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Behind the bangs: in defence of Chemistry

The subject's detractors accuse it of being all sound and fury, signifying nothing. How wrong they are

By Philip Ball  

The chemist Andrea Sella's rambunctious shows excite people about science. © Royal Society/Debbie Rowe

Is chemistry more than bangs, flashes and stinks? The question should be absurd, yet the discipline still brings these things immediately to mind for those unfamiliar with it, not to say wary of it. The “chemistry demonstration lecture” can offer spectacle with which physics, biology, the earth sciences, mathematics and other scientific topics can’t hope to compete. But is that a good thing?…

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