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What is a molecule?

28 January 2016 The Crucible

Despite being a standard scientific concept, it’s virtually impossible to agree a satisfactory definition, says Philip Ball

Chemical reaction flipped back and forth under scanning probe microscope

25 January 2016 Research

Work demonstrated on Bergman cyclisation offers route to valuable new reactions

The periodic table name game

5 January 2016 The Crucible

Proposed new rules on how elements are named save confusion but sacrifice romance, argues Philip Ball

Freezing oil droplets put on a show

23 December 2015 Research

Drops of hexadecane adopt geometric shapes more appropriate to crystals

Why we need more research risks

22 December 2015 The Crucible

Scientists are playing it too safe when choosing topics for investigation, warns Philip Ball

MEL Chemistry sets

9 December 2015 Review

A new take on chemistry at home

Weapons of mass discussion

30 November 2015 The Crucible

A chemistry opera gives reason to face up to the role of scientists in war, says Philip Ball

Speaking of chemistry

28 October 2015 The Crucible

Richard Feynman’s mischievous genius shone discussing chemistry, says Philip Ball

Nanotube desalination could be put back on track

20 October 2015 Research

Simulations reveal what may have been holding up this promising technology

Drawn out proteins make self-healing scaffolds

1 October 2015 Research

Self-assembling protein tubes can be shaped into a flexible, branching network that can support growing cells  

Navigating chemical space

29 September 2015 Feature

Fully exploring the ocean of possible compounds – even computationally – is impossible, finds Philip Ball

Uncle Tungsten’s nephew

8 September 2015 The Crucible

Philip Ball pays tribute to Oliver Sacks

A shared secret?

26 August 2015 The Crucible

Do chemistry and alchemy have a common ancestor, or are they separated by science, asks Philip Ball

Weaving is believing

23 July 2015 The Crucible

Philip Ball unpicks the history of science’s woollen wardrobe

First snapshot of elusive intermediate supplies surprise

13 July 2015 Research

Atomic force microscopy images reveal aryne possesses three consecutive carbon–carbon double bonds, rather than a single triple bond

Simple reaction shows quantum interference

1 July 2015 Research

Chemical reactions can show interference patterns similar to those seen in the classic double-slit experiment

Ultra-bright x-rays film molecular reaction

23 June 2015 Research

'Molecular movie' provides new insight into classic ring-opening reaction

A coat of many colours

22 June 2015 The Crucible

Just how did lab couture settle on that little white number, asks Philip Ball

How do we solve a problem like Marie?

21 May 2015 The Crucible

Women in science’s history deserve better treatment than myths and martyrdom, says Philip Ball

All set for chemistry

15 May 2015 Feature

Chemistry sets through the years have both weathered and reflected many changes in science and society, as Philip Ball discovers

Oh, the humanities!

20 April 2015 The Crucible

Science and the arts are equally essential to society, says Philip Ball. Don’t divide them by their differences

Simple chemistry mimics animals' predator spotting method

23 March 2015 Research

Filter paper soaked in chemicals can perform complex edge detection computation

Dial chem for murder

6 March 2015 The Crucible

Poisons may seem to be a murderer’s perfect accomplice, but chemists can always persuade them to betray their secrets, says Philip Ball

Alchemy on the page

5 March 2015 Feature

Books used by alchemists offer insights into the relationship between these early chemists and their texts. Philip Ball investigates

Program ready to weed out tough drug leads

4 March 2015 Research

Model could help drug firms avoid synthetically complex dead ends and speed drug discovery