Articles on Chemistry

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It’s all science. Emmanuel Hebrard

Explainer: what Philae did in its 60 hours on Comet 67P

The drama of Philae’s slow fall, bounce and unfortunate slide into hibernation was one of the most thrilling science stories of a generation. But what in its short 60 hours of life on Comet 67P did it…
Grind, temperature, time and coffee-to-water ratio – nail these for the best coffee. Andy Ciordia/Flickr

The perfect cup of coffee boils down to four factors

Welcome to the second instalment in our series Chemistry of Coffee, where we unravel the delicious secrets of one of the most widely consumed drinks in the world. Here we look at how tweaking variables…
Winners of the Nobel Prize in chemistry: Eric Betzig, Stefan Hell and William Moerner. Matt Staley, HHMI / Bernd Schuller, Max-Planck-Institut / K. Lowder

Nobel Prize in chemistry: beating nature’s limits to build super-microscopes

Robert Hooke was a pioneer of microscopy, when back in the 17th century he drew stunning images of insects, plant cells and fossils. Since then microscopes that use light to magnify things we can’t see…
Ready, set, print me a reaction. Chaikom

Now you can turn your inkjet printer into a chemistry lab

If you stop and think about it for a moment, you will realise what an astonishing feat of precision engineering your colour printer is. It can take the primary colours – cyan, yellow, magenta and black…
Professor Yonath gained inspiration from an unlikely source … hibernating bears. EPA/Brais Lorenzo

‘I consider science a luxury’: In Conversation with Ada Yonath

Israeli crystallographer Ada Yonath shared the 2009 Nobel prize in Chemistry for her work the ribosome – a protein-building structure central to life found in all living cells. Professor Yonath determined…
Chilli might make it seem as though your face is on fire – so why is milk so soothing? Andrés Nieto Porras

Explainer: why chilli burns, and milk helps soothe the pain

Whether it’s a few flakes on a pizza or the spiciest vindaloo known to humankind, most people can tolerate or even enjoy the tingling, burning sensation chilli can bring. So how does chilli deliver its…

Boron ‘buckyball’ opens door to new nanotech

A hollow molecular shell made up of 40 boron atoms has been observed for the first time, potentially opening up the way for…
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…

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