At its height, it was as an all-purpose cleaner, refrigerant and even fire extinguisher but we have since learned (the hard way) that it is dangerously toxic. Brian Clegg charts the downfall of carbon tetrachloride in this week’s Chemistry in its element podcast.

 

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In the second world war, this little molecule was essential to the German nuclear energy programme, and a prime target for Allied assualts. Peter Wothers tells the story of heavy water, the molecular star of the Heroes of Telemark, in this week’s Chemistry in its element podcast.

 

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 It’s a stalwart of the undergraduate lab and can still be found introducing kids to the joys of science in even today’s modest chemistry sets. But potassium permanganate is good for much more than pretty colours and redox titrations… in fact, it could well save your life. Brian Clegg praises our purple pal in this week’s Chemistry in its element podcast.

 

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Once prized by parfumiers for its musk-laden glands, the musk deer was heavily hunted. But today it can rest easy, thanks to canny chemists and their odorous alternatives to muscone. Josh Howgego is on the scent in this week’s Chemistry in its element podcast.

 

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It could have all but eradicated malaria, but instead it became infamously synonymous with environmental damage. Silent Spring’s pesticide protagonist, DDT, is the subject of this week’s Chemistry in its element podcast.

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They may not be a household name but their ubiquity in household products means every home must have one. Josh Howgego considers the captivating chemistry of cyclodextrins in this week’s Chemistry in its element podcast.

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Any excuse for a trip to the beach – catching some rays is the best way to prevent rickets by stimulating production of vitamin D in your skin. David Lindsay heads for sunnier climes in this week’s Chemistry in its element podcast.

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The green, green grass of home reminds us that pretty much all life on earth owes its existence to the light-harvesting powers of humble chlorophyll. Duncan McMillan reveals how in this week’s Chemistry in its element podcast.

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In this week’s Chemistry in its element podcast, Author Brian Clegg uncovers some chemical lies (or should that be lyes…) and scrubs up the compound that helps us to get stuff clean.

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When people think about methane, cow farts generally spring to mind. It’s unfortunate. It’s not even accurate. But there is no doubt that methane could do with a session with the image consultant. Hear Brian Clegg  give methane a compound make over and dispel some common myths regarding this greenhouse gas in this week’s Chemistry in its element podcast.

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