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Chemistry in its element

A weekly tour of the periodic table, from Chemistry World, the magazine of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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A weekly tour of the periodic table, from Chemistry World, the magazine of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Rank #1: Phosphoric Acid: Chemistry in its element

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Lars Öhrström on phosphoric acid: Crucial for crops and DNA's backbone, it's the energy currency of the biological world

Jun 19 2013

6mins

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Rank #2: Oxytocin: Chemistry in its element

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Josh Howgego prepares to socialise - and tells us why 'cuddle chemicals' are too good to be true

Jan 23 2013

7mins

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Rank #3: Resveratrol: Chemistry in its element

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Can a compound in red wine protect against heart attack and cancer? Phillip Broadwith investigates resveratrol

Jun 26 2013

6mins

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Rank #4: Gallium arsenide: Chemistry in its element

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Brian Clegg introduces gallium arsenide – the supercar of the semiconductor scene

Nov 01 2019

6mins

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Rank #5: Solvated electrons: Chemistry in its element

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Blue flashes and metallic water are just some of the tricks the smallest possible anion has up its sleeve

Feb 02 2017

8mins

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Rank #6: Benzoyl peroxide: Chemistry in its element

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The whitest smile, the blondest blonde, the clearest complexion – all from one essential compound. Fernando Gomollón-Bel introduces benzoyl peroxide

Nov 16 2016

3mins

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Rank #7: Magnesium sulfate: Chemistry in its element

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Brian Clegg explains how bath salts may actually be more than just relaxing

Apr 10 2013

6mins

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Rank #8: Adamantane: Chemistry in its element

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Brian Clegg introduces a crystalline hydrocarbon that isn't as tough as it sounds, but is the basis of a wide range of medicines

Jan 26 2017

6mins

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Rank #9: Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP): Chemistry in its element

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Kat Arney explains how a protein that repairs broken DNA holds the key to killing cancer cells – but only if you stop it from doing its job

Nov 02 2016

6mins

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Rank #10: Neodymium chloride: Chemistry in its element

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From medicine to the military, this compound makes lasers for a range of applications. Brian Clegg discovers neodymium chloride

Oct 26 2016

5mins

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Rank #11: Orlistat: Chemistry in its element

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With thoughts turning to our festively-expanded waistlines, Kit Chapman looks at a poster child in the battle against obesity

Jan 04 2017

4mins

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Rank #12: Cannabidiol: Chemistry in its element

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Ben Valsler with the story of Charlotte Figi, Dravet syndrome and the cannabis compound controlling her condition.

Jul 13 2018

6mins

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Rank #13: Diborane: Chemistry in its element

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This week, Neil Withers examines a compound with the 'wrong' number of bonds: Diborane

Dec 14 2016

4mins

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Rank #14: Melanin: Chemistry in its element

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Kat Arney investigates the biological pigment that links sun tanning, squid ink and browning bananas

Feb 21 2018

6mins

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Rank #15: Nitrogen dioxide: Chemistry in its element

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Simon Cotton looks at the rocket propellant that causes environmental problems

Mar 21 2013

7mins

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Rank #16: Arsenic trioxide: Chemistry in its element

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Kit Chapman explains how a 'daft' pharmacy mix up led to a series of poisonings in Victorian Britain

Feb 22 2017

5mins

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Rank #17: Denatonium benzoate: Chemistry in its element

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Brian Clegg has a sniff at the bitterest substance known to science

Apr 18 2013

7mins

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Rank #18: Swainsonine: Chemistry in its element

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Katrina Krämer investigates the sad case of Christopher McCandless, who some believe consumed the poison swainsonine in the Alaskan wilderness

Nov 30 2016

6mins

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Rank #19: Fentanyl: Chemistry in its element

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A 1960s breakthrough in pain relief that now fuels the opioid crisis

Jul 27 2018

6mins

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Rank #20: Acetylcysteine: Chemistry in its element

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Acetylcysteine is a versatile drug, helping manage lung conditions and treat paracetamol overdose. But, as Ben Valsler discovers, it has found itself at the centre of a cycling controversy

Apr 12 2018

5mins

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Cinnamaldehyde: Chemistry in its element

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How did a tree bark from Sri Lanka become one of the essential flavours of the festive season? We explore the history of cinnamon and the compound that gives it its distinctive taste and aroma  

Dec 21 2020

7mins

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Azidoazide azide: Chemistry in its element

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A compound so explosively unstable that nobody has been able to measure how sensitive it is without it, well, exploding.

Dec 11 2020

5mins

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Ochre: Chemistry in its element

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How one of mankind's oldest pigments helped shepherds secure their sheep and inspired one of the most popular songs of the twentieth century

Dec 04 2020

7mins

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Maltodextrin: Chemistry in its element

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A sweet compound that provides ample energy for extreme endurance events – find out how maltodextrin helped Anna Ploszajski swim the English channel

Nov 27 2020

7mins

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Ionic liquids: Chemistry in its element

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Liquid salts, ionic melts, fused salts, or ionic glasses – call them what you like, these much-hyped solvents show great promise. Katrina Krämer speaks to chemical engineer Jason Bara about ionic liquids.

Nov 20 2020

11mins

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Chlorhexidine: Chemistry in its element

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An antimicrobial compound that kills bacteria and viruses quickly – found in some of the most colourful antiseptic solutions 

Nov 13 2020

8mins

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Asparagusic acid: Chemistry in its element

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Does asparagus give you foul-smelling urine? Helen Arney investigates asparagusic acid, and the lavatorial genetic lottery that controls whether or not you can smell its distinctive aroma

Nov 05 2020

7mins

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Glycyrrhizic acid: Chemistry in its element

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A sweet treat with a deadly trick for Halloween – glycyrrhizic acid, or glycyrrhizin, is found in black liquorice and sweeter than sucrose, but can cause heart problems and even prove fatal if consumed in excess

Oct 30 2020

6mins

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Propofol: Chemistry in its element

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Also known as 'milk of amnesia', propofol helps to prevent perception of pain in surgery – just don't forget its dangerous side

Oct 23 2020

6mins

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Sofosbuvir: Chemistry in its element

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Hepatitis C drug sofosbuvir made waves when first launched – quicker to work and with fewer side effects than existing drugs, but it came with a hefty price tag

Oct 16 2020

6mins

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Bedaquiline: Chemistry in its element

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Meera Senthilingam makes a welcome return to the podcast with a drug that gives hope to the many sufferers of drug-resistant TB – still one of the world's biggest killers

Oct 09 2020

9mins

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Oxybenzone: Chemistry in its element

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This summer's extreme weather prompts Katrina Krämer to investigate the history of sunblock and the ingredient blamed by some for bleaching coral reefs

Oct 02 2020

12mins

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Gypsum: Chemistry in its element

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From Lavoisier’s experiments with plaster of paris to the the ‘Sistine Chapel of crystals’ in Mexico, Mike Freemantle explores the history of gypsum

Aug 07 2020

8mins

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Favipiravir: Chemistry in its element

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Originally developed to treat flu and marketed in Japan as Avigan, promising Covid-19 trial results have seen countries stockpiling this medication by the millions

Aug 02 2020

7mins

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Tannic acid: Chemistry in its element

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Tannic acid in green acorns can kill wild animals and livestock, but in this podcast Mike Freemantle makes plain that you can prevent poisoning with pannage pigs.

Jul 24 2020

8mins

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Ractopamine: Chemistry in its element

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Common in the US but banned in the EU, this animal feed additive makes for muscular pigs and beefy international trade disputes. 

Jul 17 2020

7mins

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Hexasilabenzene: Chemistry in its element

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Brian Clegg discovers what a six-membered silicon ring can tell us about alien life

Jul 10 2020

6mins

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2AP (2-acetyl-1-pyrroline): Chemistry in its element

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Frances Addison on the aromatic compound found in both buttered popcorn and the bearcat’s scent glands, and responsible for the distinctive smell of both

Jul 03 2020

5mins

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Dexamethasone: Chemistry in its element

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News that this cheap, ubiquitous steroid drug may reduce deaths in Covid-19 cases has been greeted with cautious optimism. Ben Valsler looks at the history of dexamethasone and the promising Recovery trial results.

Jun 26 2020

6mins

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Porcelain: Chemistry in its element

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Mike Freemantle on the art, history and science of this delicate, translucent ceramic material

Jun 19 2020

6mins

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iTunes Ratings

125 Ratings
Average Ratings
111
8
3
1
2

Theme song woes.

By travieB33 - Feb 28 2020
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Podcast is great. New theme song is terrible. Bring back the original, please.

Content so good, 2020 intro so bad

By dorsetpeakjerseys - Feb 01 2020
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For the love of god, please bring back the old-time fiddle intro.