Soot formation is highly relevant to pollution, climate change, combustion, planetary atmospheres, and space. The formation of benzene is thought to be the bottleneck in this process, and yet it is still poorly understood. This project will investigate the formation of benzene in the gas phase under a wide range of conditions which are relevant to planetary atmospheres and combustion. Extremely fast measurements will be conducted of what short-lived molecules form during the reaction and what the distribution of products is by measuring how the molecules absorb infrared light. This study will improve understanding of climate change, air quality regulation, and the atmospheres of other planets.