Ingenious Video Series


Ingenious is a video series from the American Chemical Society about how leading-edge chemistry is taking on the world’s most urgent issues to advance everyone’s quality of life and secure our shared future. Ingenious spotlights stories from the frontlines of chemistry research and development, where passionate innovators are stepping up to confront problems like pollution, overfishing, sustainability and personal safety.

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2 Classroom Resources

  • Resource video 08c88f26a2

    Video | Catalysts, Molecular Structure | High School

    Ingenious Video 1: The Strange Chemistry Behind Why You Get Sick on Planes

    The compound ozone, a known respiratory irritant, exists in high concentrations at flight altitudes, making the “fresh air” sucked in by air conditioners at those heights, well, not so fresh. In fact ozone exposure may be responsible for many of the short-term discomforts we associate with air travel. What’s more, ozone can react with other compounds in the air -- even the oils of our skin -- to produce other toxic compounds, like aldehydes and ketones. Some planes have catalytic converters, like the ones in cars, which use transition metals to turn ozone into breathable oxygen. But not every plane has one!

  • Resource video 08c88f26a2

    Video | Chemical Bond, Electromagnetic Spectrum, Molecular Structure, Molecular Structure | High School

    Ingenious Video 2: What Birds Know About Color that You Don't

    We’ve been using pigments and dyes for thousands of years, but they’re not the whole story when it comes to making color. “Structural” color occurs when tiny nanostructures interact with light waves, amplifying certain colors and canceling others. From brilliant bird feathers to butterfly wings, mole hairs to octopus skin, structural color is everywhere in the natural world. Researchers have tried for years to harness this incredible natural phenomenon in a useful way. Because these colors are so small and complex, and therefore hard to copy, their efforts have met with little success. But novel research using a computer model based in repeated random sampling — a so-called “Monte Carlo” model — is showing promise. Using this approach, scientists have been able to mimic the gorgeous blue of the mountain bluebird in a thin film of reflective beads, leapfrogging millennia of evolution.

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