1802, 2019

Do air pollution masks work? – in C&EN

February 18th, 2019|

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Air pollution is a growing concern in cities around the world, and seeing people on the streets wearing masks to block air pollution is increasingly common. What exactly are these masks intended to block – and more importantly, do they actually work? This month’s graphic in C&EN has the answers.


3107, 2018
  • The science of thunderstorms

The science of thunderstorms – thunder, lightning, and chemical reactions

July 31st, 2018|

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Here in the UK, a completely un-British heatwave finally came to a thundery end last weekend. Having already looked at the chemistry behind the smell of rain, here’s a look at some of the science behind thunderstorms. How does lightning happen, what gives it its blue-violet tinge, and what does it have to do with plant growth?


1602, 2018
  • 02-16 – The Kyoto Protocol

Today in chemistry history: The Kyoto protocol

February 16th, 2018|

On this day back in 2005, the world’s first legally-binding climate change agreement came into force. The Kyoto protocol, to which 192 countries are a party, aimed to reduce emissions of six greenhouse gases by 5.2% by 2012, relative to 1990. This graphic gives a brief overview of the agreement and the outcome of its first period.


1901, 2018
  • Susan Solomon

Today in Chemistry History: Susan Solomon, ozone depletion, and CFCs

January 19th, 2018|

Susan Solomon’s work led to confirmation that chlorine-containing compounds can deplete ozone. In particular, she explained why this depletion was focused over the poles. This graphic looks at how ozone depletion happens. Below, we’ll look in more detail at Solomon’s contributions.


2208, 2017
  • C&EN - The Chemistry of Air Conditioning Preview

The chemistry of air conditioning – in C&EN

August 22nd, 2017|

Click to view full graphic on the C&EN site

In the heat of summer air conditioning units can help you beat the heat. This month’s edition of Periodic Graphics in C&EN looks at how air conditioning systems work and the changing compounds that help them cool you down! Click through the the C&EN site to view the full graphic.


1508, 2017
  • Ice Cores and Atmospheric History

The science of ice cores: Atmospheric time machines

August 15th, 2017|

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We know what global temperatures are like now, from direct measurement around the globe. And we know quite a lot about what temperatures were like over the past few hundred years thanks to written records. But what about further back than that? How do we know what temperatures were like a thousand years ago, or even hundreds of thousands of years ago? There is, of course, no written record that far back in history – but there is a chemical record, hidden in the ice of Antartica and Greenland.