Articles by Klaus Roth Published in ChemistryViews


Absinthe: The Magic of the Green FairyFocus: Absinthe: The Magic of the Green Fairy

When drinking modern absinthe, is there still a chance of getting a kiss from the Green Fairy like the Bohemian Parisians at the end of the 19th century?


The Amazing Chemical Survival Strategy of a MothFocus: The Amazing Chemical Survival Strategy of a Moth

The secret: the right diet from the start, rigorous sex, and a good helping of chemistry


Chemistry Takes on Paper ConservationFocus: Chemistry Takes on Paper Conservation

Looking into the chemistry of paper disintegration and the restoration of old paper


The Chemistry of Balloons (and Rubber)Focus: The Chemistry of Balloons (and Rubber)

The balloon is certainly not the most important product based on rubber, but it may be the prettiest


The Licorice WheelFocus: The Licorice Wheel

The root of the licorice plant is one of the oldest known remedies – we will take a deeper look at the chemistry of this healthy treat


Chlorates: Tragic Incidents and Life-Saving Applications – Part 1Focus: Chlorates: Tragic Incidents and Life-Saving Applications

A tale of exploding trousers, herbicides, fireworks, and airplane oxygen masks


Focus: Prussian Blue: Discovery and Betrayal

03 May 2022 — Around 1700, Berlin was a colorful center of innovation – a scene that led to the discovery of the century: Prussian blue


Focus: Emil Fischer’s Unsolved Case: Cleared Up after 120 Years

01 March 2022 — We go back to 1896 and look over Emil Fischer’s shoulder as he determines the melting point of his capricious hydrazone


Focus: Deciphering the Genetic Code: The Most Beautiful False Theory in Biochemistry

03 August 2021 — Countless scientists contributed to its clarification with brilliance, ingenuity, intuition, and luck


Focus: Cheryl Dembe: A Woman Who Didn’t Give Up

06 April 2021 — An inspirational example of not letting obstacles discourage you, but using them as stepping stones instead


Focus: Sir Hans Adolf Krebs (1900 – 1981)

03 November 2020 — Discoverer of the citric acid and urea cycles forced to leave Nazi Germany in 1933


Focus: The Smell of Asparagus Urine

03 March 2020 — What substances cause the characteristic smell of asparagus pee?


Focus: Chemistry with Spit and Polish

07 January 2020 — For generations, conservators have been cleaning the surfaces of artworks with their saliva


Focus: Sir Henry’s Secret Pot of Gold

19 June 2019 — A true fairy tale for entrepreneurs—with a rocky start


Focus: Pyrethrum: History of a Bio-Insecticide

02 October 2018 — Chrysanthemum flowers as an insecticide


Focus: New Kids on the Table: Is Element 118 a Noble Gas?

03 April 2018 — The synthesis of heavy elements


Focus: Is Vanilla-Flavored Pudding a Mutagen?

05 September 2017 — A peculiar story about dealing with sources


Focus: Can Too Much Water Be Toxic?

04 July 2017 — Is such a thing as “water poisoning” possible?


Focus: To Tattoo or Not to Tattoo?

06 December 2016 — Tattooing from a chemical point of view


News: What the Public Thinks About Chemists

18 September 2015 — Klaus Roth writes why we should take pride in our chemistry and infect others with our enthusiasm


Focus: The Saccharin Saga

01 September 2015 — The invention of the first artificial sweetener and a lifetime battle for credit


Interview: Strychnine: From Isolation to Total Synthesis

04 August 2015 — Christine Beemelmanns and Hans-Ulrich Reissig explain why the synthesis of strychnine is challenging till today


Focus: Strychnine: From Isolation to Total Synthesis

05 May 2015 — Just how toxic is strychnine, and why?


Focus: Agatha Christie: The Chemistry of a (Nearly) Perfect Murder

07 April 2015 — A devilish plan – thwarted by general chemistry knowledge


News: 70th Birthday: Klaus Roth

30 January 2015 Author and Professor Klaus Roth, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, celebrates his 70th birthday


Focus:The Chemistry of Tobacco

07 October 2014 — Looking at the history of tobacco consumption – from chewing and snuffing to smoking


Focus: The Biochemistry of Peppers

06 May 2014 — How is it that only plants from the genus Capsicum are able to synthesize compounds that sting one’s tongue so intensely?


Focus: Investigators in the Fight Against Scurvy

04 May 2014 — Achievements from the first attempts to cure vitamin C deficiency to the isolation, structure determination and synthesis of vitamin C


Focus: Vitamin C Deficiency

07 January 2014 — It took hundred of years and a long sequence of small advantages and missed opportunities to discover the importance of vitamin C


Focus: The Oktoberfest Rearrangement

03 September 2013 — A closer look at the chemical role hops play in the beer-brewing process shows how beer owes its marvelous flavor to a great deal of chemistry


Focus: From Pharmacy to the Pub — A Bark Conquers the World

07 May 2013 — The quinine-containing bark of the Cinchona tree is probably the most valuable drug the Americas gave the world


Focus: Our Daily Bread

05 February 2013 — Transformation of ripe ears of grain into a fragrant, aromatic bread borders on the miraculous and behind such a miracle lies chemistry


Focus: A Chemical Examination of the Isenheim Altar: Role Played in History by Horned Rye

06 November 2012 — The Isenheim Altar depicts the symptoms and treatment of “St. Anthony’s Fire”, the result of poisoning by ergot alkaloids


Focus: Chemical Production in Compliance with Torah and the Koran

04 September 2012 — Unusual interface between chemistry and religion, drawing upon examples from Islamic and Judaic law


Focus: Chemical Secrets of the Violin Virtuosi

05 June 2012 — What made Stradivari’s violins so special? Klaus Roth looks at the important role of chemistry in Stradivari’s workshop and instruments


Commentary: The Crisis of the Chemist — Chemists and Their Handicaps

01 April 2012 — Interview with Erwin Reicher, first ever Professor of Applied Popularity Research, University of Kleinzack, on how to make chemistry popular


Focus: Boiled Eggs: Soft and Hard

06 March 2012 — When we rap a knife on the shell of a freshly boiled egg we are seldom aware of what a technical marvel we are dealing with


Focus: Pesto — Mediterranean Biochemistry

03 January 2012 — Klaus Roth uncovers the nature of this culinary-chemical marvel, and thereby comes to enjoy it all the more


Focus: Chemistry of the Christmas Candle

02 November 2011 — When we light a candle, the chemistry we are pursuing is not only especially beautiful, but also especially complex


Video: Interview with ChemistryViews Author Klaus Roth

02 November 2011Interview with ChemistryViews Author Klaus Roth, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany


Focus: The Chemist’s Fear of the Fugu

01 August 2011 — The chemist’s fear of the fugu or pufferfish extends as far as the distinctive and intriguing poison it carries


Focus: Chemistry of a Hangover — Alcohol and its Consequences

03 May 2011 — How can a tiny molecule like ethanol be at the root of so much human misery?


Focus: Sparkling Wine, Champagne & Co

08 December 2010 — Looking a bit deeper into the glass we discover that there is a great deal of chemistry involved … only chemistry can be this tingling


Focus: Chocolate – The Noblest Polymorphism

29 July 2010 — Chocolate is a cultural asset of mankind. Klaus Roth proves, once again, only chemistry is able to produce such a celestial pleasure


Focus: Espresso – A Feast for the Senses

01 July 2010 — Klaus Roth concludes his look at espresso with a scrutinizing glance at the foamy, consolidated surface layer, the crema.


Focus: Espresso – A Three-Step Preparation

13 May 2010 — Klaus Roth proves that no culinary masterpiece can be achieved without a basic knowledge of chemistry.