At some point when you were a wee child, your parents or teachers probably gave you a simple—but incomplete—explanation of why leaves change color in the fall: green chlorophyll fades to reveal the yellows and oranges that have been there all along. That's true, but that's not the whole chemical story.
One of the most difficult forms of cancer to cure is a type of leukemia known as chronic myelogenous leukemia. While current treatments can keep it at bay, the cancer's drug-resistant stem cells mean a relapse is potentially always imminent.
For centuries, we've used a dye derived from lichens to provide the red coloring for food and fabrics. This dye contains a compound called orcein, and we've just discovered its most remarkable property: it can fight Alzheimer's disease.
Near the star Rho Ophiuchi, there are thick cosmic dust clouds from which new suns are born. While the vast majority of particles in the clouds are hydrogen, a newly discovered molecule could explain where water came from.
In a safehouse in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a small team of CIA spies lived and worked for months. Their mission: collect information on a nearby compound suspected of housing the world's most notorious terrorist.
Iron cobalt was the most magnetic material on Earth until physicists created what's in this man's hands. It's an iron and nitrogen compound which is 18 percent more magnetic and potentially disproves theories about how magnetic a material can be.