The chemist’s best friend

By Tabitha Watson Where would we be without our glassware? Tabitha Watson looks through the history and current state of chemistry’s favourite amorphous solid Chemistry has a heart of glass. Think of chemistry and images of sleek laboratories filled with glittering glassware come to mind; ask a chemist what they couldn’t survive without, and the […]

Life – but not as we know it

By Nina Notman A series of missions to the moons of Jupiter and Saturn has revealed their potential to harbour life. Nina Notman looks to the skies After a series of mission failures, July 1965 saw the first successful flybys of Mars. The US Mariner 4 became the first spacecraft to take close up pictures […]

Solid electrolyte boosts liquid metal battery

By Anthony King Combining molten metal electrodes with a solid electrolyte may offer a cheap, scalable alternative to Li-ion batteries A new liquid metal electrode (LME) battery made with a solid electrolyte and molten electrodes has been developed by researchers working on rechargeable batteries. Source: © 2018 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature The […]

The people in our care

By Marc Reid Management and leadership are two different, equally important, things What makes a good boss? It’s an important question. And, hidden among the hailstorm of stressors in research, one that is often neglected. Some years ago, a conversation gave me pause to consider leadership more deeply than I ever had before. Walking the […]


By Jamie Durrani Hans Christian Ørsted The Danish natural philosopher Hans Christian Ørsted left an impressive scientific legacy. In 1820, he observed that the needle of a compass would turn when in the vicinity of a wire carrying an electric current – his work for the first time described the link between electricity and magnetism. […]

The three muses of scientific discovery

By Derek Lowe Inspiration, experimentation and happy accidents are all pathways to a breakthrough How much of a great new idea is supposed to come from sheer inspiration? The related questions are how much should be coming from brute-force experimentation (these days generally machine-aided) and how much from sheer accident and coincidence? Those are, I […]