The chemistry year in review

Many of us view the year’s end as a time for reflection, and chemists are no different. As we say goodbye to 2018, Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly news magazine of the American Chemical Society, highlights the year’s biggest chemistry trends, most memorable molecules and more in a special issue. As part of its wrap-up, the magazine peers into its crystal ball to predict the hottest chemistry advances to watch for in 2019.

2018’s top research stories illustrate the breadth and diversity of the chemistry enterprise, with topics including machine learning, new solutions for plastic waste, e-cigarettes, catalysts’ molecular secrets and hearing-loss headway. C&EN’s most-read article for 2018 described new definitions for the kilogram and mole. And C&EN readers voted holey graphene, a semiconducting version of graphene with periodic gaps in it, as the molecule of the year.

Looking forward to 2019, experts predict that machine learning, a type of artificial intelligence that uses algorithms to make predictions or decisions from large data sets, will continue to make headlines, along with automated chemical synthesis and analysis. This year, chemists used machine learning in new ways to predict chemical properties and reactions. Other trends that chemistry experts predict for 2019 include the increased use of organic electrochemistry and the development of solid-state battery technologies.

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The article, “C&EN’s Year in Chemistry 2018,” is freely available here.

The American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, is a not-for-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS is a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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