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From Lavoisier’s experiments with plaster of paris to the the ‘Sistine Chapel of crystals’ in Mexico, Mike Freemantle explores the history of gypsum
Originally developed to treat flu and marketed in Japan as Avigan, promising Covid-19 trial results have seen countries stockpiling this medication by the millions
Tannic acid in green acorns can kill wild animals and livestock, but you can prevent poisoning with pannage pigs
Common in the US but banned in the EU, this animal feed additive makes for muscular pigs and beefy international trade disputes.
Brian Clegg discovers what a six-membered silicon ring can tell us about alien life
We’re tackling the coronavirus information overload by discussing and comparing three books that offer different views on pandemics past and present
Frances Addison on the aromatic compound found in both buttered popcorn and the bearcat’s scent glands, and responsible for the distinctive smell of both
News that this cheap, ubiquitous steroid drug may reduce deaths in Covid-19 cases has been greeted with cautious optimism
Mike Freemantle on the art, history and science of this delicate, translucent ceramic material
Brian Clegg introduces the humble mineral that delights both astronomers and archaeologists
Mike Freemantle introduces the peptic ulcer treatment cimetidine, which – as Tagamet – became the first blockbuster drug
Materials scientist Ainissa Ramirez’s new book uncovers the human side of world-changing inventions
The World Health Organisation hope to eradicate sleeping sickness within our lifetimes. Jamie Durrani looks at a drug that may make it possible.
Georgia Mills investigates the psychoactive found in ayahuasca that may mirror near-death experiences
Katrina Krämer investigates how industrial-strength bleach became promoted as ‘miracle mineral supplement’ – a supposed ‘cure’ for autism, cancer and even Covid-19.
Brian Clegg discovers the link between olive oil, dandruff and stained glass windows.
Science journalist Gemma Milne’s first book promises to be a guide on how to recognise hype and how to cut through it
An immune-modulating compound used to reduce the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and now showing potential against coronaviruses
The unexplained appearance and dramatic spread of a new form of HIV drug ritonavir hurt patients and cost its makers almost $250 million.
How a drug that prevents HIV from donning its protective ‘coat’ now makes up one arm of the World Health Organisation’s Covid-19 trial
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