This week The Alchemist learns that boron most certainly is not boring, it now being a record-breaker in a chemical flat land. For medical science, we now have nanoparticles that shimmer and change color as a butterfly wing and in the world of bioanalysis, an easy to stick together microfluidic device for testing toxicity. Thermodynamics, we learn, could be crucial to the successful use of smart materials and memory alloys in making structures better equipped to resist earthquakes. In organometallic supramolecular chemistry a team in Germany has constructed a bronze Matryoshka from copper and tin cages. Finally, this week's award goes to British chemist Peter Bruce who is working on lithium-air batteries that could last up to thirty times as long as current technology without bulking up or gaining weight.