Chemistry in its Element

  • Test launch of Bumper 8: a two-stage rocket that topped a V-2 missile base with a WAC Corporal rocket


    16 November 2017

    Brian Clegg introduces a failed rocket fuel oxidiser with a very tricky structure

  • A pigeon in flight


    9 November 2017

    Kit Chapman discovers the compound that blighted Nixon’s second presidential inauguration by littering the route with dead pigeons

  • Mouldy peanuts


    2 November 2017

    Kat Arney investigates the cancer-causing chemicals that could be lurking in that bag of peanuts

  • 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