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Articles on Chemistry

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Water microdroplets provide a unique interface that can significantly speed up chemical reactions. Marianna Armata/Moment via Getty Images

Water was both essential and a barrier to early life on Earth – microdroplets are one potential solution to this paradox

The chemical reaction that forms essential biomolecules like proteins and DNA normally doesn’t occur in the presence of water. Microdroplets provide a unique environment that make it possible.
Click chemistry joins molecules together by reacting an azide with a cyclooctyne. Boris Zhitkov/Moment via Getty Images

Nobel Prize: How click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry are transforming the pharmaceutical and material industries

Click and bioorthogonal chemistry has enabled researchers to closely study how molecules work in their natural state in living organisms, with applications that span from cancer treatment to polymers.
Louis Pasteur was a pioneer in chemistry, microbiology, immunology and vaccinology. pictore/DigitalVision Vectors via Getty Images

Louis Pasteur’s scientific discoveries in the 19th century revolutionized medicine and continue to save the lives of millions today

On World Rabies Day – which is also the anniversary of French microbiologist Louis Pasteur’s death – a virologist reflects on the achievements of this visionary scientist.
Megalodon would have dwarfed today’s great white sharks. Christina Spence Morgan

Megalodon sharks ruled the oceans millions of years ago – new analyses of giant fossilized teeth are helping scientists unravel the mystery of their extinction

Megalodon, the world’s largest known shark species, swam the oceans long before humans existed. Its teeth are all that’s left, and they tell a story of an apex predator that vanished.
TRAPPIST-1e is a rocky exoplanet in the habitable zone of a star 40 light-years from Earth and may have water and clouds, as depicted in this artist’s impression. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Wikimedia Commons

To search for alien life, astronomers will look for clues in the atmospheres of distant planets – and the James Webb Space Telescope just proved it’s possible to do so

Life on Earth has dramatically changed the chemistry of the planet. Astronomers will measure light that bounces off distant planets to look for similar clues that they host life.
Introductory science classes typically require students to memorize facts, rather than teaching them the basis of scientific thinking. Maskot via Getty Images

Improving science literacy means changing science education

College science classes often fall short of helping students see connections across subjects. Can a new approach make a difference?
Most plastic products that are clear and strong are made using bisphenol A, or BPA. Beton Studio/iStock via Getty Images

What is BPA and why is it in so many plastic products?

The US Environmental Protection Agency is reexamining the health effects of bisphenol A. A chemist explains why BPA is in plastics and why it’s hard to find a safe replacement.
Figuring out what makes some proteins glow requires an understanding of chemistry. eLife - the journal

A celebrated AI has learned a new trick: How to do chemistry

The AI AlphaFold can figure out the three-dimensional protein structure any string of amino acids will become. It has now exceeded its training by figuring out what makes some proteins glow.
Plastic trash accumulates in trees and shrubs along the Los Angeles River. Citizen of the Planet/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

If plastic comes from oil and gas, which come originally from plants, why isn’t it biodegradable?

Plastic is made from oil and natural gas, which started out as fossilized plant and animal material. But buried deep underground for millions of years, those materials changed in important ways.

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