About Compound Interest

Compound Interest is a site that aims to take a closer look at the chemical compounds we come across on a day-to-day basis, explaining them with easy-to-understand graphics. The site won the Association of British Science Writers’ Dr Katharine Giles Science blog award in 2018.

The site is run single-handedly by me, Andy Brunning. I’m a chemistry educator based in Cambridge, UK, and create the graphics for the site in my spare time.

Please note: none of the graphics on this site are intended for a specific chemistry syllabus, and it should not be assumed that they comprehensively cover any portion of required content for specific qualifications.

Compound Interest’s graphics have been featured on a range of sites, including The Guardian, Huffington Post, Forbes, Buzzfeed, IFLS, io9, NPR, Smithsonian, Vox, The Mail Online, and Business Insider. It also has a monthly feature in the American Chemical Society’s C&EN magazine, ‘Periodic Graphics’.

There’s a book based on some of the material on the site, focusing in particular on the chemical explanations for odd quirks or effects of food and drink, called “Why Does Asparagus Make Your Wee Smell?”.

If you want to share the site’s graphics elsewhere online, or use them for other purposes, there’s a guide to their acceptable use here.

You can subscribe to receive email notifications when there’s a new post on the site via the form lower down on this page, or you can follow the site on various social media sites via the icon links at the foot of the page.

You can! I run a Patreon page for the site, the funds from which will hopefully allow me to continue making improvements to the site and making it easier to use. Supporters there also get to see new posts before they’re up on social media.

If you’ve just got an idea for a graphic, but don’t want to commission it, feel free to get in touch through the contact form here. If you’re a researcher, institution, or publication and you’d like to commission a graphic, I have a specific commissioning service called ‘Chemunicate’. Click here to learn more.

The chemical structures in the site’s graphics are created using PerkinElmer’s ChemDraw Professional v15, which can be purchased here. A free trial is also available. Compound Interest is independent of and has no association with PerkinElmer or its affiliates.

To put the graphics themselves together, I use a combination of Adobe InDesign and Adobe Illustrator.

I’m often contacted about creating translations of the various graphics on the site. Due to having a full time job, I’m able to devote very little time to creating translations, and I am currently doing so only on a paid basis. Creating translations without my approval isn’t permitted under the ‘No Derivatives’ portion of the Creative Commons licence the graphics are shared under; please contact me if you are interested in commissioning a translation, and a fee can be discussed.

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I’ve removed the contact form from this page due to the volume of spam emails it generated. If you need to contact me, please do so via one of the site’s social media accounts in the first instance.