Chemistry

The metal gallium becomes a liquid at slightly above room temperature, one of its many remarkable properties that researchers are investigating.

This Liquid Metal Could Transform Soft Electronics

Bend it. Stretch it. Use it to conduct electricity. Researchers are exploring a range of applications that harness gallium's unusual properties

This mural outside of an outfitter's office illustrates the snaking mouth of Mosquito Bay.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico's Bioluminescent Bays Are Brighter Than Ever

The nightly light shows have rebounded from Hurricane Maria's devastating blow

It’s shocking how many everyday inventions we use without acknowledging the inventors that helped bring them to us.

Innovation for Good

Five Women Inventors You Didn't Learn About in History Class

These innovators pioneered word processing, launched Americans into space and more

Dried cochineal insects — shown here in the center of the photo — can be processed to create several natural dyes such as carmine and cochineal extract. These products get their red hue from carminic acid, a chemical found within the insect.

Scientists Are Making Cochineal, a Red Dye From Bugs, in the Lab

Used to color foods and cosmetics, carminic acid is traditionally 'farmed' from an insect. But researchers are moving to engineer it in microbes

Eileen McSaveney (left) and Terry Tickhill (right) use a hand augur to drill Lake Vanda, Wright Valley, Antarctica, during the 1969-1970 field season. Water collected during this effort was used to date the lake.

Ten Pioneering Women of Antarctica and the Places Named for Them

These coves, peaks, glaciers and other landmarks honor female explorers and scientists who have contributed to our understanding of the continent

Alice Ball was just 23 years old when she developed a method of making chaulmoogra oil—an early treatment for leprosy—more easily injectable.

Women Who Shaped History

The Trailblazing Black Woman Chemist Who Discovered a Treatment for Leprosy

After Alice Ball's death in 1916 at age 24, a white man took credit for her research

Scholars say that Afrocentric notions of invention have often emphasized serving the needs of the community, social justice and artistic self-expression, such as the unpatented innovations of DJ Grandmaster Flash, who reimagined turntables and mixers as musical instruments and developed techniques like “scratching” that defined rap and hip- hop music.
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Tearing Down the Barriers for Black Inventors Begins With Honoring Their Historic Breakthroughs

Smithsonian’s Eric S. Hintz, a historian of invention, details how scholars are envisioning a more inclusive ecosystem for the innovators of tomorrow

A new way of recycling has grabbed the attention of some of the world’s largest consumer goods companies, including L’Oréal, Nestlé, and PepsiCo, who collaborated with startup company Carbios to produce proof-of-concept bottles.

The Future of Recycling May Be in Microbes

An enzyme-based recycling technology is poised to go commercial, but questions about cost and scalability linger

The science behind bubbles in champagne is an active field of research. Here, a red spotlight highlights bubbles growing at the bottom of a goblet, where they stick thanks to surface tension.

The Science Behind Champagne Bubbles

As you uncork that bottle and raise your glass, take time to toast the physics and chemistry along with the New Year

Scientists have created other living inks out of bacteria, but this is the first that doesn't require the addition of other materials like acids, extracts and silica.

'Living Ink' Made From E. Coli Could One Day Be Used in Cancer Treatments or Self-Healing Buildings

Though the microbial material is still in the very beginning stages of development, researchers are hopeful about future applications

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University analyzed popular vaping products and found nearly 2,000 chemicals not disclosed by manufacturers, as well as six potentially harmful compounds, including a pesticide.

New Research

Nearly 2,000 Chemicals—Some Potentially Harmful—Found in Vaping Aerosols

Researchers discover industrial chemicals, a pesticide and caffeine during analysis of popular vaping products

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Benjamin List and David W.C. MacMillan for their independent work that revolutionized the construction of molecules.

Innovation for Good

Scientists Behind 'Ingenious' Molecule-Building Tool Win Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Researchers Benjamin List and David MacMillan independently discovered cheaper, greener ways to create new molecules

Men ate over 50 percent more seafood protein than women and gained slightly more protein from grains. Women consumed more terrestrial meats, more eggs and dairy products, and more local fruits and vegetables.

New Analysis Reveals Vesuvius Victims' Diverse Diets

Isotope ratios show that men and women in the ancient Roman city of Herculaneum had different dietary habits

This glass tube, part of the museum’s collection, once contained a sample of helium. Its paper label reads, “HELIUM / SIR W. RAMSAY, K.C.B., LL.D., F.R.S. / THOMAS TRYER & CO., Ltd. / STRATFORD, LONDON, ENGLAND.”

Smithsonian Voices

The History of How to Store Helium

With large and easily tapped natural supplies, the United States became the world’s leading helium producer

The team conducted a non-destructive analysis of a panel depicting the prophet Nathan.

Art Meets Science

Canterbury Cathedral's 12th-Century Stained Glass May Be England's Oldest

New research suggests four of the English church's intricate windows were in place when Henry II's men murdered Thomas Becket in 1170

NASA just announced a partnership with Tide to figure out how to do laundry in space. Solving this problem will allow astronauts to stop throwing away their dirty clothes, which means some missions must ferry hundreds of pounds of clean clothes into space.

NASA Just Put Doing the Laundry on Astronauts' Chore List

Dirty clothes are currently thrown away, requiring missions where weight is at a premium to bring many pounds of socks, shirts and underwear

Whether your steaks are thick or thin, research can help you grill for optimum flavor.

The Science Behind Grilling the Perfect Steak

Want to learn how cooking transforms beef’s flavor? Meat scientists have the answers.

Cosmetics designed to stay on longer or marketed as "wear-resistant," "long-lasting," and "waterproof" contained the highest levels of PFAS.

Scientists Find Toxic 'Forever Chemicals' in More Than 100 Popular Makeup Products

Waterproof mascara and long-lasting lipsticks contained the highest levels of organic fluorine, an indicator of PFAS

Combining carbon dioxide and calcium creates calcium carbonate rocks such as limestone.

To Combat Climate Change, Researchers Want to Pull Carbon Dioxide From the Ocean and Turn It Into Rock

Running seawater through an ocean carbon capture plant could chemically convert carbon dioxide to limestone on a grand scale

Candy-size molecular models, about the diameter of Nerds candy, can help students with blindness to learn chemistry.

Innovation for Good

Gummy Candy-Like Models Can Help Students With Blindness Study Chemistry

Tiny shapes made from gelatin and resin may empower children to learn science

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