Two molecules give Sriracha hot sauce a fiery flavor by tripping a cellular alarm in the mouth that usually signals blazing-hot foods above 42° Celsius. When guacamole goes from a delectable green to an icky brown, it’s forming the pigment melanin, which also tints human skin. And there’s scientific truth to being hangry — a hunger-induced rage, possibly fueled by inferior breakfast foods.
These and other chemistry-based explainers and tips appear in breezy — and at times a bit cheesy — YouTube videos from the American Chemical Society in a series called Reactions: Everyday Chemistry. Each lighthearted episode turns the mundane into peppy chemistry questions you didn’t even know you wanted answered. This includes how to ditch the smell of a skunk-sprayed dog and why silver compounds are shot into the air along with water to make unseasonably snowy ski slopes.
The series releases an episode about every week and has been going for more than a year, giving new watchers plenty to dive into.
SERIOUS SCIENCE In this video, the ACS Reactions team delves into the chemistry behind the perfect cookie with a little help from our very own Bethany Brookshire.