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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 policy

Public Understanding of the Periodic Table

Is it important for a public understanding of science that people recognize the periodic table and the chemical information held within it? 

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Posted In: History | Policy

Women in Chemical Industry

This week’s Chemical and Engineering News reports on the current status of women in the chemical industry.

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Posted In: Policy

Building a Network for Community-Based Science

The Center for Contemporary History and Policy’s new Consortium for Community-Based Science brings chemists and community groups together.

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Posted In: Policy

'Female' Science Professor and Women in Chemistry

I just returned from a 3 day business trip  conducting an oral history for CHF’s Women in Chemistry Oral History Project.  When I got to my desk this morning one of my colleagues had been kind enough to place  a recent Chronicle of Higher Education on my desk opened to an article titled, “Why ‘Female’ Science Professor?” 

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Posted In: History | Policy

Science, Evidence, Belief

“Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.” So said economist John Kenneth Galbraith.

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Posted In: Education | Policy

The Human Genome Turns Ten

It has been ten years since the human genome was first mapped, as a recent book review in Science and a series of special features in Nature remind us. Unveiling the human genome was supposed to lead to an era of personalized genomic medicine, but ten years on we are not quite there, as discussed at CHF’s May 2010 Cain Conference.

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Posted In: History | Policy

Hot and Bothered

A new report out of Stanford University suggests heat waves are going to be an increasing problem in our lifetimes. Could climate engineering be a viable solution?

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Posted In: Policy | Technology

Right to Know vs. Intellectual Property in the Gulf

An important subplot has emerged in BP’s controversial attempts to mitigate the environmental impact of all the oil spilled in the Gulf: chemical dispersants being used to break up escaping oil vs. the public’s right to know. Where should the line be drawn between proprietary material and the information the public wants and needs regarding chemical exposure and their health?

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Posted In: Policy

Talking to Each Other

Scientists charmingly believe that if “the public” merely hears the discovered truth, it will be logically applied in all matters of public policy and personal behavior. If only….

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Posted In: Education | Policy

What's in a name?

EPA has announced that today, April 22, the Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances (OPPTS) will be renamed the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. Does April 22 ring a bell? It should. As EPA is undoubtedly aware, April 22 is Earth Day. So, what does name change mean, and is it appropriate to Earth Day?

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Posted In: Policy