Women In Chemistry

catalyst [kat-l-ist] : a substance that causes or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected

The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) tasked us to create a ‘catalyst’ to encourage middle school and high school girls to take a greater interest in chemistry. In collaboration with the karma agency, our reaction was to curate and construct eight documentary films that collectively became known as The Catalyst Series: Women in Chemistry.

Approach

Because this project required us to shoot in different places all over the country, we implemented a direct-to-camera approach, and by placing our subjects against green screen, we were able to give all eight women a consistent treatment.

We crafted their unique stories using archival footage, personal images, music from eras spanning 70 years, and a cutting edge editing style. The result was a wonderfully received celebration of these extraordinary women, highlighting their ambition, their courage, and their life-changing, chance-taking, thrill-seeking love of science.

Results

The Catalyst Series lived on CHF’s website, played on social media, and were used to influence middle school science curricula. The campaign was so successful that it led to a spin-off collaboration with WHYY in Philadelphia. For TV broadcast, we produced a one hour special, called Women in Chemistry: Lessons from Life and the Laboratory, which tied all eight women together by highlighting their ambition, their courage, and their love of science.

The special is now available for broadcast via the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA).