Chemistry in its Element

  • Will o' the wisp over the fens
    Podcast

    Phosphine

    12 April 2017

    Will o’ the wisp, ignis fatuus, hitodama or the min-min light, ghostly balls of fire are common in folklore around the world. Kit Chapman explores the compound that may be the chemical cause of these mysterious lights

  • Vintage Japanese black lacquer tea caddy with auspicious gold makie bamboo forest design, used in the Japanese Tea Ceremony
    Podcast

    Urushiol

    5 April 2017

    The compounds that link poison ivy with beautiful lacquerwork

  • Packet of mercurous chloride tablets, Kassel, Germany, 1914-1917
    Podcast

    Mercuric chloride

    29 March 2017

    From an early ointment for spots to a medicine for syphilitic Victorians

  • A cat, playing on a purpose built cat tower
    Podcast

    Nepetalactone

    22 March 2017

    The catnip compound that felines go crazy for could have exciting uses for humans, too, as Kat Arney finds out

  • Illustration of human sperm
    Podcast

    Spermine and spermidine

    15 March 2017

    Kiki Sanford explores how polyamines found in semen could be related to a long and healthy life

  • Bandaged British World War 1 soldiers in a battlefield trench, 1915-1918.
    Podcast

    Mustine

    8 March 2017

    How chemical weapons inspired the birth of cancer chemotherapy

  • A single layer of molybdenum disulfide
    Podcast

    Molybdenum disulfide

    1 March 2017

    Brian Clegg discovers the compound that makes the world’s smallest transistors

  • A skeletal form mixes ingredients for sweets, surrounded by vats of dangerous chemicals
    Podcast

    Arsenic trioxide

    22 February 2017

    How a ‘daft’ pharmacy mix up led to a series of poisonings in Victorian Britain

  • Colin Firth as Mr Darcy
    Podcast

    Darcin

    15 February 2017

    Jane Austen’s Mr Darcy lends his name to a pheromone that lets mice feel the love

  • A bag of freshly donated blood
    Podcast

    Porphyrins

    8 February 2017

    Brian Clegg examines the colourful compounds that no red-blooded creature can do without: Porphyrins