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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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Formaldehyde Is Everywhere, But Is It Dangerous?

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?

What's the Difference Between Covalent and Ionic Bonds?

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

Peyote Is Endangered, Spiritually Sacred and Becoming Legal

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?

What Are Isotopes?

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

Elemental Haiku: A Poetic Take on the Periodic Table

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.

Is Borax Harmful or Helpful?

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?

Does Alcohol Freeze?

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.

Quiz: The Periodic Table Turns 150

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?

How a New Blue Pigment Became a Crayon

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

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.

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?

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