CSSM outreach efforts include museum partnerships and other activities to communicate the importance of critical metals.

May 11, 2022

Dr Alex Weberg, Max Furigay, and Jeff McNeill – all CSSM trainees from Penn – facilitated the inaugural launch of the new “Hidden Treasures” soil science experiment and citizens science outreach opportunity with the STEM Scholars at the Franklin Institute on May 11, 2022.  The activity, conducted with 18 high school sophomores, allowed students to qualitatively assess NPK levels for plant needs, heavy metal levels to assess human hazards and eventually obtain quantitative values for certain critical metals.  We are grateful to our partners at the Franklin Institute for making this opportunity possible!

April 20, 2022

Dr Marta Guron visited the Swarthmore Senior Citizens Association in Swarthmore, PA on April 20, 2022 in celebration of Earth Week.  The talk, titled “Sustainable Waste Management of Plastic and Critical Metals:  The Abundant and The Scarce” generated lively discussion and opportunities to share the important information of responsible waste management with the community.

January 10, 2022

In collaboration with the Mutter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, CSSM Managing Director, Dr Marta Guron, presented a Science on Tap talk titled, “‘Haste Makes Waste’ Management a Matter of Social Equity” to the science curious via zoom on January 10, 2022. Waste and disposal are a little considered part of our daily lives; where does that old smart phone go when it stops working? Looking at only short-term solutions has led us to social and environmental inequity. Dumping, landfills, metal salvage facilities are often in underserved communities; the interest in profits over people has led us to policies that have given over the control over critical resources to other political entities. The presentation walked through these issues to look at the longer term impacts and potential solutions around sustainably sourced critical metals. The event was attended by 53 live attendees and was recorded for future viewing, generating over 1,000 views.  Link to the talk

December 22, 2021

CSSM Director, Prof Eric Schelter, and Managing Director, Dr Marta Guron, spent 10 weeks in the Fall of 2021 creating a curriculum lab within the Teachers Institute of Philadelphia, with the goal of highlighting concepts about “How Critical Elements Make Up Our Modern World” to Philadelphia School District teachers. At the end of the curriculum lab, teachers creating their own curricula, aligning with national standards, to bring important ideas around critical metals and the complicated issues around them to today’s students in the classroom.  To find out more about the TIP program, please check out their web site here.  To see the curricula developed in the course of this curriculum lab, head to this site.  Special thanks to the teachers who made this experience invaluable and who do so much for their students every day!

Photo shows TIP Fellows taking a lab tour of the Schelter lab.

November 16, 2021

CSSM Director, Prof Eric Schelter, delivered a presentation titled “Sustainable Separations to Meet Emerging Needs in Critical Metals” on November 16, 2021 in the T. T. Chao Symposium, hosted by the Science History Institute. The T. T. Chao Symposium on Innovation explores, celebrates, and encourages innovation and sustainability in the chemical sciences. This annual event brings together established and emerging leaders in the technical, entrepreneurial, healthcare, and policy arenas to share innovative ideas that address society’s needs in the 21st century. With over 180 live registrants and a hosting on YouTube (with over 4000 subscribers), the event was very successful! Link to Symposium is here.

September 24, 2019

Through a partnership with the Science History Institute in Philadelphia, CSSM Director, Prof. Eric Schelter was part of a panel discussion: “Rare Earths Elements: The Intersection of Science and Society.” The event was hosted by the Science History Institute through support from Roy Eddleman and was held on September 24, 2019 at Hudson Lofts in downtown Los Angeles. It was attended by ~175 people.

This outreach event included presentations about rare earth metals, their roles in technology and in society, challenges in their supply chain, and efforts to improve their sourcing through recycling. There was a panel discussion from experts in areas of engineering/lifecycle analysis, development, environment, and security politics, chemistry, and science communication. The panel also answered questions from the audience.

The event provided a unique experience for attendees with information about rare earth metals from diverse scientific, policy, environmental, and societal viewpoints. Members of the general public asked the panel questions about these topics and gained information and insight into issues of sustainability, critical materials, and chemistry. They also had a chance to interact with the speakers and panelists informally.

The discussion was led by Ira Flatow, host of NPR’s Science Friday. Panelists included Dr. Gwendolyn Bailey, KU Leuven, Prof. Julie  Michelle Klinger, Boston University, and Prof. Eric Schelter, University of Pennsylvania and Director of the Phase I CCI: NSF Center for Sustainable Separations of Metals. Dr. Adam Schwartz, Director, Ames Laboratory gave closing remarks.

Link to Event Video