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 […]
This year’s second Nobel Prize in the sciences was awarded today. The prize for physics was awarded to researchers who contributed to the observation of gravitational waves, ripples in space-time that were originally created by colliding black holes over a billion years ago.
It’s one of the most popular science demonstrations: Pop a handful of Mentos candies into a bottle of Coke, and a fountain of bubbles rapidly spurts from the open bottle, often over a metre into the air. Originally the explanation for the effect was thought to be quite simple. However, scientists are finding that there’s more […]
Today, 30 August, marks the birthday of Ernest Rutherford. Rutherford is primarily considered a physicist, but his contribution to our understanding of the atom is also important to chemistry. He was also a chemistry Nobel Prize winner, for his work on radioactivity. This graphic looks in detail at one of his most famous experiments, the […]
Early in the morning on 26 April 1986, a safety system test at the Chernobyl power plant in Pripyat, now part of Northern Ukraine, ended in a nuclear disaster with catastrophic consequences for both those working at the plant and those living in the surrounding area. The narrative seems to be a classic cautionary tale […]
If you take even the slightest interest in chemistry news, you’ll probably already have heard about the official confirmation of the discovery of four new elements, which even achieved widespread coverage in mainstream news outlets. IUPAC (the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry) sneaked out the news just before New Year’s Eve without much prior […]