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Orbitals

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Orbitals

The American Chemical Society

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From antibiotic resistance to Roaring Twenties poisonings to body farms, you can find chemistry—and a good story—anywhere. Every month writer and host, Sam Jones, PhD, takes on a chemistry tale you didn't know you needed to know.
 
Chemical & Engineering News Webinars are thought provoking hour long presentations that support C&EN's mission to provide news and analysis of the chemistry enterprise in a timely, accurate, and balanced fashion. The webinars cover new developments in technology in the chemical, pharmaceutical, life science, and instrumentation industries.
 
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Reactions

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Reactions

American Chemical Society

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After several years and millions of views, the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society, is bidding farewell to its popular YouTube series Bytesize Science. But you can’t keep a great chemistry video series down for long. We’re proud to announce Reactions, a new weekly video series about the chemistry all around us. For more Reactions videos, please check out our Youtube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/user/ACSReactions/featured
 
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Prized Science

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Prized Science

American Chemical Society

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The American Chemical Society (ACS) gives more than 60 national awards to honor accomplishments in chemistry and service to chemistry. Prized Science strives to give people who may have no special scientific knowledge, the opportunity to watch, listen, and discover how the chemistry behind ACS’ awards transforms life for the better.
 
It’s 1945. Hitler is defeated. America is looking to outsmart a new enemy, the Soviet Union. To advance in rocketry, aviation, and chemical weapons, America recruits scientists and engineers who fueled the war machine of another nation...Nazi Germany. Inspired by the true story behind the Emmy-eligible drama series "Hunters" from Amazon Studios, starring Al Pacino and Logan Lerman, PAPERCLIP explores how Operation Paperclip – the recruitment of Nazi Germany’s most brilliant and, in many case ...
 
Taking inspiration from trees, scientists have developed a battery made from a sliver of wood coated with tin that shows promise for becoming a tiny, long-lasting, efficient and environmentally friendly energy source. Their report on the device — 1,000 times thinner than a sheet of paper — appears in the journal Nano Letters.
 
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When you hear the word “molasses” you probably imagine super slow-moving, brown-colored sweet stuff that you add to a cookie recipe. And that is what molasses usually looks like, but under certain conditions and in large enough quantities, molasses can be dangerous. Just over a century ago, the North End of Boston learned just *how* dangerous. Feat…
 
The 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to Benjamin List and David W. C. MacMillan for their development of asymmetric organocatalysis, which has proved to be a powerful tool for building molecules. In this special episode of Stereo Chemistry, host Kerri Jansen, C&EN reporter Leigh Krietsch Boerner, and C&EN editorial fellow Emily Harwitz delve into…
 
5G is coming… but can your phone handle it? Surprisingly, a lot of that comes down to the chemistry inside! Let’s crack open your phone to figure out how chemistry is making it smaller, faster, and a little more sticky! Solutions is made with funding and featuring scientists from 3M, Ascend Performance Materials, Baker Hughes, BASF, Dow, DuPont, Pr…
 
This month, Stereo Chemistry is sharing an episode of Third Pod from the Sun, a podcast from the American Geophysical Union, featuring an interview with retired astronaut and former professional athlete Leland Melvin. In the episode, Melvin describes how an early⁠—and explosive⁠—interest in chemistry grew into a scientific career at NASA and two mi…
 
Sweat is this thing that many of us seem to loathe, but also pay a lot of money to do while being yelled at by professionals. So what is sweat? And why do we do it? And why are we often so embarrassed by it? This episode features writer Sarah Everts, who recently wrote a book called The Joy of Sweat: The Strange Science of Perspiration.…
 
A team of researchers making workout gear that never stinks realized that their invention could actually have a bigger impact fighting a global pandemic. It all starts with a high-performance fabric found in your closet and a common mineral in your breakfast cereal. Solutions is made with funding and featuring scientists from 3M, Ascend Performance…
 
This month, Stereo Chemistry is sharing an episode of Orbitals that features an interview with forensic chemist Shari Forbes, an expert in human decomposition who studies the odors of decomposition at a body farm in chilly Quebec. Research at body farms—research facilities dedicated to studying what happens to human bodies after death—supplies law …
 
In 2020, researchers discovered that more than 1,000 tons of plastic—that’s over 100 million plastic water bottles worth—rains down on National Parks and wilderness in the western U.S. every year. How is that possible? This week's episode features microplastics researcher Imari Walker. Check out her YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/cha…
 
Many of us slather sunscreen on in the summer to keep sunburns at bay. But new materials can improve sunscreens without adding more of the sticky, greasy compounds we all hate. The surprising origin of those new ingredients? Wood! Solutions is made with funding and featuring scientists from 3M, Ascend Performance Materials, Baker Hughes, BASF, Dow,…
 
(Part 2/2) This month, Stereo Chemistry is sharing a pair of episodes from Distillations, a podcast from the Science History Institute. We rely on rare-earth elements to make many essential technologies like smartphones, medical imaging devices, and wind turbines. But how much do you know about where these extraordinary materials come from? In this…
 
(Part 1/2) This month, Stereo Chemistry is sharing a pair of episodes from Distillations, a podcast from the Science History Institute. We rely on rare-earth elements to make many essential technologies like smartphones, medical imaging devices, and wind turbines. But how much do you know about where these extraordinary materials come from? In this…
 
Sam Kean's latest book, The Icepick Surgeon: Murder, Fraud, Sabotage, Piracy, and Other Dastardly Deeds Perpetrated in the Name of Science, dropped earlier this week. It’s about when knowledge becomes everything—the only thing. At whatever the cost. You'll hear about what made Sam want to write the book, and about a couple of the characters within …
 
This month, we’re sharing an episode of the podcast My Fave Queer Chemist. Hosted by graduate students Bec Roldan and Geraldo Duran-Camacho, the show celebrates the excellence of LGBTQ+ chemists everywhere. Stereo Chemistry is excited to share this recent episode featuring inorganic photochemist Irving Rettig. In the episode, Rettig discusses his b…
 
How do you keep moths from munching on apples? By confusing them with a field full of mating pheromones brewed in a lab. The same fermentation strategy can also make enzymes to help chickens digest their feed and keep their farmyards a little less… sticky. Today we’ll talk about the biochemistry that helps food make it from the field to your fridge…
 
A lot has happened in the last year (understatement of the millennium), so we wanted to bring our listeners something a bit sillier than usual. In this episode we’re talking food and drink chemistry—just fun bits of trivia that you can take with you as you venture back out to bars and restaurants this summer. Sam's joined by Orbitals executive prod…
 
Vaccines help our immune system to learn to recognize invading pathogens before we ever get infected. But some vaccines include molecules that act like an extra alarm system, alerting our immune cells to pay attention! These molecules are called adjuvants, and scientists are working on creating new ones that could help create vaccines against pande…
 
More than 50 years of missions to Mars paint a clear picture of a cold, dry, desert planet. And at the same time, photographs, minerals, and other data tell scientists that Mars once had as much water as Earth, or even more. Why are the two planets so different today? In this episode of Stereo Chemistry, we talk to scientists about the latest resea…
 
Over half a million people in the US have died from an opioid overdose over the last 20 years, and a lot of the time they were prescribed those opioids by a doctor. So what makes these drugs so dangerous? And if we know they can be this dangerous, why are they still prescribed? This month’s episode is about opioids—their history, their use, and the…
 
In this episode of Solutions, we’re going to travel from mangrove coasts to outer space, to the middle of Nebraska, and even to Norway to answer the question of how microscopic algae could help save our oceans from overfishing by making literal tonnes of omega-3 fatty acids. Solutions is made with funding and featuring scientists from 3M, Ascend Pe…
 
Toxic elements like lead, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium in food are not a new problem. But when they show up in pureed vegetables and other foods intended for babies, alarm bells go off. That’s what happened in recent months following a bombshell congressional report that found neurotoxic metals in baby food from multiple manufacturers. In this epi…
 
We humans are pretty smart, but sometimes our best solutions to big problems are inspired by nature! We’re talking to scientists about how deep-sea diatoms can inspire more efficient solar panels and how tiny marine plants can lead to boats that float on air… literally. Solutions is made with funding and featuring scientists from 3M, Ascend Perform…
 
Living longer has been a human obsession for centuries, but while medical science has helped extend average life span, not all those extra years can be healthy. It turns out that aging is a major risk factor for disease. Follow along as host Kerri Jansen and reporter Laura Howes ask if instead of extending life span, we could extend health span and…
 
Natural extracts are in everything from food to medicine to beauty products. But how do we know which molecules from the natural world have benefits? And how can we verify that the ingredients advertised on the outside of the bottle are actually what’s on the inside? We’ll talk with three scientists who answer those questions with an unlikely case …
 
Where do you take your career after you’ve won all of science’s biggest prizes? In this episode of Stereo Chemistry, C&EN executive editor Lisa Jarvis sits down with Nobel laureates Frances Arnold and Jennifer Doudna to hear about whether their career goals changed after they got that early-morning phone call in October and how the pandemic has shi…
 
Dr. Steven Townsend is a professor of Organic Chemistry at Vanderbilt University, studying the chemistry of breast milk—what makes it so good for babies, and why that’s so hard to replicate in infant formula. Dr. Townsend’s interest in the field came from a personal experience he had almost a decade ago, walking around New York City with his pregna…
 
Welcome to the first episode of Solutions, an Orbitals spin-off podcast for 2021! We need to move people and stuff around the globe, but the options we have to do that aren’t great for our planet, and we’re the ones who are going to feel those effects. We’re talking with experts who are trying to make transportation more sustainable with innovative…
 
Introducing Solutions, a fun new Orbitals spin-off podcast hosted by Dr. Alex Dainis. Every month of 2021, we'll be releasing an episode that will give you a front row seat to chemists in industry today—the work they do and how it can solve problems in our lives. We’ve teamed up with chemical companies from around the world to talk about everything…
 
Researchers want to invent the technologies of the future, but there are plenty of chemical questions lurking in the past. In this episode of Stereo Chemistry, C&EN assistant editor Gina Vitale joins host Kerri Jansen to explore the centuries-old secrets and nagging mysteries that keep science historians up at night—and how these researchers go abo…
 
In the first half of the 20th century, there were very few environmental laws in the United States. Then, in 1962, environmentalist Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, opening the eyes of many Americans to the environmental destruction and detrimental impacts on human health caused by unchecked toxic chemical use and industrial waste. One of tho…
 
As we prepare for a new US president, many chemists are wondering how the administration change may affect them and their work. Will President-Elect Joe Biden change immigration policies that have reduced the number of foreign students studying at US universities? How might scientific integrity standards in the federal government change under the B…
 
Many grad students may be surprised to learn their university’s policies for reimbursing medical fees for lab injuries do not cover grad students, or cover grad students only under certain circumstances. And it can be hard to get clarity on what is and is not covered. That’s left some grad students in an uncomfortable limbo of seeking answers after…
 
As of November 16, 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused over 1.3 million deaths globally, more than 246,000 of which have been in the United States. Although this country has done very little to control the spread of this virus, there are people out there working tirelessly to get us back on track by developing and improving materials that protec…
 
Helium shortage 3.0 is winding down. But 2021 is likely to bring more changes to the global market for this critical, non-renewable gas. And even if there isn’t another crunch, scientists who use helium are tired of unstable supply of a material they need to keep their instruments running. In this episode of Stereo Chemistry, we’ll look at what’s b…
 
In August 2020, Black chemists and allies took to Twitter to celebrate the inaugural #BlackInChem week. The social media campaign highlighted the diversity and accomplishments of Black chemists at all stages of their career and also created space for candid discussions about the discrimination these scientists face in chemistry. In the latest episo…
 
Imagine buying mascara that makes you go blind, or picking up hair removal cream that causes your teeth to fall out. Before 1938 products like these were all over the place. Legally. The American Chamber of Horrors was a traveling exhibit, created by the FDA, that exposed these atrocities, and it helped push forward a law that changed consumer prot…
 
Scientists have been naming ideas, theorems, discoveries, and so on after other scientists for a very long time (Newton’s laws of motion, anyone?). Chemists are no different. They’ve been naming reactions after each other since about the early to mid 1800s. Nowadays, organic chemists in particular use them as a kind of shorthand. However, because t…
 
Rosalind Franklin and her lab assistant famously imaged the structure of DNA using X-ray crystallography, an achievement that directly facilitated James Watson and Francis Crick’s discovery of the double helix. For what would be Rosalind’s 100th birthday, the Stereo Chemistry team consults scientists and historians to envision the many ways the wor…
 
The COVID-19 pandemic has scientists considering a few less-conventional options while vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 are being developed. One option might be the oral polio vaccine. We chatted with one of the researchers proposing the idea—Dr. Robert Gallo—to understand why a vaccine that hasn’t been used in the US for two decades might provide short…
 
We’re each a big mush of chemicals surrounded by chemicals, and figuring out which of these chemicals are helpful, versus harmful, is complicated. Our executive producer, George Zaidan, takes on that challenge in his new book Ingredients: The strange chemistry of what we put in us and on us. I chat with him about some of what he found, and how he f…
 
On this special Bonus Episode of PAPERCLIP, host Michael Ian Black talks with David Weil and Nikki Toscano, the showrunners and executive producers of Amazon Studios’ Emmy©-eligible original drama series, HUNTERS. Set in 1977 New York City, HUNTERS follows a team of vigilantes on a mission to hunt down Nazi war criminals living in America. As it dr…
 
This month marks 4 years since the Toxic Substances Control Act, or TSCA, was revised to boost confidence in chemical safety in the US by strengthening regulations. The updated law gave the Environmental Protection Agency sweeping new authority to ensure that the tens of thousands of chemicals in everyday products do not pose unreasonable risks to …
 
Operation Paperclip began as a temporary program -- but before long, its German recruits were given a path to American citizenship, and men who worked for the Nazi regime suddenly became men who lived next door. Previously on PAPERCLIP, comedian Michael Ian Black and historian Monique Laney examined Paperclippers who achieved public recognition. Bu…
 
For students of history and consumers of pop culture, the ‘Nazi doctor’ is a familiar figure -- the ultimate embodiment of pure evil. In fact, several of the Nazi villians in the Amazon original drama series HUNTERS are doctors. But how did Nazi Germany’s doctors become symbols of Third Reich depravity? Why did they have such a central role in Hitl…
 
Rocket engineer Arthur Rudolph accompanied Wernher von Braun to the United States through Operation Paperclip after World War II. In Nazi Germany, Rudolph was the production manager for the V-2 missile program; in America, he became NASA’s project manager for the Saturn V, the rocket that put men on the Moon. But Rudolph’s past under the Third Reic…
 
Months before the novel coronavirus took hold of the globe in late 2019, clusters of patients began appearing in emergency rooms throughout the US with a mysterious lung disease. Investigators quickly linked the illnesses not to a pathogen, but to patients’ use of vaping products. By examining the chemicals in these products, they eventually found …
 
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