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Special Report

Chemistry for a New Era

The International Year of Chemistry commemorates the achievements that have made life better. Breakthroughs promise a greener and more productive future

I Was a Teenage Element Hoarder

I knew I wasn't like the other kids. Oh sure, I collected baseball cards and model airplanes, but not with the passion that I saved for my real obsession—collecting each and every element of the periodic table.This was just part of my chemical romance, which also involved (but was not limited to): watching phenolphthalein solution in test tubes change color, launching sodium carbonate/acetic acid (vinegar)–powered rockets, generating the sulfurous odor of rotten eggs and making a smoke bomb that accidentally detonated in the basement, and eventually graduating to electrolysis and various combustibles that fortunately resulted only in singed eyebrows, but no loss of digits or eyesight.Outside of explosives, however, lay the Holy Grail—a complete set of the fundamental building blocks of the universe.

October 11, 2011 — Michael J. Battaglia
Toxins All around Us

Toxins All around Us

Exposure to the chemicals in everyday objects poses a hidden health threat

October 1, 2011 — Patricia Hunt
Chemical Controls

Chemical Controls

Congress needs to give federal agencies greater authority to test and regulate chemicals

April 1, 2010 — THE EDITORS

Chemistry Day at Scientific American Blog Network

This year is the International Year of Chemistry.This week, many chemists are gathered in Puerto Rico for the World Chemistry Congress.And here, at the Scientific American Blog Network, today is the Chemistry Day.

August 2, 2011 — Bora Zivkovic

The Poisoner's Handbook: The Sinister Side of Chemistry

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Deborah Blum talks about her new work, The Poisoner's Handbook, a look at how easy it used to be to kill someone with poison and the researchers who made poisoning much harder to get away with. Plus, we'll test your knowledge about some recent science in the news. Web sites related to this episode include

February 25, 2010 — Steve Mirsky

Chemistry: The Human Science

A tiny molecule harvested from a soil bacterium on Easter Island that evolved billions of years ago for no obvious purposes should have nothing to do with human beings.

August 2, 2011 — Ashutosh Jogalekar
The Scent of Your Thoughts

The Scent of Your Thoughts

Although we are usually unaware of it, we communicate through chemical signals just as much as birds and bees do

October 1, 2011 — Deborah Blum
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Scientific American Health & Medicine

Scientific American Health & Medicine