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'UWFox to Host Presentation by Pulitzer Prize Writer Deborah Blum'

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Photo of Deborah Blum Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Deborah Blum will be making a very special presentation at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley when she is hosted by the Northeast Wisconsin Local Section of the American Chemical Society (NEW ACS Local Section) on Wednesday, September 11, at 7:00 p.m. Blum's presentation is entitled, The Poisoner's Guide to Life, and will take place in UWFox room #1229.

Blum is an award-winning former newspaper reporter and prolific author who joined the UW-Madison faculty in 1997 as a professor of journalism, teaching creative non-fiction, literary journalism and science journalism. In 2005 she was appointed "Helen Firstbrook Franklin Professor of Journalism," a newly endowed faculty position within the University of Wisconsin journalism school.

Prior to joining the university, she was a science writer for The Sacramento Bee where she won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for a series on ethical issues in primate research. The series became her first book, The Monkey Wars (Oxford University Press, 1994). In 1992 the American Association for the Advancement of Science awarded her its AAAS-Westinghouse Award for Science Journalism, also for the Monkey Wars series.

Her presentation at UWFox "explores the history of forensic toxicology and the invention of our CSI-era age, in a journey that includes the story of some of our most famous homicidal poisons and the ways scientists can sometimes solve a murder through chemistry alone," according to information provided by the sponsoring organization, the American Chemical Society's local chapter.

As a science writer that contributed to numerous publications for many years, she is especially interested in the intersection between science and society, and believes that chemistry can change culture and vice versa. That intersection has been at the center of her five books, beginning with the previously mentioned, The Monkey Wars (1994), and best-seller, The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York (2010). The Poisoner's Handbook, was listed on the New York Times bestseller paperback non-fiction list in February 2011, and Amazon named the book on its Top 100 Best of 2010.

Her other books include Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Health (2006), and Love at Goon Park: Harry Harlow and the Science of Affection (2002), a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and Sex on the Brain (1997).

A past president of the National Association of Science Writers, Blum is a member of the governing board of the World Federation of Science Writers and has also served on such panels for the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing, the AAAS Committee on Public Understanding of Science and Technology, the National Research Council's Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the Society for Science & the Public.

The American Chemical Society (ACS), with more than 160,000 members, is the world's largest scientific society and one of the world's leading sources of authoritative scientific information. A nonprofit organization, chartered by Congress, ACS is at the forefront of the evolving worldwide chemical enterprise and the premier professional home for chemists, chemical engineers and related professions around the globe.

The NEW ACS Local Section is comprised of chemists who live from Marinette to Ripon, Wisconsin. It schedules six meetings and events a year which feature talks about chemistry. The meetings are open to anyone interested in chemical sciences. The NEW ACS Local Section also sponsors educational and public outreach programs to increase knowledge of chemistry in the members' respective communities.

Blum's presentation is free and open to the public with unreserved and limited seating. For more information about her presentation, contact Dr. James Wang at the Kimberly-Clark Corporation, jhwang@kcc.com. Wang is the current Chairperson of the NEW ACS Local Section.

For more information about UWFox, contact Dave Hager, director of University Relations, 920-832-2611 or email david.hager@uwc.edu.

Posted 9/9/2013