The Compound Interest Newsletter

By Andy @ Compound Interest

Topical chemistry graphics and other interesting chemistry-related nuggets from across the web. Sent fortnightly.

Topical chemistry graphics and other interesting chemistry-related nuggets from across the web. Sent fortnightly.

By subscribing, you agree with Revue’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy and understand that The Compound Interest Newsletter will receive your email address.






Ci Newsletter #22: Acne, tomatoes, & alcohol-free beer

It's tomato season here in the UK, and if you've been growing a glut of your own, you might be wondering where the science stands on whether you should store your tomatoes in the fridge or not. You'll be pleased to hear that chemistry has the answer, as this …


Ci Newsletter #21: Heatwave science and rainbow pennies

We've been dealing with some sweltering temperatures here in the UK over the past week – well, sweltering for us, anyway! It brought to mind a previous edition of Periodic Graphics in C&EN, highlighting the unwanted chemistry that the sun can trigger in o…


Ci Newsletter #20: Ice cream science and creasing clothes

Why do shirts get creased? And why do wool jumpers shrink in the wash?The latest edition of Periodic Graphics has the answers, taking a look at the various polymers that are used to make our clothes.


Ci Newsletter #19: Hay fever meds, molecule art, & summer chemistry

It's the peak of the grass pollen season here in the UK at the moment, and don't all of us hay fever sufferers know it. Thankfully, there are medications that provide a modicum of relief from the streaming nose and itchy eyes. This graphic takes a look at the…


Ci Newsletter #18: Dandelion tyres & cheesemaking chemistry

Most of us probably just consider dandelions to be a stubborn weed infesting our gardens. But they could have a role to play in the manufacture of more sustainable tyres, as this graphic highlights. And if you've ever wondered what the names for dandelion in …


Ci Newsletter #17: Baking soda vs baking powder, & egg chemistry

If you're a baking pro, plenty of the detail in this latest edition of Periodic Graphics in C&EN is probably familiar to you. For those of us who would self-describe as dabblers in baking, there's a lot more to the use of raising agents in baking than you…


Ci Newsletter #16: How solar panels work & musical molecules

The current energy crisis has reenergised conversations around the switch to renewable resources. Solar panels are one of the options, so in this month's edition of Periodic Graphics in C&EN, I took a look at how these panels generate electricity and some…


Ci Newsletter #15: Guinness, green rivers, and crocus imposters

I've learned several fun facts about saffron this week, both during and after making this graphic. Firstly, I hadn't realised that saffron is obtained from the stigmas of one species of crocus. Secondly, I hadn't realised that a town not too far from me, Saff…


Ci Newsletter #14: Molotovs and plant stimulants

Daffodils – harbingers of spring for us, but harbingers of destruction to some other cut flowers if you put them in the same vase. The same alkaloids that make them deadly to some other flowers make them poisonous to humans, too. The consequences of eating th…


Ci Newsletter #13: Chemical valentines & Olympic doping

Yes, Valentine's may have been yesterday, but I spent painstaking time updating the above graphic to include the structure of oxytocin, so you'd better believe I'm going to mention it anyway.More pertinently, there's this edition of Periodic Graphics from a f…


Ci Newsletter #12: An antiviral timeline and 25 periodic tables

COVID has generated unprecedented levels of interest in antiviral medicines, but they're just the latest in a long line of antivirals going back almost 70 years. The latest edition of Periodic Graphics in Chemical & Engineering News looks at some of the k…


Ci Newsletter #11: Plant milks comparisons and animal antifreezes

The popularity of plant milk is booming. Some people drink plant milk as an alternative to cow's milk due to allergies or intolerances, others as a conscious choice not to consume dairy products, and others still due to the potential impact that dairy farming…


Ci Newsletter #10: 2021's chemistry news summarised and hangover chemistry

Last year, I didn't make one of these summaries as COVID-related news seemed to eclipse all other chemistry-related news in importance. This year, though COVID has again taken top billing, there have been plenty of other interesting stories in the chemistry w…


Ci Newsletter #9 – Tracking COVID variants & champagne chemistry

There's a degree of unfortunate coincidence in the final graphic in the ChemVsCOVID series I've been producing with the Royal Society of Chemistry being on the first variant of concern to emerge, when we currently find ourselves faced with another. However, b…


Ci Newsletter #8: Deuterium, chemistrees, and the best moustache in chemistry history

It's 90 years since deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen, was discovered. In the latest edition of Periodic Graphics in C&EN, we looked at how it differs from hydrogen, and some of the ways in which it's used, from climate science to prototype fusion reactor…


Ci Newsletter #7: Chemistry advent calendar & Thanksgiving chemistry

December is almost here, which would usually mean time for another edition of the Chemistry Advent calendar I've been producing most years. As I'm still adapting to life with two children instead of one, however, there won't be a new advent countdown this yea…


The Ci Newsletter #6: Lateral flow tests, nappies, and poppies and painkillers

Since I'm currently refamiliarising myself with newborn poo explosions, it seemed like a good time to dredge up this graphic on how disposable nappies use chemistry to deal with baby waste. Superabsorbant sodium polyacrylate is my favourite polymer right now,…


The Ci Newsletter #5: Halloween chemistry, COVID drugs and anaesthetics

Halloween's coming up next weekend and there are plenty of spooky graphics in the Compound Interest archives. There's this previous Halloween special on blood, or, if you want something a little gorier, there's one on the smell of death. There's also last yea…


The Ci Newsletter #4: Nobel explainers, the limonene myth, and Mole Day

This year's Nobel Prizes were awarded last week, and as usual I've made graphic explainers for the Physiology or Medicine, Physics, and Chemistry prizes.There's plenty that's problematic about the Nobel Prizes: the limit of three winners for each prize, which…


The Ci Newsletter #3: Autumn colours and dodgy ozone equations

With the arrival of autumn, and the fact that it's National Fall Foliage week in the U.S., it's a good time to dredge up one of the most popular past graphics on the site: the chemistry of the colours of autumn leaves. For more leaf-related chemistry, there's…