Tuesday, January 26, 2010

BBC - Chemistry: A Volatile History

Series in which Jim Al-Khalili traces the story of how the elements, the building blocks that make up our entire world, were discovered and mapped.

In the first episode Jim Al-Khalili will focus on the first elements discovered, including fiery phosphorous, the dazzle of violent, violet potassium and even oxygen, the element we need to survive.

In part two, Professor Al-Khalili looks at the 19th century chemists who struggled to impose an order on the apparently random world of the elements. From working out how many there were to discovering their unique relationships with each other, the early scientists' bid to decode the hidden order of the elements was driven by false starts and bitter disputes. But ultimately the quest would lead to one of chemistry's most beautiful intellectual creations - the periodic table.

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