A framed portrait of Polly Porter

Polly Porter, crystallography pioneer

By Marelene Rayner-Canham, Geoff Rayner-Canham

Marelene and Geoff Rayner-Canham examine one of Dorothy Hodgkin’s mentors, who never studied at school or university

An image showing the Forbidden City

How Covid gave the world a lesson in tackling air pollution


The pandemic has given atmospheric chemists the opportunity to study pollution and carbon emissions like never before

An image showing a driver using a breathalizer

Drink, drugs and disease: the chemistry of breath tests


From roadside tests to diagnosing Covid-19, Clare Sansom looks at how breathalysers have developed

An image showing vials of the Pfizer vaccine

US urged to waive Covid-19 vaccine patents


175 former world leaders and Nobel laureates call on Joe Biden to suspend intellectual property rules

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Physical chemist tapped to head chemical safety at US environment agency


Biden nominates Michal Freedhoff who has spent decades on Capitol Hill on chemical regulation

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Chemical weapons watchdog starts work on new chemistry and technology centre


OPCW facility will build up its capacity in areas including analytical chemistry and chemical safety

An image showing fire

Fatal explosion at US paint and polymers plant


One dead and nine others injured as building partially collapsed after explosion and fire

A photo of four plastic baby spoons each with a different food on the end

US food agency targets ‘toxic elements’ in baby food


Strategy will focus on lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium 

An image showing Matthew Powner

Adding constraints to understand life’s chemical origins


Matt Powner wants to know if there are chemical rules that govern why certain synthetic strategies are embedded in biology 

An image showing Xiulin Ruan

The whitest white paint ever is also the coolest


New paint formulation that reflects up to 98.1% of sunlight can rival the cooling power of air conditioners

An image showing a planar tetracoordinated fluorine complex

Computational study finds fluorine in flatland


Proposed planar clusters contain fluorine atoms and group 13 elements

An image showing hybrid active orbitals

Exotic bond takes computational chemists by surprise


New results could help to solve the dispute around the strange Na–B bond in NaBH3

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Geochemists uncover evidence of massive Antarctic meteorite explosion 430,000 years ago


Airburst event spread material across most of Antarctica

Voice of the Royal Society of Chemistry

  • Nature and mental wellbeing – Building a better chemistry culture

  • Should we design biodegradable plastics?

  • Chemistry pedagogy for a modern world

  • LGBT+ inclusivity – Building a better chemistry culture

Celebrating science's forgotten heroes

  • Polly Porter, crystallography pioneer

  • Mary Sherman Morgan: The best kept secret in the space race

  • Julia Lermontova: an early pioneer

  • Margarita Salas: the marquesa of molecular biology

  • Sylvia Stoesser – the first female chemist at Dow

  • Martin Gouterman: the gay man behind the four-orbital model

  • Stefanie Horovitz – the woman behind the isotope

  • Marguerite Perey and the last element in nature

  • Ghanaian biochemistry TV star Marian Addy

  • Barbara Low, penicillin and the protein pi helix


An image showing a diseased leaf

The growing problem of pesticide resistance


Weeds and other plant pests can no longer be controlled by chemicals as easily as they could. Bárbara Pinho talks to the scientists finding solutions

An image showing a tattooed arm

Smart tattoos are keeping tabs on our health


Nina Notman takes a snapshot of the burgeoning field of health and fitness monitoring tattoos and patches

An image showing botanical illustrations of wheat, pea, clover and leek

Getting to the root of soil nitrogen


The farming industry’s reliance on nitrogen compounds is altering the environment, but Ian Le Guillou finds a better understanding of the interplay between plants and microbes could help to reduce the impact

An image showing a chemical plant photographed with a tilt-shift lens, which gives the impression that the viewer is looking at a miniature plant

Flow chemistry surges forward


The long-discussed technique could help make pharma manufacturing more distributed, finds Andy Extance, and create opportunities for chemists with the right skills

  • Should we design biodegradable plastics?

  • Computational acceleration of novel organic electronic materials development

  • Nature and mental wellbeing – Building a better chemistry culture

  • Statistics versus machine learning: should we all learn artificial intelligence?

  • Molecular modeling for the medicinal chemistry toolkit