Long reads

An image showing the letters P, F, A and S, which stand for perfluorinated alkyl substances, sinking into water; a small fish can also be seen

A persistent perfluorinated problem

27 August 2019By

PFASs were used in household and industrial products for decades before their harmful health effects and biopersistence came to light. Rebecca Trager investigates a messy situation

An illustrated portrait of June Sutor

The forgotten female crystallographer who discovered C–H⋯O bonds

8 July 2019By

Andy Extance tells the overlooked story of crystallographer June Sutor, whose C–H⋯O bonding hypothesis was unjustly suppressed

A photograph of Primo Levi; the tile of the chapters in his book, The Periodic Table, are written around him

Primo Levi and the other periodic table

24 June 2019By

Author and chemist Primo Levi was born 100 years ago this July. Philip Ball looks at his chemical and literary legacy – including his books The Periodic Table and If This Is a Man

An image showing a scrunched up piece of paper with the details of element 118 - Ninovium - Written down

Victor Ninov and the element that never was

10 June 2019By

20 years on, Kit Chapman investigates how a scientific scandal unfolded

A conceptual image showing the disability icon ascending on a slope formed by a graduation hat; the Braille alphabet and the alphabet in sign language can be seen on the background

Accessible science education

28 May 2019By

Nina Notman hears from some of the leading lights in the quest to make chemistry education accessible to all

An image showing droplets on a rose petal; the fine surface structure of one of the droplets can be seen

Superhydrophobic materials from nature

15 April 2019By

Chemists who want to make materials that repel water but do not contain fluorocarbons are taking their inspiration from nature, Rachel Brazil finds

An artistic representation of the periodic table based on the shape of a shell

The art of the periodic table

25 March 2019By

The venerable chart of elements has inspired and entertained in its first 150 years. Hayley Bennett looks at some of its weird, wacky – and wise – incarnations

An image showing perovskite crystal structures

Perovskites beyond solar cells

18 February 2019By

From solar cells and LEDs to catalysts and quantum computing, James Mitchell Crow asks if there is anything perovskites can’t do

A picture showing factors that might make a person look younger or older

Can we live forever?

28 January 2019By

We are now living longer than ever before, but not always in perfect health. Anthony King talks to the researchers working to extend our healthspan

Hero illustration showing question marks with different forms of chemical elements as dots

What is an element?

10 January 2019By

Our understanding of what an element is has evolved over the years, but it’s still a tricky concept to nail down. Philip Ball investigates

Wine sample preparation for testing

A taste of wine chemistry

27 November 2018By

Nina Notman talks to the wine detectives uncovering the flavour molecules in our favourite tipples

Half-cooked turkey

The marvellous Maillard reaction

19 November 2018By

Andy Extance looks at the culinary reaction cascade that goes beyond Christmas and Thanksgiving dinner and has worrying links to health

An illustration depicting evolution in the laboratory

How chemical evolution took the 2018 chemistry Nobel prize

12 October 2018By

Emma Stoye has the full story of how Frances Arnold, George Smith and Greg Winter put evolution to work in the lab

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Are the Nobel prizes good for science?

1 October 2018By

Philip Ball looks at whether prizes and awards help or hinder scientific progress

Nuclear medicine hero

The nuclear option

24 September 2018By

Using radioisotopes to image inside patients’ bodies – nuclear medicine – is under threat from ageing reactors. James Mitchell Crow discovers the new science trying to fix the problem

Illustration of plants bearing tablets and drug capsules as flowers

From folklore to pharmacy

13 August 2018By

Although many drugs have in the past come from plants, Hayley Bennett discovers that it’s hard work getting them approved today

Hydrogen hero illustration

Hydrogen: still the fuel of the future?

30 July 2018By

Is the dream of a hydrogen-fuelled future still a pipe dream, or is it in the pipeline? Angeli Mehta investigates

Supreme Court Building in Washington, DC - close-up of 'Equal justice under law'

Forensics in crisis

15 June 2018By

High-profile cases of scientific misconduct at forensics labs are upending the legal system and casting doubt on the wider field, Rebecca Trager finds

Chemical bottle with ethical warning labels

Ethics in chemistry

18 May 2018By

Nina Notman asks whether chemists should be giving more consideration to the ethics of their research

Understanding Alzheimer's - Amyloid plaques

Understanding Alzheimer’s

11 May 2018By

After hundreds of failed drug candidates, James Mitchell Crow asks if this is the last roll of the dice for the amyloid theory of Alzheimer’s disease

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The molecular basis of circadian rhythms

4 May 2018By

Every cell of every organism has its own little clock, but what makes it tick? Fiona Case finds out

Protein folding origami concept illustration

Go with the fold

30 March 2018By

From a seemingly impossible problem a few years ago, some researchers think that predicting the folded structures of protein could be solved pretty soon. James Mitchell Crow reports

Solar plant near Beijing, China

Renewable energy in China

23 February 2018By

Huge investments and cutting-edge research are helping China to pioneer innovations in clean energy technologies, reports Mark Peplow

Jupiter's tumultuous atmosphere

Life on other planets

19 January 2018By

A series of missions to the moons of Jupiter and Saturn has revealed their potential to harbour life. Nina Notman looks to the skies

Carolyn Bertozzi

Carolyn Bertozzi

12 January 2018By

One-time heavy rocker Carolyn Bertozzi has made a name for herself with hit papers and sound science. Sarah Houlton charts her path to success

Bottled beer with chemically suitable names

Beer: Music to your taste buds

1 December 2017By

Andy Extance goes on tour in the UK and Belgium and compares the science behind the different processes used by craft and mass brewers

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Cryo-EM: a cold, hard look at biology

13 October 2017By

Super cool microscopy wins the 2017 Nobel prize in chemistry

Blue abstract light trails

Photoredox: charge of the LED brigade

20 September 2017By

Forget fluorescent light bulbs, photochemistry has become a lot more sophisticated

A selection of legal high packets in the UK

The rising tide of 'legal highs'

6 September 2017By

Andy Extance investigates the chemistry that has helped recreational drugs evade the law, and its consequences

Liebig company trading card advert showing Hofmann giving a lecture

Hofmann's chemistry factory

10 August 2017By Brigitte Osterath

How two German chemists shaped chemistry education and research in Britain

Quantum computing concept

Quantum chemistry on quantum computers

21 July 2017By

The special properties of quantum computers should make them ideal for accurately modelling chemical systems, Philip Ball discovers

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Science's problem with unconscious bias

22 June 2017By ,

Kit Chapman looks at how people are tackling the hidden biases holding sections of society back in pursuing a career in science

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Raiders of the lost pigments

8 May 2017By

The old sculptures in museums have lost their original colour, but chemistry can help us discover how they used to look

Hydrothermal vent

Hydrothermal vents and the origins of life

16 April 2017By

Did life start on land or underwater?

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MOFs find a use

28 March 2017By

Nina Notman takes stock of the first products containing metal–organic frameworks to hit the shelves

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Smartphone recycling

20 March 2017By

Although smartphones contain a host of valuable metals, getting at them is the tricky bit. Emma Davies reports

Dark Protein - DNA autoradiogram

Shedding light on the dark proteome

13 February 2017By

Around half of all human proteins are a mystery. What do they look like, asks Phil Ball

Chemical fossils - sea ice

Chemical fossils

2 February 2017By

Andy Extance finds out what organic molecules made by microorganisms and plants far in the past can tell us about climate

London air pollution

Urban air pollution

12 January 2017By

Nina Notman meets the chemists breathing fresh air into urban air pollution research