What is Aqua Regia, and what makes it royal?

Aqua regia, latin for “royal water”, is a fascinating, dangerous, and useful liquid that some of us in the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology use on a regular basis. As I learned how to use this powerful material for my research, I started to wonder: What makes it royal? It turns out that aqua regia can …

What’s With All Those Flaming Cell Phones? A Primer on Battery Safety

cell with smoke

By now you’ve probably heard about Samsung’s recall of all Galaxy Notes 7s. Several years ago the entire worldwide fleet of 787 “Dreamliners” was grounded due to onboard battery fires. You might be wondering, “Why are all these batteries catching on fire? Are lithium ion batteries safe?” To answer this, let’s look at how a …

Putting “Diversity, Innovation, Safety, and Communication” Front and Center in Scientific Research

There has been a recent upswing in promoting a “culture of safety” in academic chemistry departments and labs across the country.1,2 Industry labs have been heralding this as a much needed training element for chemistry students and are happily hiring graduates of the most progressive departments. It’s not as though chemistry departments didn’t care about …