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  • Governments worldwide are committing more funding for scientific research in the face of the ongoing pandemic and climate crises. However, the funding process must be restructured to remove the barriers arising from conscious and unconscious biases experienced by minoritized groups, including women, and particularly women of colour.

    • J. M. Jebsen
    • K. Nicoll Baines
    • I. Jayasinghe
  • In 1931, Erich Hückel published a landmark paper — the seed of the now famous 4n + 2 rule for aromaticity in annulenes that bears his name. Electron counting has since been extended to other classes of compounds, resulting in a multitude of rules aiming to capture the concept of aromaticity and its impact in chemistry.

    • Miquel Solà
  • Chemistry plays a key role in tackling today’s challenges and ensuring a sustainable future. Since 2019, IUPAC has been identifying technologies with the potential to advance our society and improve our quality of life.

    • Fernando Gomollón-Bel
    • Javier García-Martínez
  • Statistical tools based on machine learning are becoming integrated into chemistry research workflows. We discuss the elements necessary to train reliable, repeatable and reproducible models, and recommend a set of guidelines for machine learning reports.

    • Nongnuch Artrith
    • Keith T. Butler
    • Aron Walsh
  • Ingrained prejudices and a lack of action addressing discrimination are some of the main reasons why academic chemistry is overwhelmingly white. Data and discussions on racial inequalities are often greeted with scepticism and cynicism within the community, yet they are necessary to fight racism — and anti-Black racism in particular.

    • Binuraj R. K. Menon
  • Stay-at-home policies invoked in response to COVID-19 have led to well-publicized drops in some air pollutants. The extent to which such reductions translate to improved air quality is dictated by not only emissions and meteorology, but also chemical transformations in the atmosphere.

    • Jesse H. Kroll
    • Colette L. Heald
    • Allison L. Steiner
  • Valuing diversity leads to scientific excellence, the progress of science and, most importantly, it is simply the right thing to do. We must value diversity not only in words, but also in actions.

    • César A. Urbina-Blanco
    • Safia Z. Jilani
    • Ying-Wei Yang
  • The gap between fundamental academic research and the applied industrial research that is necessary to ensure real-world applications can be bridged by engaging in well-defined collaborative academia–industry projects and fostering better communication between the scientists involved in them.

    • Danielle Schultz
    • Louis-Charles Campeau
  • Chemistry is now starting to embrace preprints, with more and more researchers in chemical and materials sciences posting their manuscripts online prior to peer review. Preprints can speed up the dissemination of scientific results and lead to more informal exchanges between researchers, hopefully accelerating the pace of research as a whole.

    • François-Xavier Coudert
  • Academic labs can be difficult places to work — but why is that the case and what can be done to address the issues that lead to harmful working environments?

    • David K. Smith
  • A curious chemical structure from the imagination of a child will forever be connected with a cancer diagnosis for one particular family. And now the challenge is on to make this molecule a reality.

    • Filucca Sophia Bjørnskov
    • Thomas Bjørnskov Poulsen
  • Very few consumers are aware that chemistry and synthetic chemicals are indispensable in making everyday goods because the products that people buy — such as cell phones, cars and processed foods — are typically far removed from the raw chemicals used in their production.

    • Michael Siegrist
    • Angela Bearth
  • The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry — whose 100th anniversary fittingly falls during the International Year of the Periodic Table — is most recognized for its role in the naming of new elements. This is part of a wider effort to help create a common chemistry language for humans and machines alike.

    • Javier García-Martínez
  • Chemistry’s lack of visibility in relation to other disciplines, such as astronomy and life sciences, means it is in danger of becoming the forgotten science. How can chemists discuss their work with the public so that we retain our position as the central science for future generations?

    • Renée Webster
    • Margaret C. Hardy
  • Could it be boron or bohrium that is the most boring? You’ll need to read to the end to find out.

    • Rebecca E. Jelley
    • Allan G. Blackman
  • The periodic table is immensely powerful for rationalizing many different properties of the chemical elements, but would turning it on its head make some important aspects easier to understand and give everyone a new perspective on chemistry?

    • Martyn Poliakoff
    • Alexis D. J. Makin
    • Ellen Poliakoff
  • By expanding the scope of sustainability to the entire lifecycle of chemical products, the concept of circular chemistry aims to replace today’s linear ‘take–make–dispose’ approach with circular processes. This will optimize resource efficiency across chemical value chains and enable a closed-loop, waste-free chemical industry.

    • Tom Keijer
    • Vincent Bakker
    • J. Chris Slootweg
  • Let’s flip over the periodic table to peek at its dark side.

    • Michelle Francl
  • The periodic table as we know it now seems complete, its current 118 elements nicely fitting in the seven familiar rows. How many more can be synthesized — and how will the table expand to accommodate them? The search for ever-heavier elements is pointing towards new periods, though perhaps not as neatly ordered as the first seven.

    • Hiromitsu Haba