Chemistry

Chemistry is the science of matter and the changes it undergoes during chemical reactions. In this section, learn about everyday chemistry, from chlorine beach to helium, and even why chocolate turns gray.


There's some serious science behind the sparkle, with different metals, compounds and other elements creating the fun firework.

YouTube channel Let's Melt This has become an internet sensation. Why are we so mesmerized by videos of everyday objects undergoing phase change?

A molecule used to protect the chlorine in swimming pools from sunlight could be key to building new kind of DNA structures

Developed in Israel, this foul-smelling liquid has been used on Palestinian and Israeli protesters … and it's showing up in the United States.

At the same time scientists discovered that nitrous oxide could numb agonizing pain, they also found it could make you really lightheaded and silly. Yes, huffing parties started in the 1700s.

These small molecules are the foundation for much bigger things, from ordinary household products around us to essential components within our bodies.

Polymers are the basic components in so many of the products we use each day.

If you've ever had a half-frozen beer explode on you, you know that yes, alcohol freezes -- but not all in the same way. We'll let you in on the secrets to frozen alcoholic delights.

Juice and soda mix well with alcohol, but a few things don't mix so well. Some may just produce embarrassing moments. Others could cost you your life.

Imagine taking a substance that turns your skin green and scaly, then rots your flesh. It's not sci-fi. It's the reality of injecting krokodil, also known as the "flesh-eating zombie drug."

For a time, this designer drug was legal and available. And then ERs across the U.S. recorded 23,000 visits associated with bath salts in 2011, and the U.S. banned them and other synthetic drugs in 2012. What's the scoop on this relative newcomer?

Lance Armstrong, Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire: The list of superstar athletes accused of -- or admitting to -- taking performance-enhancing drugs is almost as impressive as the number of sports that they compete in. And we're not just talking about steroids anymore.

Compounding pharmacies don't usually get a lot of media coverage for good news. It's the mistakes that tend to make the evening news. It turns out that U.S. regulatory practices for compounding pharmacies tend to follow much the same pattern.

If a drugstore is the equivalent of a 7-Eleven where you can pick up ready-made apple pie pockets, then a compounding pharmacy is your corner bakery where an individual tart is made just for you. But are these specialized pharmacies safe?

That's one seriously big number, and technically Amedeo Avogadro didn't even come up with it. So how did the Italian chemist make such an indelible (numerical) mark on the wonderful world of chemistry?

First there was Volvo. Then came IKEA. Well get ready for the next major Swedish export: snus, a smokeless tobacco product, similar to dip or chew.

Mass spectrometry enables the major league to sniff out athletes guilty of doping. It can also help us locate oil or design a killer perfume. Who says chemistry isn't cool?

Everyone from the father of anatomy to modern-day pharmaceutical companies has used humans as guinea pigs. Do we always need live test subjects to advance science?

We once emptied the scent pods of male musk deer into a bottle of fragrance and doused it on, feeling like a million bucks. How has perfume changed since then?

Mushrooms -- they're not just a pizza topping. This psychotropic fungus has guided many an adventurer on a trip. How do shrooms make their magic?

We love it. We wear it glittering around our necks and sparkling at our ears, wrists and feet. We pass it down to our children and hoard it in secret stashes. Why is this precious metal so prized?

It begins with an unassuming "H" and ends in crazy elements that you've likely never heard of. But the periodic table, encapsulated on a mere sheet of paper, can be a scientist's best friend and a testament to our human drive to organize the world.

As far as stimulating the human central nervous system, meth can hold its shaky, toothless head high. What about this drug makes its sleepless, twitchy, paranoid users so insatiable?

Can you pass the acid test? That electric Kool-Aid changed the fabric of 1960's American counterculture. So what's it's like to trip on LSD?

Lead is one of the most maligned metals on the periodic table and for good reason. Lead poisoning is serious. But the beleaguered element isn't all bad, especially when it's protecting you from radiation.