Rosalind Franklin was born on this day in 1920. Her contributions to the discovery of the structure of DNA were key; she took photos of DNA’s structure using X-ray crystallography, and it was these photos which informed the work of Watson and Crick’s model of DNA’s structure. Sadly her contributions were not fully recognised until […]
Roses are the flower most closely associated with Valentine’s Day – and we’ve got chemistry to thank for both their colour and aroma! In this post we take a closer look at the chemical compounds involved.
The vibrancy of foxgloves belies their poisonous nature – ingesting even a small amount of the plant can cause unpleasant effects, and in some cases death. However, the same compounds that make it poisonous can also have medicinal uses. This graphic takes a look at them in detail.
In late May and early June, the winding pathways of the English countryside are festooned with the delicate white blooms of the elderflower. As the end of the summer eventually arrives, these blooms will have been transformed, and the bushes will be heaving under the weight of clusters of hundreds of small, purple-black berries. In this post, […]
The Chemistry of Wild Garlic
Spring is in the air, and it’s likely that, in your local forest, so too is the distinctive scent of wild garlic. Also known as ‘ramsons’ or ‘bear’s garlic’, green carpets of wild garlic swell in the forest’s undergrowth at this time of year. Here we take a look at their chemistry, and why, if […]
Blackcurrants and cat urine. Two things you probably wouldn’t expect to have a whole lot in common, if anything. However, to some, blackcurrants and blackcurrant bushes can have a distinct smell of cat urine, and the chemistry behind this strange phenomenon reveals an unexpected link between our unlikely combination of protagonists.