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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What Makes a Scent Soothing?

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?

Why Does Hydrogen Peroxide Come in a Brown Bottle?

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

The EPA Just Made It Easier to Use Asbestos

The Trump administration quietly changed the rules on asbestos use in the U.S. What does that mean?

Bloodstains at Crime Scene Can Tell Age of Victim or Suspect

Scientists have developed a blood test that can give an approximate age of a person within an hour.

Why Compressed Air Canisters Shouldn’t Be Shaken

It's a force of habit to shake spray canisters, but when it comes to canned air, that inclination could cause frostbite.

Watch: The Chemistry of Sparklers Explained in Slow-motion Video

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

What Makes This Video of Things Melting So Satisfying?

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

Common Pool Chemical Could Be Key to Building Triple-Helix DNA Nanomaterials

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

Skunk Water: A Weapon That Uses Stench to Control Crowds

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

How Nitrous Oxide Works

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.

What's a monomer?

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

What's a polymer?

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

Does alcohol freeze?

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.

10 Things You Should Never Mix With Alcohol

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.

Is krokodil really a flesh-eating zombie drug?

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."

How Bath Salts Work

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?

10 Performance-enhancing Drugs That Aren't Steroids

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.

Are compounding pharmacies regulated?

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.

What's a compounding pharmacy?

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?

What is Avogadro’s number?

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?

How Snus Works

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.

How Mass Spectrometry Works

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?

How Human Experimentation Works

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?

How Perfume Works

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?

How Magic Mushrooms Work

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?


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