Chemistry in its Element

  • Old photo of a man making guncotton

    Guncotton or nitrocellulose

    28 October 2015

    From an apron aflame to a popular propellant, Michael Freemantle tracks the history of guncotton

  • Pot of Marmite

    Thiamine or vitamin B

    22 October 2015

    Brian Clegg introduces an essential nutrient, and the first to hold the name ‘vitamin’: Thiamine or vitamin B

  • vials of cephalosporin


    15 October 2015

    A story which starts knee-deep in sewage and ends with the spread of drug resistant infections like MRSA

  • War poster about lewisite


    7 October 2015

    Wouldn’t it be great to have a molecule named after you? But perhaps not this week’s compound, the chemical weapon lewisite

  • Argonne National Laboratory

    Xenon hexafluoroplatinate

    30 September 2015

    Hayley Birch discovers the compound that opened up a wing of the periodic table for reactions: Xenon hexafluoroplatinate

  • Iced tea

    Sodium azide

    23 September 2015

    Raychelle Burks finds out how Potbelly’s patrons became poisoning patients, in the mystery of the sodium azide-laced iced tea

  • Gelsemium sempervirens flowers


    21 September 2015

    In this week’s podcast, Matt Gunther reveals the toxic history of gelsemine

  • Wintergreen plant

    Methyl salicylate

    15 September 2015

    In this week’s podcast, Raychelle Burks tells us of the cool but warming effects of methyl salicylate, better known as oil of wintergreen.

  • A very old edition of Tyrocinium Chymicum

    Antimony sulfide

    2 September 2015

    It’s at the heart of the first chemical equation, and makes Hayley Birch think of quiche. This week’s compound is antimony sulfide

  • Blue Ridge mountains


    26 August 2015

    Why do the Blue Ridged Mountains inspire so many songs? Maybe it’s because of the Isoprene that gives them their blue hue…