Displaying episodes 1 - 30 of 164 in total

Why do leaves change color in the fall?

It's Fall! You know why they call Fall Fall? Well because the leaves fall. But before that, the leaves change color. Why do they do that? How? Is there any sort of function to it? Do the different colors mean anything? Let's dive into this overdue, colorful topic.

How is brewing coffee chemistry?

The long overdue cracking open of the door into the chemistry of coffee! First, the chemistry of what happens when you brew coffee. Check it out!

Fall Mini 07 - Who is and isn't a chemist?

What makes someone a chemist? At what point does someone become one? Is it a defined line or is it a blurry one? Melissa shares some thoughts, as well as the thoughts of two of her chemistry colleagues.

Fall Mini 06 - What is imposter syndrome? (with Vianet Garza)

This week we have a very special guest, Vianet Garza (LPC). She's going to talk us through something that's common in chemistry, science, and likely every other profession under the sun: imposter syndrome.

Fall Mini 05 - Is BPA really that bad for you?

This week we received an interesting email about BPA from listener and retired chemistry teacher Danny. Let's get into it.

Green Fire?!

Rebroadcast: This week Melissa and Jam explore a Halloween-themed topic, perfectly-timed for the fact that our episode air date happened to land on Halloween exactly! Can you change the color of fire using only chemistry, safety, personal protection equipment, and no magic? Listen to find out. And check us out on any of our social media accounts to see the experiment take place!

Fall Mini 04 - Icebreakers

It's time to break some ice.

Fall Mini 03 - How chemistry revolutionized baking (For Melissa)

Are you an avid baker? Melissa's baking discovery may be as revolutionary for you as it was for her.

Fall Mini 02 - The biochemistry of sugar?

Let's hear more about sugar from the perspective of a biochemist!

Fall Mini 01 - Vanilla and beaver butts?

Does vanilla come from beaver butts?

What is vanilla? (and imitation vanilla?)

Well we've all had vanilla. And if you have a tongue then you probably like it. But the question we've all wondered each time we're baking something is probably something like, "what is imitation vanilla?" and "how do they make it?" and "how is it so much cheaper?" and "do you think anyone would notice if I use it instead?" Let's look into it.

How do Tums make us feel better? (And why do they make us burp?)

Tums, alka seltzer, and other antacids: they're simple, they've been around for a long time, but they're a tried and true method for helping our stomachs. But how do they work? What's the chemistry behind these unsung heroes?

Bonus: Does elevation affect airbags? (and other questions)

In this month's bonus episode, Melissa and Jam respond to comments and questions about breathalyzers, high fructose corn syrup, candles, airbags, and more!

Is there BPA in my receipt? And is that bad?

What if BPA was in something more ordinary and everywhere than a water bottle? Something seemingly innocent and inconspicuous? Like a receipt? Wouldn't that just be a cherry on top of a sad sundae.

What does BPA free really mean?

Every time you buy a plastic water bottle or something, you probably see a sticker that says "BPA free." Pretty good news right? I mean who knows? But what is BPA? And why did we need to get rid of it? And what did we replace it with? And is the problem really solved? Let's just say, don't get too attached to your water bottle.

How do breathalyzers detect alcohol?

How can machines tell how much alcohol is in our blood, simply from checking our breath? Is it magic, or is it chemistry? I think you know the answer to that. But let's get into the details.

What is the ozone layer?

We've all heard about it. And most likely you've heard that it's in danger. But what is the ozone layer in the first place? And once we learn that, how about figuring out why it's in danger? Ok let's do it.

Bonus: How does weed killer not kill grass? (and other questions)

In this month's bonus episode, Melissa and Jam respond to comments and questions about sugar, high fructose corn syrup, weed killer, water's cleaning ability, tips about college, Jam's name, making money from podcasts, and bucket lists!

How much urine is in an olympic size swimming pool?

Well it's no secret. Some people like to make the relaxing, refreshing environment of a pool into a toilet. It's a problem that's probably existed just as long as pools have. But even before urine enters the picture, modern pools are already chemically complex. So what happens when urine joins the party? Let's find out.

Is high fructose corn syrup bad for you?

It's got high fructose, it's somehow from corn, and it's in syrup form. What's not to like? Well maybe a lot. Or maybe not. Is it worse than sugar? Is it the same? Let's find out!

What is in magic erasers? (and should you clean your teeth with them?)

By now you've already probably experienced the magic of magic erasers. But what IS the magic? How does it erase what other things cannot? And if you don't know what magic erasers are, you'll be impressed.

How do candles burn? (and how do you light them with smoke?)

Candles are simple enough right? Probably nothing crazy going on right? Wrong. Where does all the wax go? And how does the wick just keep on burning so long? Let's find out.

Chemistry at Home: Candle Magic

Here's another bonus episode dedicated to teaching a specific chemistry experiment you can do at home. This month, we see how to light a candle without touching the flame to the wick.

How do batteries power our electronics?

Batteries. The mysterious little cylinders that have powered our essentials and fun for decades. How in the world do they work? What's the chemistry that's going on inside, and how does it power our electronics? Let's find out.

Bonus: How do candy colors not mix? (and other questions)

In this month's bonus episode, Melissa and Jam respond to comments and questions about dyes, onions, soaps, candies, eggs, salt lamps, cheese, and more!

What is cheese? And what does it have in common with soap?

Seriously what the heck is cheese? It's a question we've all wondered, but most of us only ever know that it's from milk—but what else? How do we turn milk into cheese? What's going on at the chemical level? And why do cheeses taste different from each other? Let's find out.

What is hyaluronic acid and is it magical?

What do roosters' combs and cows' eyeballs have that our skin needs? Let's add another chapter to the chemistry of skin care. Today we explore a special and unusual acid that has some surprising and unique abilities when used in skincare applications.

What is benzene and why is it in my sunscreen?

Well there's more to sunscreen than we thought. Like some super recent not so great info, about something called benzene. This is another example of the unfortunate dark side of chemistry. Check it out and make sure to check the list of safe sunscreens in the references below!

Chemistry at home: Elephant's Toothpaste

Here's another bonus episode dedicated to teaching a specific chemistry experiment you can do at home. This month, we see how to make the internet popular concoction called elephant's toothpaste.

How are airbags made of chemicals?

Ok we all get it, they save our lives, and they aren't just a really good Radiohead song. But HOW? Most of us never even need to experience airbags, which is great. But for those of us who do, how do they do their very important job so perfectly and impressively? There's more to airbags than you'd expect, unless you're a chemist and already know this stuff in which case you might not be impressed and that's sad.

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