25 May 2022

The Beauty of Chemistry

Organised by:


SCI, London, UK

Registration Closed

This event is no longer available for registration.


Scientists often talk informally of “beauty” in ideas, experiments and theories - but what do they mean by it?

My recent book with Chinese science photographers Yan Liang and Wenting Zhu offered one answer. Titled “The Beauty of Chemistry”, it presented astonishing photos of chemical processes, many based on the videos Yan and Wenting have made for their “Envisioning Chemistry” project, which has received international acclaim.
I argue that chemistry excels in its sensual allure: its colours, textures, patterns, even smells, speak immediately to the senses and are often what draw chemists to study their subject. All the same, I argue, scientific notions of beauty are complicated and not always compatible with the way the word is used in art and aesthetics. 

Philip Ball

Philip Ball is a writer and author, who previously worked for many years as an editor for Nature. He has written many books on science and its intersections with the wider culture, including The Self-Made Tapestry, Critical Mass, Bright Earth and Invisible. His latest book is The Modern Myths.


Registration and refreshments
Welcome and introduction
The Beauty of Chemistry
Philip Ball
Networking reception
Accessibility Grants

SCI accessibility grants are available to support SCI members with disabilities, long term health conditions, those who require a carer, and members who are nursing parents to attend SCI events. Download an application form to apply for a grant.

Venue and Contact


14/15 Belgrave Square

Conference Team

Tel: +44 (0)20 7598 1561

Email: conferences@soci.org


This is a free event. To enable us to control the number of visitors into the building, we are asking all delegates to pre-register in advance. 

For this reason, registration will close 24 hours prior to the event and only registered guests will be admitted.

All registrations will automatically receive a confirmation within 24 hours of registering for the event. Should you not receive written confirmation of your booking, please email conferences@soci.org.

Become an SCI Member and save on this and future events

See Membership Options

Sign up as an Event Member to join this event. SCI Full or Student Members receive discounts on event registrations

Booking Process/Deadlines

Booking terms and conditions