Just 92 elements made up the world, but the belief that were only four - earth, fire, air and water - persisted until the 19th Century. Professor Al-Khalili retraces the footsteps of the alchemists who first began to question the notion of the elements in their search for the secret of everlasting life.He reveals the red herrings and rivalries which dogged scientific progress, and explores how new approaches to splitting matter brought us both remarkable elements and the new science of chemistry.
Category:Science Duration:58:42 Series: Chemistry
Of the four elements, air is the most elusive because we can't see it. There's something very magical about it. One of the ways we transform food is by getting air into it. Think of the soufflé, think of the loaf of bread. These things are elevated by the fact that they now contain air. They're ethereal. Visit food labs and Moroccan fields as Michael Pollan delves into the science of bread-making and the nature of gluten.
Category:Culture Duration:52:24 Series: Cooked
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.
Category:Science Duration:58:48 Series: Chemistry
In the second stop in his exploration of the wonders of the universe, Professor Brian Cox goes in search of humanity's very essence to answer the biggest questions of all: what are we? And where do we come from? This film is the story of matter - the stuff of which we are all made. Brian reveals how our origins are entwined with the life cycle of the stars. But he begins his journey here on Earth. In Nepal, he observes a Hindu cremation. Hindu philosophy is based on an eternal cycle of creation and destruction, where the physical elements of the body are recycled on to the next stage. Brian draws a parallel with the life cycle of the stars that led to our own creation. Next, he explains how the Earth's resources have been recycled through the ages. How every atom that makes up everything we see, was at some time a part of something else. Our world is made up of just 92 elements, and these same 92 elements are found throughout the entire universe. We are part of the universe because we are made of the same stuff as the universe.
Category:Science Duration:59:00 Series: Wonders of the Universe
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