History of chemistry

The history of chemistry is rich, evolving from early discussions on the nature of matter in ancient Egypt and Greece, through to the emergence of alchemy, the development of the periodic table and quantum chemistry.

Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • Comments & Opinion |

    Tova N. Williams explores the history of madder, its components and the perhaps confusing terminology that surrounds this long-known source of red colour.

    • Tova N. Williams
  • Comments & Opinion |

    Michelle Francl explores how glass revolutionized chemistry.

    • Michelle Francl
    Nature Chemistry 14, 717-718
  • Comments & Opinion |

    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
    Nature Chemistry 14, 585-590
  • Comments & Opinion |

    Christine M. Le takes a look at 2-[18F]fluoro-2-deoxyglucose and explains how this radioactive sugar could help to save your life.

    • Christine M. Le
  • Comments & Opinion |

    Chemical synthesis typically draws on the roughly 90 elements found in nature and transforms them into fantastic things, which serve all imaginable needs of humankind. However, there are more than just these 90 elements in the periodic table. The synthesis of the heaviest elements, one atom at a time, is discussed here.

    • Christoph E. Düllmann
    Nature Synthesis 1, 105-106
  • Comments & Opinion |

    Amina Schartup relates how our understanding of methylmercury has changed in the 170 years since it was discovered — as well as some of the disasters that occurred along the way.

    • Amina T. Schartup