Chemistry in its Element

  • A photograph of orange peel and a bottle of essential oil


    26 October 2017

    A compound known for its citrusy zing, and which also helps honey bees find their way home

  • A photograph of a surfer riding a wave


    20 October 2017

    The wear-resistant polymer that helps keep you warm in the winter surf

  • Young woman suffering from seasickness

    Cinnarizine (stugeron)

    12 October 2017

    Neil Withers relives a choppy (and messy) sea voyage to bring us the science of anti-seasickness drug cinnarizine

  • Preparing a solution from the salt of sodium dichromate

    Sodium dichromate

    6 October 2017

    Discover the compound at the heart of a multi-million dollar legal case and an Oscar–winning role for Julia Roberts

  • PC-3 human prostate cancer cells in air bubble, stained with Coomassie blue, under differencial interference contrast microscope.

    Coomassie blue

    29 September 2017

    How an attractive blue dye became the basis of a fundamental lab technique

  • News stories about 'Ginger Jake', the spirit that caused paralysis known as 'Jake walk' during prohibition

    Phosphorus chlorides

    22 September 2017

    A hugely useful group of compounds that have a distinct dual personality

  • Glove box for working in an inert atmosphere

    tert-Butyl lithium or t-BuLi

    13 September 2017

    A pyrophoric reagent that remains one of chemistry’s staples and the liquid salts that can tame its wild reactivity

  • Alizarin based pigment being squeezed from a metal tube


    7 September 2017

    Mike Freemantle introduces a pigment used by William Morris that also gave the Redcoats their distinctive hue

  • Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) pictograms for chlorine trifluoride on a background of flames

    Chlorine trifluoride

    31 August 2017

    Tabitha Watson introduces a poisonous, corrosive and extremely reactive compound that will start ‘roaring reactions’ with almost anything

  • A photograph of a ship made out of ice


    23 August 2017

    A lightweight, bulletproof material made from ice and wood pulp