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Ep. 19: This is a mess. But there might also be gasoline in here.

In the aftermath of a building fire, investigators study the scene for clues to the fire’s cause. They look for burn patterns and suspicious materials while chemists search charred debris for traces of flammable liquids. But investigating fires is not as straightforward as it once was, because investigators now know more about the complexity of how fires burn. In this episode of Stereo Chemistry, host Kerri Jansen explores how scientists are working to better pinpoint specific chemicals amid...


Ep. 18: Our job is to make sure we have the data

Robots in the ocean are giving scientists more details about processes above and below the surface that affect our weather, our food supply, and more. They’re also helping chemical oceanographers understand and record the effects that climate change is having on our waters. The past 2 decades have seen a growing fleet of uncrewed research vessels and a proliferation of chemical sensors, which together are giving chemical oceanographers access to an unprecedented wealth of data. That’s...


Ep. 17: If you want to change the element, you have to change the nucleus

In honor of the International Year of the Periodic Table, Stereo Chemistry explores the stories behind some of the elements in this episode. C&EN and ACS on Campus hosted periodic table pub trivia during the ACS Spring 2019 National Meeting in Orlando, Florida. Inspired by the event, its participants, and its questions, host Kerri Jansen investigated what it takes to make a new superheavy element, starting a half century ago and tracking the making of new elements through time. She tells the...


Ep. 16: It’s all of these things that none of us get trained for

Being a chemistry professor is Jen Heemstra’s dream job. How she got there was a bit of a nightmare. But now she’s running her own team at Emory University and has become a social media celebrity by sharing her experiences and leadership advice on Twitter. She credits her personal tragedy and professional setbacks for making her who she is today. In the latest episode of C&EN’s Stereo Chemistry podcast, we spent two days with Heemstra and her team to learn more about her and her approach to...


Ep. 15: Being scientists together in a relationship is the very best thing in the world

They say love is a many-splendored thing, and we have to agree. In the latest episode of Stereo Chemistry, love unites rotovap romance, intimate feelings formatted for the Journal of the American Chemical Society, and the slow but tireless march of equality. C&EN spoke with five chemistry couples about their love stories, as well as what advice they have for those trying to give love a chance in a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) profession. You’ll hear real talk...


Ep. 14: On the face of it, RNA is a terrible drug target

RNA should be a terrible drug target. It’s long, noodle-like structure lacks the nooks and crannies that small molecule drugs use to grab onto proteins and thereby control them. But a decades-old disregard for RNA is starting to change. In August 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the first-ever RNA interference (RNAi) drug, which uses a double-stranded RNA molecule to prevent the production of disease-related proteins. In the past two years, several startups have launched to...


Ep. 13: Kind of a schlepping sound

Closing out the inaugural year of Stereo Chemistry, host Kerri Jansen and C&EN reporter Tien Nguyen share a collection of stories about ways of distilling complex chemistry. Join us for a resonant take on organic chemistry reactions, an abridged explanation of some Nobel Prize–winning work, and the story behind a chemical earworm. A script of this episode is available at Read about the year’s...


Ep. 12: Do you want to be the guy who rips out a page from a 1550s’ New Testament?

The smell of old books. The crinkle of the yellowing pages. While admiring the wonders of libraries, have you ever wondered how paper ages and why some sheets last longer than others? Paper conservation scientists have. Stereo Chemistry caught up with a slew of these researchers after hearing about a special collection of books at the U.S. Library of Congress. The more than 1,000 volumes in this collection have essentially donated their bodies to science. We embarked on a time-travel journey...


Ep. 11: This is kind of not rational

Even scientists can have superstitions: a lucky shirt, a supernatural paper towel, an elaborate ritual to keep the NMR running smoothly. In this episode of Stereo Chemistry, we’re sharing superstitions from our listeners to celebrate Halloween. Join host—and proud black cat owner—Kerri Jansen as she explores the not-exactly-scientific notions of the chemistry world. View a transcript of this episode at Watch videos from the...


Ep. 10: This book reinforced my belief that ketchup is a suspect condiment

Deborah Blum's new book, "The Poison Squad," comes out Sept. 25. The author and award-winning science writer sat down with us to discuss the crusading chemist—and crazy experiment—behind the book's title and America's first food safety regulation. To register for C&EN's Nobel Prize prediction webinar, visit "Glass Bells Dancing With A Synthesizer" by Daniel Birch is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0...


Ep. 9: I’m ready for the world

Graduate students handle myriad challenges, including a labmate’s annoying habit and loneliness when transplanted into a foreign country. C&EN reporters Kerri Jansen, Matt Davenport, and Linda Wang spoke to several international Ph.D. candidates to learn how they stay motivated, productive, and find balance amid the chaos. Find a transcript of this episode and even more thoughts from grad students around the world at...


Ep. 8: High-octane chemistry news trivia competition (Live)

Three of chemistry’s rising stars joined us on stage at the ACS national meeting in Boston for a light-hearted look at some of this summer’s most buzzworthy chemistry news. Luisa Whittaker-Brooks (University of Utah), Staff Sheehan (Catalytic Innovations and the Air Company), and Jillian Dempsey (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)—all members of C&EN’s Talented 12 this year or in past years—went head-to-head in our quiz show that covered everything from avocados to ZIF-8, a metal...


Ep. 7: The good ones don’t dare to touch

The European X-ray Free Electron Laser recently came online as the biggest and brightest source of X-rays on planet Earth. This will allow chemists to do groundbreaking research, but with great science comes great responsibility. In our latest Stereo Chemistry podcast, C&EN contributing editor Mark Peplow visits the X-ray facility to learn about its growing pains, its staff’s unique approach to keeping it running, and some of its early successes. “Kitty In The Window” by Podington Bear is...


Ep. 6: Everything will be druggable

Although genome sequencing has helped scientists reveal proteins wreaking havoc in our bodies, that doesn’t guarantee scientists can invent the drugs to take them down. Depending on who you talk to, up to 85% of the human proteome is currently “undruggable,” meaning these proteins lack easy-to-find pockets where therapeutics, such as small molecules, can bind. But a wave of biotech companies, each one armed with new technology, has arrived to tackle the problem. Industry and academic...


Ep. 5: A story told in bones

Our bones contain chemical information about our diet, our behavior, and even our geographic origin. With the right tools, scientists can decode that information to learn about the past lives behind skeletal remains. Christine France of the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute uses stable isotope ratio analysis to help anthropologists answer questions about possible 18th-century pirates and more. Sign up for C&EN’s newsletter at Find a full transcript of the...


Ep. 4: Wow. This is a big meeting.

Stereo Chemistry had its recorders rolling for four days during the ACS national meeting in New Orleans in March. Listen to our latest episode to hear what brought a wide range of chemists to the meeting, including a Priestley Medal winner, a hurricane survivor, and an (in)famous duck. Find the full transcript and links to the stories we talk about here: “The Confrontation” by Podington Bear is...


Ep. 3: The authors declined to discuss the work with C&EN for this story

C&EN reporter Tien Nguyen takes us inside her months-long dealings with ChemRxiv, one of chemistry’s new preprints servers. She examines the benefits, questions, and frustrations presented by the server—not the least of which was chemists unwilling to discuss their own work with us. But it’s not all doom and gloom. We kinda got a Science publication out of this story. UPDATE: On March 16, 2018, Angewandte Chemie announced on Twitter that its editorial board voted to allow submissions of...


Ep. 2: Chemistry is not immune from sexual harassment

In September, C&EN published a cover story on sexual harassment in chemistry. In the second episode of Stereo Chemistry, host Kerri Jansen talks with sexual harassment survivors and the C&EN reporters behind that cover story to learn what has changed—and what hasn’t—in the months since we released that story. Listener discretion is advised. Read C&EN’s cover story Confronting Sexual Harassment in Chemistry at Information on the Science of Sexual Harassment symposium and...


Ep. 1: Well, what are they good for, Omar?

In our first full-length episode of Stereo Chemistry, we sit down with some of the leaders and up-and-comers in the field of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) to figure out why these materials are so hot right now. Subscribe to C&EN's weekly newsletter to stay up to date with the chemistry news you need to know: Stereo Chemistry is published by C&EN, the newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society. Contact us at “What Have You Done” by Lee...


Stereo Chemistry Promo IV: It’s basically a trailer

There’s just one week to go until the full-fledged premiere of C&EN’s new podcast, Stereo Chemistry. And we realized we haven’t bothered to let you in on what we’re doing or how we’re doing it. That changes now with our latest—and last—mini-episode. Stereo Chemistry is published by C&EN, the newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society. Contact us at Hosted by Kerri Jansen and Matt Davenport Written by Matt Davenport, Kerri Jansen, and Tien Nguyen Produced by Matt...