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  1. Frantically forging fermium

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    Brett F. Thornton and Shawn C. Burdette relate how element 100 was first identified in a nuclear weapons test, but that was classified information, so researchers had to 'discover' it again using other methods.
  2. A chemical century

    The launch of Nature Chemistry in 2009 prompted some criticism of journal proliferation, but 100 issues later this young offender has matured into an accepted part of the publishing landscape.
  3. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons: Synthesis successes

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    Disentangling the chemistry and physics behind reported unconventional superconductivity and exotic magnetism in alkali-intercalated PAHs has remained problematic due to the lack of phase-pure samples. Two synthetic pathways have now remedied this issue, facilitating studies of cooperative electronic properties based on carbon π-electrons.

    See also: Article by Yasuhiro Takabayashi et al., Article by F. Denis Romero et al.

  4. Enzymatic catalysis: New functional twists for P450s

    Two papers provide insight into the reactivity of cytochrome P450s. A direct link between electron donation and reactivity has been shown with a selenocysteine-ligated P450 compound I, whereas a serine-ligated P450 (P411) has been engineered to catalyse an intermolecular C–H amination via nitrene transfer.

    See also: Article by Elizabeth L. Onderko et al., Article by Christopher K. Prier et al.

  5. V for vanadium

    Andrea Taroni shares his experience with vanadium — a colourful element with a rich chemistry (and physics!) that is emblematic of all transition metals.
  6. Photochemistry: Caught in the act

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    Femtochemistry, the real-time study of reactions on a timescale that captures the molecular and atomic activity involved, has traditionally been performed in the gas or liquid phase. It has now been extended to the solid state in a study that highlights how a controlled reaction environment can place steric constraints on the motions of photoproducts.

    See also: Article by Rui Xian et al.

  7. Natural products: Taming reactive benzynes

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    Natural products often serve as sources of new drugs, either directly or after synthetic modification, but site-selective functionalization of complex small molecules is challenging. Now, a method has been developed that enables selective modification of a wide range of natural products by engaging a benzyne intermediate in a variety of reaction modes.

    See also: Article by Sean P. Ross et al.

  8. Tin can

    Tin has been ubiquitous throughout the course of human history, from Bronze Age tools to lithium-ion battery components, yet Michael A. Tarselli warns it should not be deemed pedestrian. Its tendency to linger in human tissues presents a dangerous side that steers researchers towards greener chemistries.
  9. Sending a message to the other side

    A range of mechanisms have evolved for communicating information across cell membranes, but designing synthetic analogues is far from trivial. A collection of articles in this issue discuss different methods of passing chemical information across lipid bilayers using artificial systems.
  10. Iterations of ytterbium

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    Alasdair Skelton and Brett F. Thornton examine the twisting path through the several discoveries of ytterbium, from the eighteenth century to the present.
  11. Life, but not as we know it

    There are many unanswered questions regarding how the biomolecules and biomechanical processes that define life came to be. A collection of Articles in this issue show how intermediates in RNA synthesis might have formed and how the initiation and evolution of RNA replication might have occurred.
  12. Organomimetic clusters: Precision in 3D

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    Biomimetic molecules that can be easily tailored offer numerous opportunities. Now, boron-based clusters have been shown to be excellent biomimetics. The ease with which the cluster surfaces can be modified stands to change how chemists might go about preparing materials for imaging, drug delivery and other applications.

    See also: Article by Elaine A. Qian et al.

  13. The unveiled states of americium

    Made under a cloak of wartime secrecy, yet announced in the most public of ways — a radioactive element that governments insist we take into our homes. Ben Still explains how element 95 is one of real contradiction.