The biggest chemistry-related stories from 2016


From green pools at the Olympics to regulatory reforms, chemistry-related news made big waves in 2016. Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, reviews the most intriguing chemistry stories this year to affect the industry, the environment and the public.

On the medical front, some of the big developments include a mini-factory for making drugs in small batches on demand and a slew of wearable sensors to monitor blood sugar and other health indicators. On the environmental front, a plastic-eating bacteria that could help rid the world of some of the most stubborn non-degradable materials was discovered. Also, the Paris climate agreement was signed — and then thrown for a loop with the election of Donald Trump.

The magazine also reviewed the most significant — if esoteric — developments that might not have obvious applications now, but could help spur entire fields forward. A look back at revelations 10 years ago demonstrates that in some cases, the world will indeed have to wait for a discovery's ultimate impact, but that it's well worth it.


The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With nearly 157,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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