About #RealTimeChem

2022 Edition – #RealTimeChem10

Last updated:  29th October 2022

Welcome! If you’re here, then hopefully you’re here to find out more about #RealTimeChem and how you can join in on the action.

What is #RealTimeChem?

#RealTimeChem is a hashtag for the chemistry community on Twitter.

It is a real-time record of chemistry around the world with thousands of members of the community sharing what they are working on at any given moment. Laboratory. Office. Conference. Out in the field. Everywhere.

#RealTimeChem is open to all.

This is a diverse and inclusive community. You can take part no matter who you are, no matter what branch of chemistry that you partake in or what stage of your chemistry adventure you are currently at .

#RealTimeChem operates 24/7. 

It exists to celebrate chemistry all over the world so it operates all the time. You can find chemistry all day and night on Twitter.

#RealTimeChem is about real chemists.

As a public forum Twitter can be a powerful tool to give insight into the science that chemists do each day as well as the people conducting that science.

So what’s being tweeted? Here’s some recent examples:

#RealTimeChem’s mission

Connecting & Supporting Chemists

We are all spending an increasing amount of time online, so why not spend a little of it connecting with others in your field? The online world and Chemistry itself can sometimes feel a little isolating (I felt that way during my PhD) so this is a chance to be join in and feel part of a diverse world wide community. All types of chemist at any level are welcome, from students to teachers, from post graduates to old time Professors. You never know who you might connect with by sharing your chemistry via #RealTimeChem. 

Sharing & Discussing Chemistry.

This is your chemistry, your ideas, your expertise….Your best chemistry jokes. Anything relating to chemistry can be united under the #RealTimeChem banner. Need help with something, why not ask the community? If you’ve shared your chemistry, why not discover someone else’s? If something interests you, spark up a discussion. You never know where it might lead.

Enjoying Chemistry.

We all love chemistry, that’s a fact. #RealTimeChem is another way to show what chemistry means to you every day. So have fun with it, be playful, have a laugh.

How do I use #RealTimeChem?

As mentioned above, if you are a chemist (or a budding one) doing any type of chemistry and you want to share it with the rest of the world, then get yourself signed up to Twitter and tweet about it using the hashtag “#RealTimeChem” in the Tweet.

Anything that involves chemistry counts – lab work, journal reading, writing papers, teaching, demonstrating, journal publications, field work, promoting your latest paper, instrumental work, baking cakes at home etc. It is entirely at your discretion so long as it’s got some link to chemistry and you use the hashtag.

Here’s some fine examples:

At the time of writing in October 2022 there have been more than 80,000 tweets containing the #RealTimeChem hashtag and the @RealTimeChem account has almost 20,000 followers.

If you want to find out what is up in the community then search for the #RealTimeChem hashtag in the Twitter search bar or you can follow the @RealTimeChem account, which retweets the best chemistry using the tag each day.

Disclaimer. Obviously, when it comes to what you can Tweet, there are limits. For instance, only take pictures of things you are allowed to show. We understand certain areas of chemistry are shrouded in secrecy, particularly in industry. Don’t tweet anything sensitive and always get permission first. If in doubt, don’t tweet it.

Equally, be nice to others. Just because you’re on the internet doesn’t mean you should forget your manners. #RealTimeChem is a diverse and inclusive community so please keep it that way.

Meet the #RealTimeChem team


Hi I’m Dr. Jay. I “curate” #RealTimeChem. I can be found under @doctor_galactic on Twitter and also @RealTimeChem. As my day job I’m a senior publishing editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry. I have worked there for the best part of a decade. I was once a post doctoral researcher at Imperial College in London and prior to that I completed a PhD in organic photochemistry at the University of Sussex. I’m the father to two small children and a cat. I’m the husband to a very understanding wife. I’ve been trying to write science fiction novels since the 1990s. Still no joy.

I started curating #RealTimeChem by myself in my “spare time” in 2012. Quite how the project morphed into its current form remains beyond my own comprehension, suffice to say once it started rolling it has kept on rolling. Hello to all!

Assistant Curator

Hi, I’m Dr Laura (@LauraKSmith2015) and I’m the Assistant Curator of @RealTimeChem since July 2020. I have a PhD in synthetic organic and flow chemistry from Durham University, and these days I’m a Publishing Editor at the Royal Society of Chemistry.

I love gardening, knitting, crochet and making music. If I’m not at home, you’ll find me down at my allotment!

Artistic director

Hi I’m Andy (@ndbrning), #RealTimeChem’s graphic designer. I’m also the creator of Compound Interest (@compoundchem; http://compoundchem.com), where I create popular infographics on a wide range of chemistry topics. In my day job, I work in chemistry education in the UK.

History lesson: who invented #RealTimeChem?


Not me. The inventors of #RealTimeChem are @azmanam (who sadly hasn’t tweeted since 1st April 2016) and @JessTheChemist. One fateful day, the former decided to try and determine what was in Lemishine and tweeted the results using the hashtag. The hashtag itself was coined, by @JessTheChemist who produced a storify page to follow #RealTimeChem as it happened. I subsequently became involved in the hashtag by tweeting about experiments I was running in the laboratory whilst working at Imperial College.

One day, we had a discussion about having a #RealTimeChem day for fun and I volunteered to start a little account to keep track and promote things. The rest, as they say, is history.

#RealTimeChem in the news

The fantastic C&EN article on #RealTimeChem
The now old, but fantastic C&EN article on #RealTimeChem

#RealTimeChem has been featured in Chemistry & Engineering News and a number of times in Nature Chemistry’s blog roll (here, here and here). The project has probably been best described by @carmendrahl of C&EN, as “a virtual watercooler that enables chemists to swap stories, start discussions on journal papers or laboratory techniques and generally geek out over pictures of obscure pieces of glassware, vibrantly coloured compounds or pretty crystals. The sky is the limit (well you CAN go into space if you want to, but that’s just showing off).

#RealTimeChem also featured in Nature again (rdcu.be/bQRfr) thanks to Renée Webster and Maggie Hardy who covered the community as part of their excellent comment on “Finding the central science” (Nature Chemistry, 2019, 11, 853-862).

Another great feature where #RealTimeChem gets a mention is in Dorea Reeser‘s fabulous C&EN piece on “The Secret Silos of ChemTwitter” (https://cen.acs.org/sections/the-secret-silos-of-chemtwitter.html) as researched by the brilliant Paulette Vincent-Ruz.

In February 2022, #RealTimeChem and our curator were featured in a Chemistry World story about Chemists on Social Media by Rachel Brazil.

Chemistry World story on Chemists in Social Media

#RealTimeChem Week has also been covered over the last few years by C&EN who have hosted and provided prizes for the awards. The awards pieces can be found online still and showcase some amazing tweets and tweeters.

2018 – #Chem4Life

2019 – #RealTimeElements

2020 – #ChemAtHome

2021 – #GlobalChem

What is #RealTimeChem Week?

This is a yearly themed event that is run to raise awareness of #RealTimeChem and celebrate chemistry. Usually there is the odd prize. Previous themes have included #ChemTogether, #Chem4Life, #RealTimeElements, #ChemAtHome and #GlobalChem.

This year’s theme is #InclusiveChem – you can find out all you need to know in the announcement blog post here.

But…I’ve still got questions! 

My, my you’re an inquisitive soul. If I have forgotten anything, or anything is unclear. Then sound off in the comments or contact me via Twitter or by email. I’ll do my best to answer you.

If you’d like to get involved in the project or #RealTimeChem Week, then please let me know, either on Twitter via @realtimechem or by sending an email to realtimechem@gmail.com.

Now… let’s #RealTimeChem.

-Doctor Galactic & The Lab Coat Cowboy-



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