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Latest issue

By Dave Sammut

We know a lot about the make-up of opals, but much less about how they came to be.

There is a timelessness to minerals and fossils that appeals to many of us. These marvellous treasures emerge against the most outrageous odds, first in their formation and then in their endurance through eons of sedimentation, metamorphosis, uplift and weathering.

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RACI members among RSC’s 175 Faces of Chemistry

By Mary Garson and Tina Overton

Royal Society of Chemistry: 175 years


Inspirational teachers make a difference to the future careers of their students. This was brought home to me recently when I was listed on a prestigious new website published by the Royal Society of Chemistry in the UK.

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Sailors leave ancient ‘fingerprints’ across Polynesia

By University of Queensland

New chemical research about Polynesian migration

A long-standing debate on the colonisation process of Oceania has been put to rest with new research finding that Polynesia was deliberately settled in one of the greatest maritime migrations in human history.

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Also in this issue...

A new path to the C–C bond

The quest for a versatile new carbon–carbon bond-forming reaction requires an in-depth look at organic synthesis.

How Minecraft could help teach chemistry’s building blocks of life

Children should be playing more computer games in school. That idea might enrage you if you think kids today already spend too much time staring at screens or if you are already sick of your offspring’s incessant prattling about fighting zombies and the like. But hear me out.

Animations for kids – lessons in science communication

As a father of a two year old, I have significantly changed the TV programs I watch in recent years. One of the first children’s shows to become a hit in our household was Dinosaur Train. Notable for its catchy slogans and cool music, this show soon draws you in, teasing out scientific principles and creating a compelling interest in dinosaurs and scientific discovery. The more I watch Dinosaur Train, the more interested I become in how the show is used to engage viewers in scientific research.

Kuala Lumpur workshop on chemical code of ethics

Thirty chemists from 18 countries gathered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on 4–6 April 2016 to draft what was termed, by the organisers (the American Chemical Society, ACS), a Global Chemists’ Code of Ethics (GCCE). Some funding came from the Chemical Security Program (CSP) of the US State Department. The event was managed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), a national US laboratory, and built on previous meetings sponsored by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), The Hague, whose mission is to implement the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

Previous issue

By Madeleine Schultz

Pedagogical content knowledge from teachers and academics has been captured and coded to create a new resource for chemistry education.

Classroom teaching practice is a personal skill that develops with experience and through reflection. Teacher behaviour involves responding to a specific group of students in a particular class and so is impossible to completely plan in advance. However, steps towards the development of more effective teaching methods are possible even with limited time and resources.

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Drones, droids and robots

By Ian A. Maxwell

Technology & innovation

The Australian Government’s ‘National Innovation and Science Agenda’ is hosting the schools theme of ‘Drones, Droids and Robots’ as part of National Science Week this month. The aim of this theme is to ‘embrace [in schools] … real-world application of autonomous technologies in areas including agriculture, mining, manufacturing, medicine and space and deep ocean exploration’.

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Milestone in solar cell efficiency

By Wilson da Silva

New world record set

A new solar cell configuration developed by engineers at the University of New South Wales has pushed sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiency to 34.5% – establishing a new world record for unfocused sunlight and nudging closer to the theoretical limits for such a device.

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Also in this issue...

Expressing a passion for chemistry and crystals

Four PhD students at the University of Warwick are exploring the creative side of crystal research.

Cobalt blues

Alongside inspiring stories in elite sport are those centred on the use of banned substances such as cobalt.

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