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  • The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the way we do research. Here, I share an approach to rebuild research capacity in a new collaborative fashion termed ‘teamlets’. Teamlets enable a team-based approach to boost morale, increase data integrity, faciliate interdisciplinarity and ensure continuity of expertise.

    • Stefan Howorka
  • Cementitious materials — not least their reinforcements — are prone to aerobic oxidation, followed by chloride and sulfate attack. These processes jeopardize structures, particularly those exposed to air and seawater.

    • Pania Newell
  • The Fenton and Fenton-like reactions feature in oxidative stress and are central to advanced oxidation technologies to remediate organic pollutants. The reactions are often simplistically taught to afford only hydroxyl radical as the active oxidant. Yet, this is just one of many possible oxidants and is probably not the major oxidant formed under biological conditions.

    • Dan Meyerstein
  • An experiment that challenged established dogma opened an entirely new avenue for research in the assembly and control of mechanically interlocked compounds.

    • Ali Trabolsi
  • As scientists of all stripes grow as leaders, it becomes their responsibility to shed light on the opportunities that may be hidden within an apparent failure. Presented as a letter to his younger self, Marc Reid looks back at the time when he could scarcely handle professional rejection and examines the lessons he learned.

    • Marc Reid
  • One of the sustainable development goals set by the United Nations General Assembly is to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. This requires investment in water purification technologies. World Water Day offers an opportunity to discuss whether such investment will help achieve this laudable goal.

    • Bart Van der Bruggen
  • As the world erupts with demands for racial justice, the chemistry community has the obligation, opportunity and momentum to drive for diversity and inclusion in the sciences. Efforts towards that end must begin by allocating opportunities for success on the basis of potential, not privilege, and follow through by soliciting and acting upon feedback from the scholars we have recruited.

    • Brea A. Manuel
    • Diane B. Karloff
  • Three academics who are active on social media explore the motivations for and benefits of engaging with social media, as well as its costs and risks. Overall, they conclude there is a net benefit for themselves, their employers and wider society.

    • Ben Britton
    • Chris Jackson
    • Jessica Wade
  • A bioeconomy — that is, an economy in which fuels, chemicals and other products are sourced from biomass — can contribute to a sustainable and prosperous future. Realizing a bioeconomy will necessitate new methods for processing the complex structure of biomass to produce commodity chemicals. Many exciting opportunities are availing themselves to chemists brave enough to tackle this challenging problem.

    • Nichole D. Fitzgerald
  • Controversy surrounds the perceived absence of a relationship between DNA polymerase fidelity (kinetic discrimination) and free energy changes determined from DNA melting studies (thermodynamic discrimination). Thermodynamic discrimination together with aqueous solvent effects can account for kinetic fidelities on the order of those observed experimentally.

    • John Petruska
    • Myron F. Goodman
  • For long-duration space exploration to be successful, it is essential that chemistry research in space — which has been neglected to date — is intensified. The results of this research is also likely to be of benefit to those at home on Earth.

    • Richard Jones
    • Ferenc Darvas
    • Csaba Janáky
  • Although there is a keen awareness of the gender gap in the physical sciences, a healthy female representation has yet to be achieved. This article offers some possible explanations, in addition to strategies to more rapidly achieve gender balance in the physical sciences.

    • Angela K. Wilson
  • Fundamental research is critical to the advancement of society. Such research is promoted by generously supporting talented inviduals to undertake ambitious work. While technology may spawn from these endeavours, it should never be the sole motivation for blue sky research.

    • Helmut Schwarz