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The Secret Lives of Molecules

Published 3rd August 2023!

This is not a chemistry book!

What happens when you really get under the skin of the world around you? Everything that surrounds us – and we ourselves – are made of molecules, constructed from a limited set of elements that can combine to form an almost limitless kaleidoscope of possibilities.

Dr Kathryn Harkup reveals the inner lives of the invisible molecules that make up our world, ranging from the fundamental to the frivolous; via the psychedelic effects of caffeine to the deadly march of carbon dioxide emissions. This is a book about the stories of discovery, the quirks of science and of human history that have enhanced our appreciation and understanding of the world.


Science communicator, chemist & vampirologist.

Kathryn is a former chemist and author. She completed a doctorate on her favourite chemicals, phosphines, and went on to further postdoctoral research before realising that talking, writing and demonstrating science appealed a bit more than hours slaving over a hot fume-hood. She writes and gives regular public talks on the disgusting and dangerous side of science.

Kathryn’s first book was the international best-seller A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie, which was shortlisted for a Mystery Readers International Macavity Award and a BMA Book Award. She has also explored more of the macabre side of literature in Making the Monster: The Science of Mary Shelley’s FrankensteinDeath by Shakespeare: Snakebites, Stabbings and Broken Hearts and Vampirology: The Science of Horror’s Most Famous Fiend. She has also delved into the deadly world of 007 in Superspy Science: Science, Death and Tech in the World of James Bond. Kathryn has also written about her first love, chemistry, in The Secret Lives of the Elements. Her most recent book is a follow up to her exploration of the elements, The Secret Lives of Molecules.


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