Category Archives: Chemistry

Exotic atom struggles to find its place in the periodic table

Measurements of an artificial radioactive element called lawrencium could revive an arcane controversy over the element’s position in the periodic table — and the structure of the table itself. An international team of physicists and chemists reports in Nature1 that … Continue reading

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Unlikely hydrogen bond discovered

As with magnets and alternating current, positively charged molecules never aim for one another. Indeed, similarly charged poles are repelled. Nevertheless, a team from the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Chemistry has managed to become the first to bond positively … Continue reading

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Meet the rarest natural element on Earth

Named after the Greek word for unstable (astatos), Astatine is a naturally occurring semi-metal that results from the decay of uranium and thorium. In its most stable form – astatine-210 – it’s got a half-life of just 8.1 hours, which … Continue reading

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Flesh-Eating Hydrofluoric Acid

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New type of chemical bond discovered

Move over, covalent and ionic bonds, there’s a new chemical bond in town, and it loves to shake things up. It’s taken decades to nail down, but researchers in Canada have finally identified a new chemical bond, which they’re calling … Continue reading

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Arise Sir Martyn

Our very own Professor Poliakoff has become Sir Martyn… He received a knighthood in the UK’s New Year’s Honours List. This video also features a “recent knight” – University of Nottingham Vice-Chancellor, Sir David Greenaway.

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Figuring out how we get the nitrogen we need

Nitrogen is an essential component of all living systems, playing important roles in everything from proteins and nucleic acids to vitamins. It is the most abundant element in Earth’s atmosphere and is literally all around us, but in its gaseous … Continue reading

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Quantum gas goes below absolute zero

Thanks to Phil Krause for suggesting this article. It may sound less likely than hell freezing over, but physicists have created an atomic gas with a sub-absolute-zero temperature for the first time1. Their technique opens the door to generating negative-Kelvin … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday Jöns Jacob Berzelius


It’s the birthday of Jöns Jacob Berzelius, who was born yesterday in 1779 in Väversunda, Sweden. Berzelius studied medicine at Uppsala University but he increasingly devoted himself to chemistry. His careful tabulation of relative atomic weights led him to propose … Continue reading

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Johann Joachim Becher

Phlogiston,  in early chemical theory, hypothetical principle of fire, of which every combustible substance was in part composed. In this view, the phenomena of burning, now called oxidation, was caused by the liberation of phlogiston, with the dephlogisticated substance left … Continue reading

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Periodic Table Clock

For periodic table enthusiasts like Prof. Martyn Poliakoff  this clock is pretty amazing!

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Boron ‘buckyball’ discovered

The discovery 30 years ago of soccer-ball-shaped carbon molecules called buckyballs helped to spur an explosion of nanotechnology research. Now, there appears to be a new ball on the pitch. Researchers from Brown University, Shanxi University and Tsinghua University in … Continue reading

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alfy 1

With the 100th anniversary of the First World War being marked later this year, Alan Mason sends us this interesting post about the war but particularly Henry Moseley, a now somewhat forgotten physicist. – Deskarati During the nineteenth century, wars … Continue reading

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The Triple Point

This video shows a liquid both boiling and freezing at the same time! Due to a drop in pressure, the mixture decreases in temperature. But the pressure drop also lowers the boiling point so the liquid both freezes and boils at the … Continue reading

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A new element has been confirmed

Australian scientists have helped to create a brand spanking new element that will soon be added to the periodic table. The super-heavy element 117 (for now, it’s also temporarily being named ununseptium) was created in a lab by a team … Continue reading

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Unique Mineral Discovered In Australia

Screen Shot

A previously unknown mineral has been discovered in a remote location in Western Australia. The mineral, named putnisite, appears purple and translucent, and contains strontium, calcium, chromium, sulphur, carbon, oxygen and hydrogen, a very unusual combination. While dozens of new minerals … Continue reading

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Chemists achieve molecular first

Chemists from Trinity College Dublin have achieved a long-pursued molecular first by interlocking three molecules through a single point. Developing interlocked molecules is one of the greatest challenges facing researchers, and the Trinity chemists’ achievement represents the first time three … Continue reading

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Wade’s Rules

Kenneth Wade recently passed away. Here Martyn Poliakoff and Debbie Kays discuss his time as a student in Nottingham and his famous (in some chemistry circles) Wade’s Rules.

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Watch Water Boil And Freeze At The Same Time

Thanks to Tom Robb for suggesting this post. We think of freezing and boiling as opposites, things that happen at very different temperatures. However, under conditions of low air pressure the two can occur together, as we see in this … Continue reading

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Scientists with Elements Named After Them

Element Scientsts
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