By reducing chemistry’s spotlight to an argument about the good and the bad of chemicals, you lose the bigger, beautiful picture of chemistry. Argument outreach, lovable chemicals outreach, neither are affective because chemistry is not just about chemicals. Maybe it is not that big of an issue, most of what I read seems choir directed anyway. But as a member of that choir, I would like to request a different tune.As the author of the occasional post that cracks wise about the ignorance of chemicals and the public's chemophobia, I thought this might be a fun opportunity to talk to her about it. She also had a fantastic section in her post on chemophobia and parenting, which (as a parent), I was in profound sympathy with.
Better yet, this coming Saturday will be Carmen Drahl and DrRubidium's session at ScienceOnline 2013 on chemophobia, so this is our contribution to the pre-conversation:
(I was a little more aggressive with the editing, and I'm concerned that it shows. Any oddities with the sound are my responsibility, and not Dr. Guenard's.)
0:00 - 1:44: Introduction, parenting and chemicals
3:03: Rational concern about chemicals for your offspring
3:30: Rebecca and the phosgene plant
4:20: Parents and BPA
6:30: CJ, his kids and kilo-scale work
8:35: CJ dislikes "Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families"
11:45: Rebecca: "Dose makes the poison", not matter how true, isn't particularly effective
14:00: Did you have a Nalgene bottle?
17:10: Are some adults just lost to chemophobia?
18:30: CJ's rant about Facebook, and Rebecca's excellent response
21:09: Rebecca is going to #scio13 -- lucky!
22:00: CJ: Why ranting against chemophobia is fun
24:00: Rebecca: Different ways to talk about chemistry to different people (so true!)
26:00: Rebecca: "Chemists are nuts" -- a fun way to talk about chemistry is to talk about the chemists.
28:00: Who communicates chemistry well?*
*Rebecca also notes that Prof. Michelle Francl communicates chemistry well; I agree heartily. Sarah Everts' fantastic oral history of East German chemists is here.