411, 2015
  • Chemistry of Fireworks – Bangs, Crackles & Whistles

The Chemistry of Fireworks: Bangs, Crackles & Whistles

By |November 4th, 2015|

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With the 5th of November approaching, the distant reports of early fireworks displays can already be heard in the evenings here in the UK. Discussion on the chemistry of fireworks usually centres on the compounds used to generate their array of colours, but there’s a whole lot of chemistry behind the sounds they make too. Here we take a brief look at some of the ways in which pyrotechnic chemists give fireworks their characteristic bangs and screeches. […]

2610, 2015
  • A Rough Guide to IARC Carcinogen Classifications

A Rough Guide to the IARC’s Carcinogen Classifications

By |October 26th, 2015|

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Today’s big news has been the story that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has classified processed meat (including bacon, ham, and salami) as a Group 1 carcinogen. This places it in the same group as smoking, which has led to a number of headlines claiming that it means the risk from the two is the same. It isn’t – and today’s post takes a close look at the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s classification system in order to explain why.


1208, 2015
  • The Chemistry of Swimming Pools

Chlorination & Pee in the Pool: The Chemistry of Swimming Pools

By |August 12th, 2015|

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Swimming pools are a brilliant way of cooling off during a hot summer. Of course, this isn’t a particularly original idea, and hundreds of people might use a particular pool every day. Chemistry is on hand to help prevent us from swimming in water that harbours potential water-borne infections. It can also help out with the cardinal sin of pool-peeing, though not without consequence. It does this, as you likely already know, through the chlorination of pool water – although it’s less simple than you might think! […]

608, 2015
  • Coke & Diet Coke – Fact & Fiction

Coke & Diet Coke: The Facts and the Fiction

By |August 6th, 2015|

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Over the past week, you may well have seen a couple of graphics purporting to explain the effect that drinking a can of Coke or Diet Coke has on your body. They’ve been picked up by a range of online news and media sites, and as a result circulated widely. Unfortunately, although some of the information contained in them is correct, a lot of it is sensationalised, hyperbolic, or just plain wrong. This graphic is an attempt to sort the fact from the fiction, and give a clearer picture of what’s going on when you drink a can of Coke.


1806, 2015
  • Chemistry of Stain Removers

The Chemistry of Stain Removal

By |June 18th, 2015|

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Stains on clothes can be a pain to shift – luckily chemistry is on hand to help out! A range of different molecules are present in stain removers and detergents to help shift grease and dirt, and they can work in different ways. This graphic takes a look at how we can categorise different types of stains, and how the molecules that help remove them work. […]

904, 2015
  • A Rough Guide to Types of Scientific Evidence

A Rough Guide to Types of Scientific Evidence

By |April 9th, 2015|

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Today’s graphic looks at science in general, rather than just chemistry. It’s in a similar vein to the Rough Guide to Spotting Bad Science posted last year, but this time looking at the hierarchy of different types of scientific evidence. You might think science is science, but some evidence is ranked higher in the scientific community than others, and having an awareness of this can help you sort the science from the pseudoscience when it comes to various internet claims.


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