Displaying episodes 1 - 30 of 143 in total

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.

Bonus: Why do bug bites itch? (and other questions)

In this month's bonus episode, Melissa and Jam respond to comments and questions about bug bites, histamine, jellyfish, hair, coffee, and Harry Potter.

THE BIG EXAM

For episode 100, it's finally time for a TEST. Jam has been learning chemistry every week for 100 weeks, but what does he know? What does he remember? Let's put it to the test. Follow along with us and see how many questions you get right!

Do anti-aging products work?

The ads are everywhere. Trying to convince us to buy something to prevent or undo the wrinkles and skin damage that comes with aging. But can those products really do anything for us? Is it even chemistry? Or is it all just a bunch of hooey? Let's find out.

What’s the future of antihistamines?

Could histamine and antihistamines do more than just affect our allergies? Actually yes. Today we discuss new and recent research in the world of histamine, and believe us, there's some really cool stuff.

Chemistry at Home: Lifesavers in the Dark

Here's another bonus episode dedicated to teaching a specific chemistry experiment you can do at home. This month, we see what happens when we crack Lifesaver mints in the dark. Trust us, it should raise your eyebrows.

Why are seasonal allergies the worst?

Most of us know the feeling. But what are we actually experiencing when we experience allergies? How does being around plants and pollen make us all sniffly? Why does this beautiful season have such a dark side? Let's find out.

Bonus: What color is grass at night? (and other questions)

In this month's bonus episode, Melissa and Jam respond to comments and questions about color changing markers, electron energy level analogies, forensics, grass, chocolate, and more!

Why and how do Jellyfish sting?

What's the chemistry of a jellyfish sting? Why do they feel so different from other stings? And what can we even do when we get stung? And what about the popular urine theory, does that help anything? Let's find out!

How do Venus flytraps trap flies?

Venus flytraps: The plants that have fascinated and freaked many of us out since we were kids. How do they do what they do? Most plants just kinda sit there and soak up water and sunlight, but not Venus flytraps. How do they sense flies? How do they trap them? How do they eat them? Oh also, is it chemistry? Let's find out.

What is the smell of fresh cut grass?

What is that iconic smell? The smell that screams spring and summer? The smell so distinct, and yet so mysterious. Why does freshly cut grass have that smell? Why is it so strong? Could it be chemistry?

Why does american chocolate taste different?

Now it's time to dive into one of chocolate's biggest mysteries. Which, depending on where you live, has been something you've wondered for a long time, or you've never even known it was a mystery. Why is chocolate different in the United States? Is it on purpose? If so why? Is there a benefit? Is it because companies in the U.S. are cheapskates? Or is it because they're innovative? Let's find out!

Chemistry at Home: Chocolate and Gum

Here's another bonus episode dedicated to teaching a specific chemistry experiment you can do at home. This month, we see what happens when we combine chocolate and gum. Yep, you read that right. And yes, it's a little gross.

Why does chocolate get that white film on it?

You know how when you were a kid, you'd sometimes find some old, forgotten halloween chocolate? But the chocolate would look a little white, and if you risked eating it, it would taste weird? Well we're not ashamed to say we've experienced this even as adults, but this time we're taking a close look at this strange mystery. Why does it happen? How long does it take? Why does it affect both the look and the taste? Let's find out.

Bonus: Do dead leaves smell like tea? (and other questions)

In this month's bonus episode, Melissa and Jam respond to comments and questions about leaves, labs you can do at home, electrophilic aromatic substitution reactions, pancakes, easter candy, and more!

What is chocolate and why is it delicious?

Well you've probably never heard of chocolate, and you've almost certainly never eaten it. But if you had you might wonder, what the heck is this? How do they make it? And why does it taste so gosh darn good?

Why is cilantro so polarizing?

It's of the most puzzling (and heartbreaking) mysteries. Why does cilantro taste so good to some of us, but taste so bad to others of us? Is it in our heads? Or is there a chemical explanation for it? If so, what is it? And can it be fixed?

What is ebonized wood?

This question comes from a word-working listener of ours. Ebonized wood is a process that turns wood black... without burning it! But how? What's the chemistry behind it? Is it cool? Yes, yes it is cool.

Chemistry at Home: Crayons

Here's another bonus episode dedicated to teaching a specific chemistry experiment you can do at home. This month, we see what happens when we combine crayons, paper, and water.

How do color changing markers change color?

Remember those markers that would *magically* change colors when you marked over them with the right marker? Well while it seems very magical, it's actually chemistry! What a surprise. So how does it work? What's going on at the molecular level? Is it still as cool as it seemed when we were kids? Yes.

Bonus: Does gunpowder explode? (and other questions)

In this month's bonus episode, Melissa and Jam respond to comments and questions about gunpowder, our wellbeing, food colors, hair colors, merch, and more!

What is jam?

Jams, jellies, preserves, marmalade. So many kinds of fruit spreads, but how are they made? How do they go from fruit to gooey spread? How are they delicious? What the chemistry here, and how has it been going on long before we understood it?

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