|1. Discovering the
Elements - Questions
The story of how the elements were discovered and mapped begins with the alchemists who questioned that the world was made up of earth, air, fire and water. Jim Al-Khalili hosts.
|2. The Order of
the Elements - Questions
Professor Jim Al-Khalili looks at how the early scientists' bid to decode the order of the elements was driven by false starts and bitter disputes.
|3. The Power of
the Elements - Questions
Jim Al-Khalili reveals the breakthroughs which harnessed elements' ability to release vast power, showing how scientists are trying to create new elements.
The Elements - Questions
Where do nature's building blocks, called the elements, come from? They're the hidden ingredients of everything in our world, from the carbon in our bodies to the metals in our smartphones. To unlock their secrets, David Pogue, technology columnist and lively host of NOVA's popular "Making Stuff" series, spins viewers through the world of weird, extreme chemistry: the strongest acids, the deadliest poisons, the universe's most abundant elements, and the rarest of the rare—substances cooked up in atom smashers that flicker into existence for only fractions of a second.
The Elements 1. Reactions - Questions
Just about every solid, liquid, or gas in the world as we know it begins with reactions between individual atoms and molecules. Host David Pogue dives into the transformative world of chemical reactions, from the complex formula that produces cement to the single reaction that’s allowed farmers to feed a global population by the billions—a reaction that when reversed, unleashes the powerful chemistry of high explosives.
the Elements 2. Indestructible - Questions
Glass so strong you can jump on it, a rubber-like coating tough enough to absorb a bomb blast, endless varieties of plastic. Scientists and engineers have created virtually indestructible versions of common materials by manipulating the chains of interlocking atoms that give them strength—but have they made them too tough? Host David Pogue explores the fantastic chemistry behind the everyday materials we depend on, and how the quest for durability can be balanced with products’ environmental impact.
the Elements 3. Life - Questions
Without the chemistry of photosynthesis, ozone, and a molecule called Rubisco, none of us would be here. So how did we get so lucky? To find out, host David Pogue investigates the surprising molecules that allowed life on Earth to begin, and ultimately thrive. Along the way, he finds out what we’re all made of—literally.
Matter and the Rise of Atomic Theory: The Art
of the Meticulous - Questions
This program traces the story of how humans have always practiced chemistry; how, over time, it developed from a practical discipline into a science. Today, we keep up the chemists’ tradition to refine and purify substances. A current, real-life application of the “art of the meticulous” is the refining and purification of pure silicon from a common material—silica sand—for advanced electronics, such as cell phones and solar cells.
The Behavior of Atoms: Phases of Matter and
the Properties of Gases - Questions
This program explores the phases of matter—solids, liquids, and gases—and how particles in a given phase interact with each other. Phase diagrams explain at what temperature and pressure a given substance will be in a solid, liquid, or gas phase. Practical problems, like how to safely store enough hydrogen gas to power an automobile, are solved by understanding the different behaviors of solids, liquids, and gases. Understanding the relationships between temperature, pressure, and volume eventually led to the Ideal Gas Law, which provides the platform for examining the conditions under which matter can form a supercritical fluid. Researchers are investigating underground sequestration of supercritical carbon dioxide to mitigate the environmental impact of burning fossil fuels.
Atoms and Light: Exploring Atomic and
Electronic Structure - Questions
In the early 20th century, identification of the internal parts of the atom (electrons, protons, and neutrons) led to a modern subatomic theory. Meanwhile, the study of atomic spectra—the light given off by atoms at definite wavelengths—led to the Bohr model of the atom, where electrons exist at distinct energy levels and move between these levels by absorbing and emitting discrete quanta of energy. The measurement of atomic spectra has applications in astrophysics as well as forensic chemistry.
Organizing Atoms and Electrons: The Periodic
Table - Questions
For centuries, chemists tried different methods to organize elements around patterns of chemical and physical trends, or regularities, eventually leading to the modern periodic table. Electron configuration is a powerful predictive tool, a simple extension from the periodic table. Physical characteristics, including atomic radius and reactivity, all depend on electron configuration and can be teased from a careful understanding of the periodic table. A living document, the periodic table is continually updated as new manmade heavy elements are discovered in research laboratories.
Molecules: Lewis Structures and Molecular
Geometries - Questions
Molecules can form when atoms bond together by sharing electrons and can be represented by a useful shorthand called Lewis Structures. These visual representations provide information to predict the three-dimensional shapes of molecules using valence shell electron pair repulsion (“VSEPR”) theory. Understanding how atoms bond within molecules provides insight into cell replication. Building on this knowledge, the shapes of molecules reveal the effectiveness of important antibiotics such as penicillin, and scientists can manipulate shapes of molecules to help design new cancer-treating drugs.
Chemical Reactions: Stoichiometry and Moles - Questions
Stoichiometry gives us the quantitative tools to figure out the relative amounts of reactants and products in chemical reactions. Balancing the number of atoms on each side of the equation, calculating the amount of each reactant, and figuring out which reactant will run out first are all fundamental principles when designing any chemical reaction. These principles are applied when splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen for energy, manufacturing sodium iodide for radiation detectors, and producing common chemicals from renewable resources.
|7. The Energy in
Chemical Reactions: Thermodynamics and Enthalpy - Questions
The phrase “chemical reaction” conjures up images of explosions, bubbling gases, flames, and smoke. So many chemical reactions have visible results because energy is being transferred from one form to another—the realm of thermodynamics. Thermodynamics provides rules for predicting the progress of a reaction and for harnessing the energy released. It is key to solving pressing engineering problems, such as making the next generation of cleaner, and more efficient, automobile engines.
|8. When Chemicals
Meet Water: The Properties of Solutions - Questions
The majority of chemical reactions happen in solutions—whether inside an espresso machine or in a human cell. For example, when we breathe, the nitrogen in the air dissolves in our blood. Henry’s Law gives us the power to predict, prevent, and treat “the bends”—a life-threatening condition that can happen to SCUBA divers when nitrogen in the blood comes out of solution and forms gas bubbles. Solution chemistry provides tools to measure the concentration of components of solutions, like the CO2 levels in ocean water. Knowing the concentrations of components in solutions can help determine the health of the world.
and Advanced Thermodynamics: Balance in
Chemical Reactions - Questions
Light a match and chemical change happens in a one-way process: Reactants are transformed into products. But there are many chemical reactions called “equilibrium reactions” that operate in both directions: with reactants and products always present. The Unit 9 video will show how chemical equilibrium works, the essential role it plays in the function of the human body, and how it is exploited in chemical processes such as ammonia synthesis, a process that provides food for up to half the world’s population.
|10. Acids and
Bases: The Voyage of the Proton - Questions
Acids and bases are found all around us, and the currency of acid-base chemistry is the proton, or hydrogen ion. Acid-base chemistry is part of everyday life, from baking and the food we eat to the innumerable reactions that keep the human body alive. Acid-base chemistry is measured on the pH scale—the concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution. Buffers can control pH, whether used in the lab or in the acid-base components of human blood. The role of acids and bases will be shown in food—from the rise of a cake to the making of cheese. In the environment, acid rain plagues industrial portions of the world; the chemical nature of acid rain reactions and the environmental response and impact are part of acid-base chemistry.
|11. The Metallic
World: Electrochemistry and Coordination
Compounds - Questions
Metals allow the transfer of electrons through a process called oxidation-reduction, or “redox,” when one species gains electrons while another loses them. Chemists take advantage of this process by using electron transfers to power the batteries in our flashlights, phones, or cars. In biochemistry, trace metals, such as cobalt in Vitamin B12, often drive chemical reactions that are essential for human health. Redox reactions also occur without metals, as is the case when lightening hair color.
|12. Kinetics and
Nuclear Chemistry – Rates of Reaction - Questions
From an instantaneous explosion to the slow rusting of iron, the rates at which different chemical reactions proceed can vary tremendously depending on several factors, including temperature and concentration. Sometimes, like with the rotting of food, chemists want to slow down reaction rates. But often, the goal is to speed them up—and one way to do this is to use a catalyst. In this video, we will learn about catalysts and how using them can lead to cheaper, more effective, and more sustainable drug production processes. We will also discover how the rates of some reactions, like nuclear decay, are unchangeable, and how scientists take advantage of this, using PET scans to reveal the presence of disease.
Materials and the Solid State: Crystals,
Polymers, and Alloys - Questions
While chemical reactions in gases and liquids are essential to the understanding of chemistry, the chemistry of solid-state materials characterizes most of the interactions we have with matter on a daily basis. Chemists take advantage of the complexity of solids to engineer new materials, including nanoparticles, polymers, and advanced metal alloys. These new materials have many potential applications in sensors, advanced drug delivery systems, and space exploration. Today, modern materials are following a heritage—one that can be traced back to earlier civilizations—in which the properties of solids are manipulated to advance human needs.
|Produced by the
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. 2014.
|SERIES ONE ·
TWO · Question Bundle
THREE · Question Bundle
FOUR · Question Bundle
The World of Chemistry · Questions
The relationships of chemistry to the other sciences and to everyday life are presented.
The Periodic Table · Questions
The development and arrangement of the periodic table of elements is examined.
|13. The Driving
Forces · Questions
Endothermic and exothermic reactions are investigated and the role of entropy is revealed.
Malleability, ductility, and conductivity are examined, along with methods for extracting metals from ores and blending alloys.
The search for new colors in the mid 1800s boosted the development of modern chemistry.
Chemical Bonds · Questions
The differences between ionic and covalent bonds are explained by the use of scientific models and examples from nature.
|14. Molecules in
Action · Questions
Observing molecules during chemical reactions helps explain the role of catalysts. Dynamic equilibrium is also demonstrated.
|20. On the
Surface science examines how surfaces react with each other at the molecular level.
Measurement · Questions
The distinction between accuracy and precision and its importance in commerce and science are explained.
Architecture · Questions
The program examines isomers and how the electronic structure of a molecule's elements and bonds affects its shape and physical properties
|15. The Busy
Electron · Questions
The principles of electrochemical cell design are explained through batteries, sensors, and a solar-powered car.
|21. Carbon · Questions
The versatility of carbon's molecular structures and the enormous range of properties of its compounds are presented.
Modeling the Unseen · Questions
Models are used to explain phenomena that are beyond the realm of ordinary perception.
|10. Signals From
Within · Questions
Chemists' knowledge of the interaction of radiation and matter is the basis for analytical methods of sensitivity and specificity.
|16. The Proton
in Chemistry · Questions
Demonstrations explain pH and how it is measured, and the important role of acids and bases.
|22. The Age of
How chemists control the molecular structure to create polymers with special properties is explored.
A Matter of State · Questions
Matter is examined in its three principal states — gases, liquids, and solids — relating the visible world to the submicroscopic.
|11. The Mole · Questions
Using Avogadro's law, the mass of a substance can be related to the number of particles contained in that mass.
|17. The Precious
Envelope · Questions
The earth's atmosphere is examined through theories of chemical evolution; ozone depletion and the greenhouse effect are explained.
|23. Proteins · Questions
The program examines proteins — polymers built from only 20 basic amino acids.
The Atom · Questions
Viewers journey inside the atom to appreciate its architectural beauty and grasp how atomic structure determines chemical behavior.
|12. Water · Questions
The special chemical properties of water are explored, along with the need for its protection and conservation.
Chemistry of the Earth · Questions
Silicon, a cornerstone of the high-tech industry, is one of the elements of the Earth highlighted in this program.
|24. The Genetic
The structure and role of the nucleic acids, DNA and RNA, are investigated.
Chemistry and the Environment · Questions
Dump site waste management demonstrates chemistry's benefits and problems. [NOTE: the pro-industry bias is strong in this episode.]
|26. Futures · Questions
Interviews with leaders from academia and industry explore the frontiers of chemical research.