Long reads

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

Yuri Oganessian

What it takes to make a new element

30 November 2016By

Yuri Oganessian tells us how nihonium, moscovium, tennessine and oganesson were made

Chemistry in a garden shed

Hobby chemists

22 November 2016By

Is doing chemistry at home possible today? Sarah Houlton finds out

Nobel Prize in Chemistry winners 2016 - illustration panel - Hero version 1.0


14 October 2016By

The three winners of this year’s chemistry Nobel gave chemists the tools to make molecules into machines. Emma Stoye assembles the story

Residents in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, Syria - Hero

Refugee scientists

23 September 2016By

Rachel Brazil looks at schemes to help refugee scientists in the past, present and future

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The age of eternity

18 August 2016By Robert Reed

What if the price of eternal youth is more than people can pay? Robert Reed looks at a beautiful future

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Testing times

17 August 2016By John Gilbey

A look at the future without chemistry as we know it


Searching for complexity

13 May 2016By

Anthony King finds out what makes Lee Cronin tick

Harry Kroto

Harry Kroto 1939–2016

10 May 2016By

Neil Withers pays tribute to Harry Kroto, who died recently