Blog Broadens Subject Matter Scope

The Chemical Reaction blog covers diverse topics that matter to the chemical industry.

By Traci Purdum, senior digital editor

With so many stories, news items, and articles of interest, what is a journalist to do? If you're a blogger, you can turn any item into a post geared toward the chemical industry. And if you've read my blogs with any regularity, you know the topics I cover are varied. See for yourself.

If you've read my blogs with any regularity, you know the topics I cover are varied.

One recent post stemmed from a conversation I had with Catherine T. "Katie" Hunt, director, Innovation Sourcing & Sustainable Technologies at The Dow Chemical Co., regarding her involvement in a groundbreaking global affair entitled "Women Sharing a Chemical Moment in Time." This event brought women in chemistry together worldwide (via Skype and other electronic means) for a breakfast meeting that was held Jan. 18, 2011.

"It was awesome, exciting and a whole lot of fun," says Hunt, who called in via Skype at noon to connect with women at Dow AgroScience in Hawaii. "This was a global handshake around the world that really brought people together." (Read "Global Handshake Brings Chemists Together.")

Another post focused on the issue of worker safety. This entry drew upon the study "Workers' Perception of Chemical Risks: A Focus Group Study." Essentially, it reported that chemical workers feel they are at risk and don't trust management to keep them safe. Instead, they rely on each other. To illustrate, one study participant stated: "By passing on information to our colleagues we feel like we're contributing to our own safety, but that feeling soon wears off. . ." (Read the full blog.)

Ideas for blog posts come from all over. I was reading the New York Times when I saw an article about how the prototype kilogram has lost weight over the last century, thus making it an unreliable source of measurement. (Read "When A Kilogram Doesn't Weigh A Kilogram.")

While searching for a gift for my nephew, I came across blog fodder in the form of an interesting book, "The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry," (2005, Collins Reference). What struck my fancy was the review: "If you have ever suspected that "heavy water" is the title of a bootleg Pink Floyd album, believed that surface tension is an anxiety disorder, or imagined that a noble gas is the result of a heavy meal at Buckingham Palace, then you need The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry to set you on the road to chemical literacy." (Read the blog.)

I take it as a personal challenge to work odds and ends into entertaining and informative blog posts that serve engineers in the chemical industry. If you spot an idea you'd like to see as a blog, send it my way. You never know what I'll write about next.

Traci Purdum is Chemical Processing's senior digital editor and resident blogger. You can e-mail her at

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