The Mystery of Matter
The Search for the Elements

PBS
Show More

If you are a student or a professor:

Watch now

3 videos in this collection

Out of Thin Air
One of science's great odd couples--British minister Joseph Priestley and French tax administrator Antoine Lavoisier--together discover a fantastic new gas called oxygen, overturning the reigning theory of chemistry and triggering…
Unruly Elements
Over a single weekend in 1869, a young Russian chemistry professor named Dmitri Mendeleev invents the Periodic Table, bringing order to the growing gaggle of elements. But this sense of…
Into the Atom
Caught up in the race to discover the atom's internal parts--and learn how they fit together--is a young British physicist named Harry Moseley, who uses newly discovered X-rays to put…

Related videos

Elements, Atoms, and the Periodic Table
In the next three lectures, you cover some fundamental topics that you'll need before you can launch into your study of chemistry. You examine the basic building blocks of matter--elements and the atoms that constitute them--and you learn how to interpret the information about elements presented in the periodic table
Out of Thin Air
Part of the Series: The Mystery of Matter
One of science's great odd couples--British minister Joseph Priestley and French tax administrator Antoine Lavoisier--together discover a fantastic new gas called oxygen, overturning the reigning theory of chemistry and triggering a worldwide search for new elements. Soon caught up in the hunt is science's first great showman, a precocious British…
Chemistry, 2nd Edition Course
Many students struggle in high school chemistry. Even if they succeed in earning a good grade, they often still feel confused and unconfident. Why is this? And what can be done to help every student succeed in this vitally important course? Success in chemistry, according to veteran science teacher Professor…
The Nature of Matter - Understanding the Physical World
Discover how the immense variety of matter--stars, mountains, plants, people--is made by a limited number of elements that combine in simple ways. In the engaging lectures of The Nature of Matter, no scientific background is needed to appreciate everyday miracles like a bouncing rubber ball or water's astonishing power to…
Matter And Chemistry Series, for Elementary
Specifically designed for and correlated to the curriulum of a elementary school science course, this series explores key topics on Matter and Chemistry and helps instructors to teach challenging concepts. The films, and accompanying teacher materials, are a great asset for teachers and teachers in training to use to integrate…
The Battle of amfAR: The Quest for an AIDS CureĀ 
The Battle of amfAR presents the little-known story of how in the early days of the AIDS pandemic an unlikely alliance between a celebrity and a scientist helped changed the public perception of the disease and led to the search for a cure. Hollywood superstar Elizabeth Taylor and Sloan-Kettering research…
Out from the Shadows: The Story of Irene Joliot-Curie and Frederic Joliot Curie
Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2009 Paris Science Film Festival in France. Using newsreels, family home movies and stills, stock footage, dramatization and interviews, this biography relates the life and times of Irene Joliot-Curie and her husband, Frederic Joliot-Curie. Though less well known than those of Irene's…
Unruly Elements
Part of the Series: The Mystery of Matter
Over a single weekend in 1869, a young Russian chemistry professor named Dmitri Mendeleev invents the Periodic Table, bringing order to the growing gaggle of elements. But this sense of order is shattered when a Polish graduate student named Marie Sklodowska Curie discovers radioactivity, revealing that elements can change identities--…
The African Burial Ground - An American Discovery
The African Burial Ground: An American Discovery is a fascinating four part series that focuses on the history of the African American experience in New York, urban archaeology, and social activism. Part One - The Search, explores the search and discovery of the African Burial Ground in Lower Manhattan. It…
The Amazing Periodic Table
Episode 6 of The Nature of Matter
Investigate an astonishingly powerful scientific tool: the periodic table of the elements. Delve into the insights that led Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev to construct the first modern version of the table in the 1860s, and explore the world of information it contains.
The Path to Nuclear Fission: The Story of Lise Meitner and Otto Hahn
The story of two close friends who discovered nuclear fission is told in great detail within the context of both World Wars. This video is as much about role of scientists in political events, social responsibility, and discrimination against women and Jews, as it is about the science, though the…
Isotopes and Families of Elements
Discover how isotopes, which are different atoms of the same element, can actually differ in their weight because they contain different numbers of neutrons in their nuclei. Also, learn how different kinds of elements are grouped into both general categories (such as metals and nonmetals) as well as specific chemical…