One doctor's battle with alcoholism and self-experimentation with baclofen led to a rush of people desperate to try the drug to curb their addictions. But are we simply replacing one problem with another, asks Enna Guadalupe
A brilliant rich blue rock, prized in antiquity as a gemstone and a prominent pigment, lazurite is the basis of lapis lazuli, the original ultramarine paint and – as Brian Clegg finds – it even adorns Tutankhamun's death mask.
Cases of sleeping sickness – human African trypanosomiasis – are in decline, dropping 86% in Africa between 2000 and 2014. Gege Li explores the role that this toxic, arsenic-based medication has to play.
It made Robert Bunsen seriously ill, Michael Faraday thought it 'barbaric' to use in battle and even Fritz Haber – the 'father of chemical warfare' – abandoned it after a fatal accident in his lab. This week, Mike Freemantle tells the story of tetramethyldiarsine, otherwise known as cacodyl.
The spice that gives your Christmas eggnog its distinctive taste and aroma is also a toxic narcotic that played an important role in international history. Florence Schechter shares the history of myristicin – the active ingredient in nutmeg
Epoxies – including hard-wearing resins and strong adhesives – can be found almost everywhere, from your household white goods to the Large Hadron Collider. And the aroma of these compounds cemented their place in Brian Clegg's childhood memories.
Kat Arney gets to the bottom of the story of phenolphthalein – a chemical with two very different uses. If you've measured pH in a classroom or had some trouble in the bathroom, you may have met this compound before.