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Research Activities

Research activities at the Science History Institute include online exhibitions, multimedia projects, scholarly publications, and more. Explore our work through video, images, articles, and conversations below.

Oral Histories of Immigration and Innovation

This National Historical Publications and Records Commission grant-funded project will make the oral history interviews of 70 immigrant scientists freely accessible and searchable.

REACH Ambler

Explore history, community, and environmental legacy in Ambler, Pennsylvania, a town long affected by asbestos manufacturing.

Sensing Change

Artists and scientists examine and respond to the daily shifts in our environment and the effects of long-term climate change.

Flexible Meaning

Asbestos has a long and complicated history. In this exhibition, learn what has given it such flexible meaning.

Imagining Philadelphia’s Energy Futures

How do Philadelphians imagine a sustainable future for their city? This project examined energy, climate change, and the future of Philadelphia.

Science and Disability

The Center for Oral History is currently seeking interviewees for a three-year project to document the lives and contributions of people with disabilities who work or are currently obtaining an advanced degree in STEM fields.


On #FellowFriday one scholar takes over our Twitter account to share reseach and answer questions from followers.

Arnold O. Beckman Legacy Project

An ongoing, multipronged project tracing the life and influence of Dr. Arnold O. Beckman, a leading scientist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist of the 20th century.

Behind the Beaker

We interview research fellows about their projects, what inspires them as historians, and some of their favorite archival finds.

TSCA: From Inception to Reform

An oral history project about the Toxic Substances Control Act, the bill authorizing the Environmental Protection Agency to require reporting and testing of chemical substances in commerce.

Publications by Scholars

A selection of articles and books published by Institute researchers past and present.

Synthesis Book Series

Published in partnership with the University of Chicago Press, books in the Synthesis series seek to shed light on the history of chemistry and its diverse roles in society.

White Paper: Characterizing Airborne Particulates in Hunting Park

Airborne particulate matter has long been a concern for Hunting Park, a Philadelphia neighborhood designated as an environmental-justice community.

White Paper: Burning Biomass in Delaware? Energy Needs and Environmental Impacts

This report surveys the environmental benefits and concerns associated with Ciba Corporation’s switch from natural gas to biomass.

White Papers: Innovation Day

Publications produced by eight years of Innovation Day conferences, charting innovation in the chemical industry.

White Paper: Understanding Moore’s Law

This text places the silicon revolution in a broad context and charts Gordon Moore’s development of his eponymous law across its 40-year life.

White Paper: Social Studies in Nanotechnology

The report-based symposium presented to encourage debate about the most productive role of the social sciences in nanotechnology.

White Paper Series: Studies in Materials Innovation

Part of the Robert W. Gore Materials Innovation Project, this paper series aims to illuminate the diverse aspects of materials innovation in the modern age.

White Paper Series: Studies in Sustainability

The Studies in Sustainability series discusses the unique challenges and opportunities in transforming chemistry into a tool for sustainability.