Paris we also discovered another treasure: the Librairie Alain Brieux, an antique and rare book shop that specializes in science and medicine. Robert Anderson let Rosie Cook and me in on its secrets.

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Posted In: History | Technology

Drug Togetherness

Drug combinations for infections could be very useful since discovery of totally new agents is rare, and drug resistance a relentless and intractable problem. One possibility is using drugs approved for other maladies in combination with proven antibiotics. This cool idea was recently put to the test by a Canadian and Scottish research collaboration.

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Posted In: Technology

No Dark Corners

A May episode of Distillations, CHF’s award-winning podcast, focuses on the science and history of gas lighting. This week, we were delighted to find a cartoon in the collection from that same history.

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Posted In: History | Technology

Holiday Video Blog: Fireworks

Fireworks being the most watched chemical reaction in popular culture, July 4th presents a prime opportunity to talk up electrons and elements to your friends. Seriously, this is one day people will listen to you. Make sure you’ve got it right.

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