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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 policy

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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Chemistry, Science, and the Olympics

A provocative series of articles in Nature raises the tricky subject of how far we should allow science to go in conferring advantage to an athlete in competition.

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Posted In: Policy | Technology

First Person: William McMillan

In the interest of history, chemist William McMillan wrote two volumes reflecting on his work in the Manhattan Project. But as of the date of his oral history—1999—those documents were still classified.

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Posted In: History | Policy | Technology

A Rare Problem

Rare earth elements are much in the news these days. Chemical and Engineering News, Forbes, and CHF’s own First Friday each offer their take on the subject, albeit with very different audiences in mind. Why the fuss? Modern life depends on the availability of the rare earths.

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Posted In: Policy | Technology

Can We Talk About Creationism?

I recently received a letter criticizing Chemical Heritage for running an article on a creationist. A fair criticism, right? After all, we run a science and history magazine, not a religion magazine. Except that the creationist in question is a chemist. As the editor of the magazine I approved the inclusion. I had three reasons.

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Posted In: History | Policy

The Year in Chemistry

The International Year of Chemistry technically ended with 2011, but it’s clear from IYC’s  event page that the celebrations – and discussions – aren’t over.

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Posted In: Education | Policy

Using CO2

Watching the United Nations climate change conference going on in Durban, South Africa this week, it’s evident that the world’s political systems are largely deadlocked on ways to slow the rate of addition of CO2 to the atmosphere. But what if we could recycle CO2 by using it as a starting material for the carbon-based chemistry that now originates with oil?

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Posted In: Policy | Technology

We May Soon Be Talking About Rare Earths Less Rarely

It’s not often that chemical issues drive international politics. But China’s recent decision to temporarily halt most of its production of rare earth elements has been a hot news topic. What’s all the fuss about?

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Posted In: Policy | Technology

Energy: Cheap, Clean, and Forever

What if we had a source of power that generated no greenhouse gases and was essentially limitless? We do. It’s called hydrogen, and every molecule of water on earth contains a molecule of H2, just itching to be combusted for energy.

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Posted In: Policy | Technology

Holidays and Hunger

Today is Thanksgiving and most Americans are celebrating with friends, families, and feasts. Such occasions raise our spirits and lie on the plus side of the ledger. It’s also worth reflecting that not all of our fellow citizens share in the banquet.

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Posted In: Policy | Technology