A Feast of Science

Did you know that Samuel Hahnemann, the misguided father of homeopathy, was an accomplished chemist who developed the first chemical test for arsenic? His test was applied in a poisoning trial in England: it was positive, but the color of the sample had deteriorated by the time it got to the jury, and they were

Flame Retardants Have Ignited a Flaming Controversy

Flame retardants are controversial: proponents say they reduce fire damage and save lives; critics say they don’t work, are poisoning our environment, and should be banned. Flame retardants are a controversial subject. Many fire departments and chemical industry sources praise retardants for reducing fire damage and saving lives. Critics say they do more harm than

Monkeys, Myths, and Molecules: A Chemist Separates Fact from Fiction

“Dr. Joe” (from the title of his radio show) has done it again. He keeps putting out books faster than I can take them in; this one is titled Monkeys, Myths, and Molecules. It is packed with pithy analyses of health-related subjects that should be of particular interest to SBM readers. Dr. Joe is Joseph Schwarcz, a chemistry

Food for Thought

I am excited to tell you about a wonderful new endeavor that is helping to promote critical thinking about science and medicine. It’s a free online course on “Food for Thought” that offers a scientific framework for understanding food and its impact on health and society from past to present. The “Food for Thought” course is a

The Carl Sagan of Chemistry

The Right Chemistry is many things. It is a column in the Montreal Gazette, a radio show on CJAD in Montreal, a blog, a podcast, and now it’s a book: The Right Chemistry: 108 Enlightening, Nutritious, Health-Conscious and Occasionally Bizarre Inquiries into the Science of Everyday Life , by Joe Schwarcz. Known as “Dr. Joe,”