Lightning bolt on top of oil refinery

Sparking industry’s interest in electrosynthesis


Using electrons instead of reagents offers many potential benefits, but there are still barriers to overcome, as Rachel Brazil reports

Illustration of woman in the shade at the beach

The high price of a suntan


Skin cancer is on the rise in many countries around the world, but so are the methods to treat it. Bárbara Pinho reports

20 years portraits

20 years. 20 chemists. 20 stories.


How has chemistry changed in the last two decades?

Synthetic data

Why are computational chemists making up their data?


‘Synthetic data’ is being used in chemistry, but is it something we should worry about? Hayley Bennett explains

DDT collage

How DDT went from triumph to tragedy


Few compounds have a story as controversial as this insecticide. Mike Sutton traces the tale from its beginning 150 years ago


One of these vials is contaminated with nanoplastics. Chemistry can tell us which one


Nina Notman talks to the scientists finding where nanoplastics come from and where they end up

Chemists in Ukraine

Ukraine scientists

Ukraine’s chemists persevere through a year of war


One year into the full-scale Russian invasion, Ukrainian chemists face blackouts and missile strikes 

Ukraine portraits compilation

Living through the war in Ukraine


Since the full-scale invasion began, Anastasia Klimash has been talking to chemists in Ukraine to find out how they are being affected

A picture of Mendeleev with his 1869 periodic table

The father of the periodic table


Mike Sutton looks at how Mendeleev’s patience revealed periodicity in the elements

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


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

Oak Ridge Laboratory

What it takes to make a new element


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

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

The art of the periodic table


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 neutron stars colliding

How elements are made beyond the stars


Tim Wogan looks at what recent astronomical discoveries have added to our understanding of stellar nucleosynthesis, and the mysteries that remain 

Old Russian periodic table

Ordering the elements


From the law of octaves to the periodic table as we know it, Mike Sutton traces how chemists put their house in order

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

What is an element?


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

Hydrothermal vent

Hydrothermal vents and the origins of life


Did life start on land or underwater?

Jupiter's tumultuous atmosphere

Life on other planets


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

amino acids soup

Why are there 20 amino acids?


Rachel Brazil tries to untangle the alphabet soup of life

Messy chemistry typography

The messy chemistry that led to life


To understand how chemistry became biology, some chemists are eschewing simple reactions to study complex systems with many reactants and products. Rachel Brazil peers through the tangle

An image showing bubbles

How protocells bridge the gap from chemistry to biology


Rachel Brazil talks to the scientists trying to recreate what the first cells were like, or to make their own versions

An image showing Asteroid Ida

Do asteroids hold the key to life on Earth?


A series of missions are set to reveal the hidden secrets of the asteroids. Nina Notman explores the science of space rocks

breaking the mirror

The origin of homochirality


Why do so many biological molecules exist in just one chirality – and how did it emerge? Rachel Brazil reflects on life’s strange asymmetry

Cucumber in tonic bubbles, close-up

The science of distilling gin


Do you know your cold compound from your London dry? Nina Notman sorts through the botanicals to find the perfect cocktail

Wheat field

Is modern food lower in nutrients?


Studies suggest that our fruit and vegetables are losing nutrients. Bárbara Pinho examines the evidence and looks at the implications of a ‘nutrient collapse’

Half-cooked turkey

The marvellous Maillard reaction


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

Tea - CW1216 - i stock 184948797

The chemistry in your cuppa


Katrina Megget finds there’s more to tea than just a great brew – it’s also chemically complex

An image showing turmeric

Separating turmeric fact from fiction


Thousands of papers have been published on curcumin’s healing potential, but its usefulness is not yet proven, finds Andy Extance

chocolate model of theobromine

Well-tempered chocolate


Nina Notman discovers that controlling crystal structures and emulsions is the key to good chocolate

Wine sample preparation for testing

A taste of wine chemistry


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

A black and white image showing a baby lying on his back and feeding himself from a bottle held by his legs

The science of breast milk and baby formula


Nina Notman reveals how breast milk research is inspiring a new generation of infant formulas and opening the door to therapeutic advances

An image showing cake and ingredients

The science of the perfect cake


Nina Notman opens her lab notebook to find a recipe fit for a queen

An image showing hands placing spices into a pan of curry

The chemistry of a curry


Can chemistry help Nina Notman make a better curry?