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CHF Debuts Exhibit on Women in Chemistry

May 3, 2004 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 82, Issue 18

The Chemical Heritage Foundation unveiled “Her Lab in Your Life: Women in Chemistry,” a traveling exhibit that celebrates the achievements of women chemists, on April 19. The American Chemical Society is a founding member of CHF.

Designed primarily for high school and undergraduate students, the exhibit features women chemists who have made or are making significant discoveries, ranging from 17th-century researcher and writer Marie Meurdrac to modern-day environmental scientist Susan Solomon. The exhibit is organized into 12 thematic stations: life, medicines, sanitation, environment, food, style, chips, stuff, discovery, challenges, knowledge, and work.

As part of the event, nonagenarian biochemist Mildred Cohn of the University of Pennsylvania talked about her experiences in becoming accepted as a female chemist, as well as in balancing professional and family responsibilities.

“The women chemists being honored here are truly pioneers,” she said. But though a lot of progress has been made in creating equality for women in the sciences, there is still a lot of work to be done, she added. “The big difference is, in my day, the discrimination was overt, and now it’s covert.”

After leaving CHF on April 30, the exhibit’s first stop is the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair taking place in Portland, Wash., May 9–15. Other planned stops include Western Washington University, Bellingham; Iowa State University Library, Ames; and the 18th Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, also in Ames.

ACS members will have a chance to see the exhibit during the fall national meeting, when the exhibit returns to CHF’s Philadelphia headquarters.

Funding for the exhibit was provided in large part by the Hach Scientific Foundation.


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