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Chemistry in the News

What is ammonium nitrate and what happens when it explodes?

Today’s news has been dominated by the terrible explosion in Beirut, Lebanon. The blame for the explosion has been directed at 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate that was being stored in a warehouse in Beirut’s port. What is ammonium nitrate, why can it explode, and what happens when it does? This graphic takes a look.

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C&EN Coronavirus Medicinal Chemistry

A guide to COVID-19 testing – in C&EN

We’re several months into the COVID-19 pandemic, and testing is vital to preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus. The latest edition of Periodic Graphics in Chemical and Engineering News looks at how current diagnostics work and what they tell us. Click to view the full graphic on the C&EN site.

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Chemical Warfare Chemistry in the News

Tear gas: Chemistry, dispersal methods, and effects

The US government have been busy this week denying that pepper spray is a chemical (spoiler, it is a chemical). They’ve also been at pains to point out that it’s not the same as tear gas, which is at least technically correct. I’ve had a lot of requests over the past week for a graphic […]

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Chemistry in the News Coronavirus Medicinal Chemistry

Antibody tests, part 2: How do antibody tests work?

Last week, we looked at what coronavirus antibody tests can and can’t tell us. In part 2 of this series of graphics on antibody testing, we look at how the tests work to arrive at their results. As we’ll see, there’s not only one type of antibody test and they can vary in accuracy and […]

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Chemistry in the News Coronavirus Medicinal Chemistry

Antibody tests, part 1: What can antibody tests tell us?

Have you already had COVID-19? Even if you’ve had symptoms consistent with it, you may not know for certain if you didn’t have a test at the time. But newly approved antibody tests may be able to tell you if you had the infection. What exactly can these tests tell us? Part one of this […]

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Biology Coronavirus Medicinal Chemistry

How does immunity work? In C&EN

When you recover from an infection, what stops you from catching it again? The latest edition of Periodic Graphics in C&EN looks at how our immune system responds to infections like coronavirus, how we can test to see if someone’s had an infection, and how vaccines work to prevent them. View the full graphic on […]