Public Release: 

CHF creates traveling exhibition celebrating women in chemistry

Chronicles contribution of women in the profession of chemistry

Chemical Heritage Foundation

PHILADELPHIA, PA -- May 2004 -- The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) has just completed a new traveling exhibition that presents the rich history of women chemists and their contributions to everyday life. This bold new showcase, which encourages young women to explore possible careers in chemistry, was made possible through a generous donation by the Hach Scientific Foundation.

Her Lab in Your Life: Women in Chemistry takes a fresh look at daily life, revealing how chemical science and engineering help form it. Created especially for high school and college students, but designed to engage general audiences, this traveling exhibition examines the women chemists who have shaped our modern world through historic contributions to science and technology. These women have given us new visions of the material world-- from the structure of atoms to the substance of stars.

Taking design cues from youth culture and familiar surroundings such as diners and parks, the exhibition engages the visitor by framing the stories of chemists in 12 thematic stations. These stations celebrate the diversity of fields that chemists pursue, from genetic research to fashion, and the women chemists who have left their mark on them. Featured chemists range from the 17th century's Marie Meurdrac and her early chemistry text to today's Susan Solomon and her contributions to environmental understanding.


  • Life -- Many of the pioneers in the complex field of biochemistry are women.
  • Medicines -- From penicillin to protease inhibitors, women chemists have helped develop life-saving drugs.
  • Sanitation -- Clean water, wholesome groceries, and safe workplaces are often taken for granted nowadays, but women chemists established many of the standards that safeguard our health.
  • Environment -- Protecting the environment requires knowledge--especially knowledge of chemistry--and women chemists have applied this knowledge in many areas.
  • Food -- From the chemical analysis needed to structure nutritional diets for low-income families to the invention of xanthan gum, women chemists have continually put food on the table.
  • Style -- Women chemists have put their skills to work in today's fashion industry, using chemical processes to create new materials and improved fabrics.
  • Chips -- Women chemists have helped develop and advance the world of semiconductors.
  • Stuff -- Women chemists helped create and improve the thousands of everyday products that surround you.
  • Discovery -- The thrill of discovery drives many women chemists in pursuit of their science.
  • Challenges -- Women chemists faced daunting professional and social challenges in years past, but desire and determination gave many the strength to overcome them.
  • Knowledge -- Women chemists, as teachers, writers, and advocates, worked hard to ensure girls' inclusion in the chemistry classroom.
  • Work -- Chemistry is in demand in so many workplaces, including outer space and archeology digs.

On 30 April the exhibition was packed and shipped for its first display at a public event: the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, 9-15 May. For information about the fair visit

Other venues:

To host the traveling exhibition Her Lab in Your Life at your venue, contact Josh McIlvain at or (215) 925-2178, ext. 236.

First Public Display at Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, 9-15 May.


About the Chemical Heritage Foundation
The Chemical Heritage Foundation serves the community of the chemical and molecular sciences, and the wider public, by treasuring the past, educating the present, and inspiring the future. CHF carries out a program of outreach and interpretation in order to advance an understanding of the role of the chemical and molecular sciences, technologies, and industries in shaping society; maintains a world-class collection of materials that document the history and heritage of the chemical and molecular sciences, technologies, and industries; and encourages research in its collections.

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