The geology and geochemistry of coal are receiving increased attention in federal government laboratories. Coal may be burned at increasing rates for centuries to come, and thus its properties must be better known. A new approach to coal research was reported recently by investigators at the Argonne National Laboratory (Chemical and Engineering News, November 21, 1983). A group from Argonne's Division of Chemistry has recently synthesized coal from natural materials. The results of this study may provide insight to the nature of the highly complex organic structures that are found in coal. Clearly, the goals of the Argonne program to characterize coal chemically and to document the geological processes of its formation are closer to being realized than ever before.