Nanostructures in butterfly wings

A few weeks ago (before it started snowing!) I went on a walk in the garden across the street from the University of Wisconsin chemistry building and saw an abundance of beautiful butterflies. I noticed that the butterflies were iridescent in the sunlight as they fluttered from flower to flower. I wondered: does the iridescence …

Bog bodies: the chemistry behind natural embalming

Can you imagine being able to look at a body that is 2,700 years old and know what that person had for dinner? Many people are familiar with mummification, a form of corpse preservation. Probably the most famous type of mummification is the Egyptian process, a ritual that took 70 days. It required the removal …