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.

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Scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory just made history with einsteinium. They held a sample of the short-lived element long enough to measure some of its chemical properties.

By Dave Roos

More than fodder for melt-in-your-hand YouTube videos, gallium is a key component in LED lights and the powerful microchips in your smartphone.

By Dave Roos

Although the term might be unfamiliar, you know all about alkali metals. Ever used salt or eaten a banana? So, what special properties do these elements have?

By Trevor English

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You might wonder what phosphates do, but they are so intrinsic to our daily lives that the question really is: What don't phosphates do?

By Jesslyn Shields

Tungsten's hardness and heat resistance make it a must for products like rocket engine nozzles, armor-piercing bullets and even the humble light bulb filament. In fact, pure tungsten boils at 10,030 F, the same as the photosphere of the sun.

By Dave Roos

Terpenes are the aromatic organic compounds found in nature that give us many of our favorite fragrances. They are also known to have surprising health benefits.

By Jesslyn Shields

Don't know your fool's gold from the real deal? We'll tell you how to tell what's pyrite (aka fool's gold) and the good ol' 24 karat stuff you want.

By Mark Mancini

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There's some serious chemistry behind the flavor in your favorite brew and esters are the compounds responsible for it.

By Jesslyn Shields

The two different types of alcohol are commonly used in hand sanitizer today. But does one work better than the other?

By Kristen Hall-Geisler

Electrons are attracted to some atoms more than others. If two atoms are of equal strength, the electrons will be equally shared. If one atom is stronger, the electrons will be pulled in that atom's direction.

By Jesslyn Shields

Diatomic elements are molecules composed of only two atoms, every time, always. There are only seven of them on the entire periodic table.

By Kristen Hall-Geisler

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Denatured alcohol is useful for lots of things, but drinking definitely isn't one of them.

By Jesslyn Shields

Bismuth is a naturally occurring element with many applications in our daily lives, but even more than that, it looks amazing when it cools!

By Jesslyn Shields

It's an odorless gas that's present in a variety of home products, cosmetics, car exhaust and even humans. But is it bad for us?

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

Making chemical compounds is a lot like dating. Some ions are naturally compatible; others hook up out of desperation.

By Jesslyn Shields

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Long-banned in the U.S., except for religious purposes, peyote is starting to be decriminalized in some cities. But is that a good thing for this endangered plant?

By Nathan Chandler

You don't need to be a fan of chemistry to appreciate isotopes. They affect geology and medicine, too.

By Mark Mancini

Award-winning poet and fiction writer Mary Soon Lee has found a charming way to combine science and poetry in a refreshing new take on the periodic table of elements.

By Carrie Tatro

Borax, a popular addition to laundry detergents and slime recipes, is a natural ingredient that has been getting flack for possibly being harmful to children. But is this true?

By Alia Hoyt

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

By Alison Cooper

It’s the ultimate cheat sheet for science class — and it’s right there hanging on the wall. What do you really know about the indispensable periodic table of elements?

By Nathan Chandler

The story of how the first new blue pigment in 200 years was discovered and took its place in the crayon box.

By Loraine Fick

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Why do most of us start relaxing as soon as we smell lavender or vanilla? Is it the memories they conjure up or is there a chemical reason?

By Dave Roos

You probably have a bottle of the stuff at your house. Have you ever seen it come in any color bottle besides brown?

By John Perritano