Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Is chemistry really so difficult?

Chemistry has progressed in a way few outsiders appreciate. It underpins many other sciences; from genomics and molecular biology, food and sports science, through to cosmology and planetary science. Why hasn't the public impression of chemistry evolved too?

Chemistry is often perceived as difficult, abstract and dangerous. Chemists often use the visual spectacle of explosions and bubbling glassware to popularise the subject and as a result, the public view of chemistry has not caught up to the radical changes in the field.

In this Faraday Award prize lecture, Professor Andrea Sella argued that chemists themselves are to blame. Chemists need new ways to talk about their subject and tell a deeper story. Sella explored chemistry as an intellectual challenge, which provides not only everyday applications and spectacle, but also gives insights into some of the deepest mysteries of science like the origins of life and the enigma of biological pattern formation.

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