Skip to main content
4m 34s

What Causes the Northern Lights?

Every winter thousands of tourists head north hoping to catch a glimpse the luminous auroras dancing in the sky. In this episode of Reactions, we’re sharing tips on how to increase your chances of seeing one and breaking down the chemistry behind the colors of this awe-inspiring wonder.

3m 16s

How Do Pregnancy Tests Work?

There are many ways to find out if you’re pregnant. One is to wait and see. For those of us who are a little less patient, there’s the take-home chemistry kit known as a pregnancy test. But how do a little strip of paper and a few drops of urine tell you whether or not you’ve got a bun in the oven?

4m 15s

Why Do Clothes Shrink in the Wash?

Knowing the do’s and don’ts of washing your clothes can be difficult, but chemistry has got your back. With a quick lesson in textile chemistry, you’ll be able to understand the different fabrics that make up your clothes. This week on Reactions, we’ll explore whether it’s safe to wash your favorite new shirt at home or if you really need to take it to the dry cleaner’s.

3m 40s

How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell

Skunks are nocturnal animals that prefer to keep to themselves. However, when they sense danger, this lurking purveyor of biochemical warfare unleashes its primary defense mechanism: a nasty-smelling spray. Similar to tear gas, the scent is so strong it can cause your eyes to start dripping and make you throw up.

4m 32s

White, Green, Black, and Oolong Tea: What's the Difference?

Did you know that many different types of tea come from the same plant? It’s pretty amazing, considering the various flavors and colors, but what really sets each tea apart are the chemical changes that happen in the leaves during production. This week on Reactions, we’re going to debunk a couple of myths behind the healthful and flavorful compounds found in each type of tea.

4m 13s

Why Are Birds Different Colors?

There are thousands of species of birds and with great numbers come great biodiversity. Birds are among the most colorful animals on the planet so today we're taking a look at how birds use science to employ a wide range of chemical and physical tricks when it comes to feathers.

4m 59s

Women in Chemistry: Heroes of the Periodic Table

To honor women’s history month in the international year of the periodic table, today we wanted to share the story of two of chemistry’s most brilliant and bold women and their paths of elemental discovery -- because what they brought to the table changed the world as we know it.

5m 37s

Why Dog Food STINKS!

Have you ever thought about how strange it is that dogs eat these dry, weird smelling bits of food for their entire lives and never get sick of them? This truly is a scientific puzzle and there are many different types of dog food formulas on the market. Some are designed for weight loss, long shelf life and making sure that your dog eats a balanced diet.

4m 30s

Death By Toilet Bowl Cleaning?

When things start looking grimy in the bathroom, and it’s time to whip out yellow gloves, the only thing that matters is getting the job done as soon as possible. So you open the cabinet, see a bunch of bottles and think “Hey, this cleans and that cleans, why not mix them all together? That’ll kill dirt and grime faster!” Think again - your all purpose cleaning cocktail could kill you.

4m 31s

How Did the 80s Get Hair So Big?

The 80s was a decade full of neon leg warmers, power ballads, and big hair. But how did we get that big hair so bad it’s good? A little bit of teasing and a lot of chemistry. This week Ms. Beautyphile helps us tackle the science behind perms and crimping and overall big 80s hair.

2m 56s

Is White Chocolate Actually White Chocolate?

Today we’re showing our love for the redheaded stepchild of the chocolate world, white chocolate. It may lack the rich flavor of milk chocolate and the glossy brown color of dark chocolate. Many people even argue it’s not really chocolate at all. What is it about this creamy candy that sets it apart from the darker chocolates we know and love so well?

3m 48s

Citrus Scent DEBUNKED!

So we really messed up on this one. Even we can have a difficult time with R and S Limonene! We appreciate your patience with this video and here it is for the final time. Rest assured everything in here is accurate and correct.

4m 33s

Can Plastic Be Composted?

Thanks to the demands of eco-conscious consumers, biodegradable and compostable plastics are cropping up everywhere. Are these green plastics the solution to our throwaway lifestyle? Well -- it’s complicated

3m 32s

Why Flamingos Are Pink and HARDCORE

Flamingos may be synonymous with tacky lawn ornaments, but we’re here to tell you they’re one of the most hardcore animals on the planet. They survive where almost nothing else can. And they’re pink too.

4m 27s

How Does Low-Dose Aspirin Work?

You ever see those commercials suggesting people take a tiny dose of aspirin every day? It’s an amount so small it doesn’t really work for pain relief, yet taking low-dose aspirin is fairly common, among those at risk for heart attacks or stroke. Here’s why aspirin works in a baby-sized dose

4m 39s

What Makes Kimchi So Delicious?

It’s the fermented food most requested by you, the viewers! What makes kimchi sour and spicy, yet also surprisingly rich and buttery?

3m 53s

Should Santa Wear a Flame Retardant Suit?

Flame-retardant chemicals can slow the spread of fire in homes and garments. But are these compounds naughty or nice? This week on Reactions, we ask whether old Saint Nick might want a flame-retardant suit...or choose to opt out.

4m 55s

Why Does Humidity Feel Gross?

Relative humidity, dew point, heat index... trying to figure out what to wear from all these buzzy weather words is enough to make you sweat! But fear not, today we're giving you a break down on how to use the local weather report to your advantage, and hopefully equip you with enough knowledge to avoid that annoying humidity fueled puddle of back sweat...

4m 3s

How is Leather Made?

How does animal hide become leather? We still don’t fully understand the chemistry of tanning, but the basic steps are thousands of years old. In this week’s episode of Reactions, learn how leather is made.

Your schedule, your shows, your KCTS 9.

You make KCTS 9 possible. Become a member and enjoy the benefit of KCTS 9 Passport, an on-demand library of 1,500+ episodes of your favorite PBS shows.

Only $5/month.

Get Passport
Supported by