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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

Transitions

Chemistry is all about transitions. Starting in November, a new CHF blog will amplify, expand, and build upon on the many types of content we already generate, from public programs, podcasts, Chemical Heritage magazine, scholarly publication, and our burgeoning web presence.

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Posted In: Education

First Person: Hidden Stories

First Person mainly deals with the subjects of oral histories at CHF, but I thought it might be an interesting change of pace to take you behind the scenes of the oral history process. Today I’ll be highlighting the people and processes that make those oral histories possible.

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Posted In: Education | History

What is Chemistry’s Version of the Higgs Boson?

What would be the chemistry equivalent of the Higgs boson? What would attract such widespread media froth and public exhilaration?

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Posted In: Education

Preconception and Learning

Suppose when you were a small child you believed that the sun revolves around the earth. This wouldn’t be surprising since nothing in your experience would refute the idea. Then one day you go to school and your teacher informs you that the opposite is true—the earth revolves around the sun—and this has been fully accepted by all leading thinkers for nearly five centuries. Would the new information replace your old view, or merely suppress it?

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Posted In: Education

Blood, Sweat, and Tears

Our vital fluids are more than just bodily emissions—they can also be considered the purest expressions of our humanity, at least metaphorically speaking. In a three-part podcast and video series, the Distillations team checks out some of their lesser-known properties.

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The Age of Plastic

In June I attended the “The Age of Plastic,” a Smithsonian symposium which drew historians, conservators, artists, and industrial scientists all eager to discuss the implications of humanity’s growing reliance on synthetic materials.

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The Quest Begins!

Exhibit installation is one of the most rewarding parts of the exhibition planning and creation process. You start with a blank canvas and design plans and watch it all move into place and unfold into something beautiful, something beyond what you could have imagined. I’ve often thought that a time-lapse video of an installation would be fun, but some snapshots from the week will have to do.

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Posted In: Education | Technology

Bias, Yours and Mine

Most of us think we are free of bias. We’re pretty convinced we reach conclusions, make decisions, rank priorities, and do related acts of judgment based on evidence, not bias or prejudice.

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Posted In: Education

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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