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In the culture of research science, there’s a focus on the frontier, a premium on solving unsolved problems. But Paul Anastas, known as the father of green chemistry, urged scientists in a presentation at AAAS to revisit old problems and re-solve them in cleaner, more efficient ways.

Across science, in areas ranging from agriculture to light-bulb design and pharmaceutical development, science-driven improvements conceived in past decades often have come with high cost to the environment and sometimes human health, Anastas said.