Articles on Chemistry

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Space pants: not a universe away from powdered booze. Justbe74too

Powdered alcohol and space diapers have something in common

Powdered alcohol has been in the news this week. First we were told that a product called Palcohol was the hottest new thing to hit the US market, a powder that would dissolve in water to give different…
More than just beakers and Bunsen burners, chemistry extends across many areas. *USB*

Proteins to plastics: chemistry as a dynamic discipline

AUSTRALIA 2025: How will science address the challenges of the future? In collaboration with Australia’s chief scientist Ian Chubb, we’re asking how each science discipline will contribute to Australia…
Crystallography: from a handheld experiment in 1912 to the size of many football fields today. Diamond Light Source

Explainer: what is X-ray crystallography?

Around 100 years ago a father and his son in north England conducted an experiment that would revolutionise the way scientists study molecules. A refined version of their method still remains one of the…
With a bang, not a whimper. Trey Ratcliff, Flickr

Explainer: the science of fireworks

While large firework displays have become even more more popular over the past ten years or so, most of the chemistry behind these exuberant displays has been known for centuries. Marrying this with modern…
Shades of 60 elements that make a computer chip. intelfreepress

Metals in your smartphone have no substitutes

A few centuries ago, there were just a few widely used materials: wood, brick, iron, copper, gold and silver. Today’s material…
In them, began life. University of Utah

Chemists show life on Earth was not a fluke

How life came about from inanimate sets of chemicals is still a mystery. While we may never be certain which chemicals existed on prebiotic Earth, we can study the biomolecules we have today to give us…
Get your fill of energy. kfoodaddict

Jelly-making protein could help make cheap fuel cells

New research shows that a catalyst made from gelatin, the same protein used to make jelly desserts, helps fuel cells be more efficient. This may offer a cheap alternative to the expensive metal-based fuel…
This is a DNA-binding protein, so said the computer. Zephyris

Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to computational wizards

In a rare double, another Nobel Prize has gone to scientists who build models. The 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded…
First you’ve got to work out what’s in it. Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab

Fast market for legal highs poses challenge for scientists

Legal highs that are novel psychoactive substances (NPS) have flooded Britain over the past few years and their use has increased drastically. NPS are cleverly constructed designer drugs often structurally…
The shiny surface of an apple is often courtesy of the wax of a Brazilian palm tree. Micah Taylor

No need to get browned off – edible films keep fruit fresh

Packaged green salad items, such as lettuce, coleslaw, or spinach sold ready to toss in the salad bowl, are now a frequent item in supermarket trolleys. With the ongoing popularity of such convenience…
Here I come, carrying seeds of life. skynoir

Building blocks of life could be formed on comets

No one knows how life began on Earth. But for it to happen, some simple chemical building blocks would have been needed. Many scientists argue the Earth’s violent past, with its massive volcanoes and regular…
Dung beetles love the Milky Way because they use it for navigation. No, seriously they do. mattvisser

Ig Nobels 2013: from attaching penises to stargazing beetles

This year’s Ig Nobel prizes were awarded on September 12 at a meeting of nerds at Harvard University. The prizes are given for genuine scientific research that “first makes people laugh and then makes…
Bioplastics of the future come in all shapes, colours and sizes. Achim Raschka

Creating renewable plastics that don’t cost the Earth

Imagine a future where packaging is made entirely from waste material and biodegrades to harmless by-products. Or where your home’s cavity wall insulation foam is made from captured CO2 emissions. Or where…
A GB (sarin) filled M55 rocket, is destroyed. US Army Chemical Materials Agency

Chemical weapons and the scientists who make them

It would take a hard-hearted person not to have been moved to tears by the images on our television screens of Syria over the last week - of infants struggling to breathe while their parents looked on…

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