Hunting the Elements

Everything on the planet – including us – is made of them, but how many of us understand them? David Pogue explains the mysteries of the chemical elements that make up the periodic table in this entertaining and informative documentary.

The 90 naturally occurring elements form the ingredients of everything and everyone, combining in countless ways to form anything from solid rocks to ethereal gases, from scorching acids to the living cells in our body. David takes viewers on a journey through the periodic table as he explores the chemistry used to predict the behaviour of atoms anywhere in the universe.

Each element has unique properties and can be combined in a multitude of ways to compose everything in the universe, including the stars, the planets, and all living things. But what are the elements, where did they come from and how do they shape our modern way of life? David travels the globe, from St Petersburg, where Russian scientist Dmitri Mendeleev first cracked the code of the elements in the 1860s, to a facility in Florida where researchers are testing the possible use of rare earth metals in repelling sharks.

The film is punctuated with some surprising experiments, in which Pogue and researchers dramatically blow up more than a few items.

Year of Production: 2012
Production note: © PBS
Duration: 120 mins

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