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American Chemical Society

After several years and millions of views, the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society, is bidding farewell to its popular YouTube series Bytesize Science. But you can’t keep a great chemistry video series down for long. We’re proud to announce Reactions, a new weekly video series about the chemistry all around us.



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How do you recover gold that’s been dissolved in acid? How do we know the half-life of uranium? We take on your burning chemistry questions.
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Mar 20, 2018 Reactions
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Learn more about CuriosityStream at https://curiositystream.com/reactions (CODE: reactions) Cows burp up a lot of methane thanks to the chemistry of their digestion. And since methane is a greenhouse gas, our beef and dairy have huge climate change consequences. This week on Reactions, we cover the gassy science of cow guts.
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Mar 13, 2018 Reactions
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There’s a sweet smell in the air after it rains, whether it’s a spring shower or a summer storm. This week on Reactions, we explain the chemistry of petrichor, the smell of rain.
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Mar 13, 2018 Reactions
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These black preserved eggs don’t look like food, but in this episode we’ll show how chemistry turns century eggs into a Chinese comfort food.
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Mar 6, 2018 Reactions
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We all love detective TV shows, like CSI Miami and Magnum P.I. In this episode, we’ll show what really happens in forensics science lab.
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Jan 30, 2018 Reactions
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In this video, we look at the chemistry of gallium, the science behind the holes in the periodic table, and the history of how the elements fell into place.
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Dec 5, 2017 Reactions
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Watch as Reactions uses some acid know-how to tell a chemistry detective story and sort real gold from the imposters.
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Dec 5, 2017 Reactions
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Reactions tackles the keto diet fad that never dies—The science that goes on with cutting out carbohydrates.
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Dec 5, 2017 Reactions
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Cilantro is one of the most polarizing herbs the planet. Consider it the Benedict Cumberbatch of taco toppings. But what is it about this little plant that stokes such intense vitriol from some people, while the rest of us can't get enough? The answer's in the chemistry folks!
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Dec 5, 2017 Reactions
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Theo Gray is 2011 ACS Grady Stack Award winner and in this video, his real DIY masterpiece is the world's first "periodic table table."
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Dec 5, 2017 Reactions
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Bakers on TV are always talking about gluten, like it’s some kind of monster hiding in your bread. So is it gluten good, or bad for you?
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Dec 5, 2017 Reactions
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Whether or not you have anxiety, you’ve probably heard of Xanax. But what’s in this popular and widely prescribed drug, and how does it work?
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Dec 3, 2017 Reactions
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What do you do when you have a bad cough? If you reach for the yummy, cherry-flavored cough medicine, you're not alone. Every year, people spend billions of dollars on this stuff. But does cough medicine actually work? In this episode, we explain the chemistry behind cough medicine, and dig into the evidence to find out which remedies actually work.
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Nov 28, 2017 Reactions
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We're taking a closer look at hand sanitizers, what this goo is made of, and just how effective it really is against viruses and bacteria.
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Nov 21, 2017 Reactions
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In this episode, we visited McFadden Art Glass in Baltimore, Maryland, to learn about the chemistry of this ancient material.
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Nov 14, 2017 Reactions
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Toxicology expert Raychelle Burks explains how “detox” cleanses your body of harmful toxins.
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Oct 27, 2017 Reactions
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This Halloween, we love horror flicks, so we’re giving you a chemical rundown of the most crucial movie-making element of all: fake blood.
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Oct 24, 2017 Reactions
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For the 30th anniversary of National Chemistry Week, scientists can use radiometric dating on rocks, and figure out how old is Mother Earth.
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Oct 17, 2017 Reactions
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For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Reactions describes what’s changed about treatment options, and what patients can expect in the future
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Eggs are edible and incredible, so we've got three kitchen egg demos that will bounce and colorize you into total chemical bewilderment!
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Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank, and Richard Henderson are the 2017 Nobel Prize winners for their development of cryo-electron microscopy.
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Sep 26, 2017 Reactions
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This Halloween, we love horror flicks, so we’re giving you a chemical rundown of the most crucial movie-making element of all: fake blood.
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Sep 25, 2017 Reactions
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Everyone seems to swear by a different pancake recipe. How can you griddle up the perfect pancakes for your Saturday morning breakfast?
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Sep 19, 2017 Reactions
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What creates the subtle interplay of flavors in your Sushi? Take a deep dive with us into the chemistry of rice, fish, and seaweed!
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Cassini’s mission to the Saturn system is coming to an end, but the space probe has uncovered chemical mysteries on the moon Titan that will keep scientists busy for years to come.
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Sep 12, 2017 Reactions
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Headlines keep on popping up in the news about exploding cellphones and we're covering the chemistry on why batteries go boom!
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Sep 5, 2017 Reactions
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The products we use every day leave behind chemical footprints. Learn how and why researchers are now studying those trails.
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Sep 5, 2017 Reactions
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Learn about an unusual polymer that’s found everywhere you look, from cars to shoes to rocket fuel – even sports balls of all varieties!
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Aug 22, 2017 Reactions
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Going from Earth to Mars? Recycling is an astronaut’s best friend. We're looking at new uses for pee that flows farther than drinking water!
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Aug 15, 2017 Reactions
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We teamed up with PBS Studios colleagues to explore the unique chemistry behind durian, king of fruits and its powerful odor.
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Aug 14, 2017 Reactions
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What’s the difference between fluorescence and bioluminescence? We illuminate the biochemical distinctions.
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Aug 8, 2017 Reactions
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Inspired by nature, chemists have created superhydrophobic coatings that repel water to make raincoats and other products stay dry.
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Aug 1, 2017 Reactions
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Some wine snobs swear they know all of the rituals, but we talked to wine experts to find out how to create the best flavors.
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Jul 11, 2017 Reactions
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In this video, learn how the chemistry of frying leads to the most delicious, crispy, savory deep-fried chicken tasty goodness.
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Jul 11, 2017 Reactions
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Chemists have found fantastic drugs in in nature, like the blood from the Komodo dragon that could save your life.
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Jun 20, 2017 Reactions
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Thanks to 30 years’ of color-changing chemistry, the Statue of Liberty is an iconic green symbol of freedom. But what’s her original color?
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Jun 20, 2017 Reactions
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In this video, we debunk the chemistry that gives olive oil’s healthy reputation and how it gives your food a flavor boost.
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Jun 6, 2017 Reactions
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Reactions is back with Chemistry Life Hacks, vol. 8. with food tips on how to cook rice with fewer calories and make chicken tastier.
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Jun 6, 2017 Reactions
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Anti-wrinkle creams claim they keep the skin surface fresh, making a younger more perfect-looking you, but do they REALLY work?
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Reflecting on the 100th anniversary of the WWI, Jonathan Tucker’s book “War on Nerves” explains the surprising history on chemical weapons.
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May 23, 2017 Reactions
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You’ve probably heard rumors that peeing on a jellyfish sting can make the pain go away, but does this old wives tale stand up to science?
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May 18, 2017 Reactions
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In this episode, Ryan Cross examines the implications for GMO foods and what it means to market in the era of CRISPR?
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May 16, 2017 Reactions
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Have you ever seen a drop of water navigate a maze? It’s possible thanks to the same phenomenon that lets you know if a griddle is hot enough for pancake batter. Water droplets that dance and skitter across a hot surface instead of boil away on the spot are experiencing the Leidenfrost effect. Understanding Leidenfrost — first described more than 200 years ago — helped engineers make more efficient steam engines. Today, scientists are using high-speed cameras to better characterize how...
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May 2, 2017 Reactions
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Derby Day is around the corner, and with it comes big hats, horses with funny names, and bourbon. The latest episode of Reactions celebrates the chemical process of distillation that makes bourbon and other whiskey varieties possible. Since water and ethanol, along with tasty flavors, have different boiling points, they can be separated by carefully heating the mash that starts off every whiskey. Each distillery carefully protects their still design, engineered to create their signature liquor....
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Apr 28, 2017 Reactions
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Tens of thousands joined the March for Science in Washington, D.C. We followed two groups of chemists to learn about what brought them here and the hopes that they’re leaving with. The views and/or opinions expressed in this video are those of the student participants and do not necessarily reflect the official policies or positions of their respective institutions or academic departments. More than 600 cities hosted satellite marches. Beyond our coverage in D.C., we’ve shared some footage...
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Apr 25, 2017 Reactions
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Sports drink commercials love talking about them, but what are electrolytes, why do we need them, and what happens if we don’t have enough? Electrolytes are salts that, once in our bodies, help our cells move water around. They also enable the nerve impulses that keep our hearts beating, our lungs breathing and our brains learning. But we can also lose them — for example, by sweating. Given all the ins and outs of electrolytes, should you reach for that bright orange sports drink after...
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Did you know that thousands of precious paintings around the world are generating soap beneath their surfaces? Art conservators struggle with microscopic eruptions in masterpieces. A huge thanks to Rijks Museum conservator Petria Noble and independent conservation scientist Jaap Boon.
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Apr 19, 2017 Reactions
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How do earthworms eat? If you’re enjoying some tasty food today that has at least one ingredient that was farmed somewhere, you probably owe a little thanks to earthworms. How is it that these detritivores – literally dirt eaters – turn what humans find inedible into beloved compost? After the biology and physics of swallowing and “chewing”, like us it’s all chemistry for digestion. But earthworms have an extra enzyme that allows them to munch through cellulose, the ultimate fiber...
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Apr 11, 2017 Reactions
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Bicycle day's just around the corner, but it's not what you think. This isn't a holiday honoring your favorite two wheeled, environmentally friend vehicle - it's about the day chemist Albert Hofmann first discovered the psychedelic effects of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, or LSD-25. Today we're talking the chemical history of LSD, so get ready to turn on, tune in, but don't drop out... you might just learn something. Correction at 0:09 and 1:13: "Hoffman" should be spelled...
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Mar 28, 2017 Reactions
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We have a lot of confidence that we measure temperature accurately. But how do thermometers in the kitchen or doctor’s office work? Thanks to the laws of thermodynamics, thermometers respond to heat moving from hot to cold as a means of measuring temperature. Clever physical chemists and engineers have taken temperature tools from the simple, but still useful, lined glass thermometers to digital readouts. And you might be surprised to find out how Einstein took thermometers the distance.
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Mar 21, 2017 Reactions
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Pasta noodles contain only three ingredients - eggs, water and flour. But how can you achieve a tasty result every time? Cooking pasta chemically changes how the proteins and starches interact, making the noodles sticky and springy. Therefore, what you do — or don’t do — to the cooking water can change the edible result. This video serves up four food-chemistry informed pasta pro-tips so you can serve up delectable al dente pasta instead of an unappetizing ball of overcooked noodles.
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Supermarket tomatoes account for nearly 10% of produce sales in the U.S., but they taste terrible. What can be done to make them great again? A huge thanks to the tomato researchers Harry Klee and Jim Giovannoni who helped us with this episode’s science.
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Mar 14, 2017 Reactions
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St. Paddy's Day is just around the corner, and so instead of celebrating with a glass of green beer, these year we decided to take a closer, chemical look into what makes redheads stand out from the crowd. It might surprise you to know that it's not just those fiery locks that make them stand out form the crowd.
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Feb 27, 2017 Reactions
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There’s a new trend in agriculture called vertical farming. As humans learned to farm, we arranged plants outside in horizontal fields, and invented irrigation and fertilizer to grow bumper crops. But with modern technology and farmers’ cleverness, we can now stack those fields vertically, just as we stacked housing to make apartment buildings. Moving plants indoors has many benefits: Plants are not at the mercy of weather, less wilderness is cleared for farmland, and it’s easier to...
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Feb 23, 2017 Reactions
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Cats love catnip, but that’s not why the catnip plant makes the kitty drug. It’s got its own merciless schemes… Find out what they are. If this episode leaves you wanting more chemistry goodness, check out the featured resources below.
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Feb 21, 2017 Reactions
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Vegetables are chock-full of essential vitamins and minerals, but how should you eat them to get the most nutritious bang for your buck? Raw? Sauteed? Frozen? You might want to eat those fresh green beans right away, for one — flash-frozen green beans kept for months have up to three times more vitamin C than week-old beans kept in the fridge. And did you know that oil-based dressing and avocados can help you absorb more nutrients from that kale salad.
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Feb 9, 2017 Reactions
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Online entrepreneurs will try to sell you bottled human pheromones, but do these even exist? Many thanks to Alla Katsnelson, who wrote a great lowdown on pheromone research. You should check it out. And while you’re sniffing around on the Internet, don’t forget to subscribe and share. But for heaven’s sake, don’t waste your money buying human pheromones online.
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Jan 31, 2017 Reactions
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It’s peak cold and flu season, and mucus is making many of our lives miserable. But despite being a little icky, phlegm gets a bad rap. This germ-fighting goo contains cells and chemical compounds that help us power through a cold. You can also think of mucus as a traffic light for your health — what turns up in our used tissues can be a useful clue about the inner workings of our immune systems.
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Jan 24, 2017 Reactions
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Reactions is joining PBS Digital Studios! Woohoo! To celebrate, we're doing a deep dive on the surprisingly complex and beautiful chemistry behind our favorite morning beverage: coffee. The chemistry of the universe is, in a way, in your morning cup of coffee — from the evolution of caffeine as a defensive chemical weapon in plants to the swirling eddies of milk and coffee fueled by diffusion, Brownian motion and other phenomena. After watching the video, you’ll never look at coffee the...
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Jan 20, 2017 Reactions
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As Donald Trump becomes president, huge questions remain about his policies affecting the central science. So we’ve started looking for answers. While presidents tweet, money talks. In this episode, we look how Trump’s economic stances could affect the dollars and cents of chemistry. Huge thanks to Kevin Trenberth and Cal Dooley for their help with this video.
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Jan 9, 2017 Reactions
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CRISPR/Cas9 is making gene-editing cheaper and easier than ever before, but the creators are embroiled in a fierce dispute over who holds the patents to CRISPR technology. We went to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to get the lowdown on this dispute and in this episode, after hearing attorneys duke it out, Ryan Cross explains how the kerfuffle developed, and what the possible outcomes of the impending decision mean.
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Dec 27, 2016 Reactions
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It’s almost time to ring in 2017. And since most New Year’s celebrations include alcohol, Reactions’ latest episode explains the chemistry behind its effects – drunkenness, frequent bathroom breaks and occasionally poor decision-making.
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Dec 22, 2016 Reactions
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With the feasts and festivities of the holidays in full swing, we'll be kissing the passing year goodbye, but not without the addition of a couple extra pounds as a souvenir. Lucky for you, the winter also brings something that might actually help you lose that 2015 souvenir of yours: freezing cold weather. Today we're talking fat, and whether or not the shivering cold can help you shed a couple extra pounds.
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Dec 15, 2016 Reactions
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Cast-Iron skillets are one of the kitchen's ultimate multitools with some big time advantages over your everyday, stock aluminum pan. Today we're taking a look at why these pans rule, and for you kitchen know-it-alls out there, pay close attention: we're using chemistry to prove the right way to season and treat a cast-iron skillet. Check out the Food Lab! - http://www.seriouseats.com/the-food-lab.
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Dec 7, 2016 Reactions
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Vanilla is so common, some people use it as a dis. But watch out. This beloved bean may become a rarity.
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Dec 7, 2016 Reactions
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So say you pour a beer but it’s all foam. Do you wait? Try to drink through it? Grab a straw. Just kidding. There is a better way. Find something oily like a french fry or a slice of pizza. Even your oily nose will work in a pinch. Get a dab of grease on your finger and swirl it through the foam and watch those bubbles disappear. Why? Well, you'll just have to watch the video, won't you!
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Chemistry can do some wild tricks with food, letting you taste in a new way. Literally, in some cases. If you stick your foot in a bag filled with garlic cloves and rub them on the bottom of your foot, you will actually be able to taste garlic! It’s not because you have secret garlic taste buds on your feet. It’s because the molecules responsible for garlic’s smell (allicin) can penetrate your skin, get into your blood and travel to your mouth and nose, where you suddenly start to sense...
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Dec 4, 2016 Reactions
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Have you ever needed to get rid of some chewing gum quickly but spitting it out would cause a scene? Not sure you wanna swallow the whole wad? Chemistry’s got your back. Find out why chocolate makes gum... DISAPPEAR! Stay tuned for our next food tricks video -- we're posting another one on Monday, and then a third one on Tuesday!
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Nov 29, 2016 Reactions
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An estimated 133 billion pounds of food gets thrown into the trash every year in the United States, so understanding when your food goes bad is important to help reduce waste. Unfortunately, consumers can’t just check the expiration date on the packaging, because the listed date rarely coincides with when the food actually spoils. So how can you tell if your food is still safe to eat? This week, Reactions talks food expiration-date misconceptions and gives you some guidelines to answer that...
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Thanksgiving's just around the corner and some of you out there are probably thinking about taking your Turkey game to the next level. But before you whip out that deep fryer, you're going to want to watch this video. Today we're bringing you the do's and don'ts of turkey frying, all the better to help you not burn your house down this year.
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Nov 15, 2016 Reactions
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Breakouts are a pain and can happen well into your 40s. While there’s no cure to make acne instantly go away, there are a few science-backed tips you can use to help minimize the number of pimples that pop up.
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Did you know that the ocean launches bacteria and other goo into the atmosphere? And that those particles can seed clouds? In our last stop of the Speaking of Chemistry Road Trip, atmospheric chemist Kimberly Prather of UCSD and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography drops some serious knowledge on us.
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Studying odors from corpses, researchers are helping find missing bodies lost in natural disasters or hidden by murderers.
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Oct 25, 2016 Reactions
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Before you stuff your face with candy until you max out this Halloween, we want you to ask yourself how much is too much. Well folks, in keeping with the dark, spooky atmosphere of late October, we're taking a look at how many pieces of fun sized candy can kill you - if all eaten in one sitting. Oh and for you candy corn lovers out there, we're crunches those numbers too.
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Oct 18, 2016 Reactions
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Four elements have been added to the periodic table this year, completing the seventh row. However, these new elements are not naturally occurring. Scientists had to create them and overcome a number of challenges to do so.