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Chemistry: A Volatile History Season 1 Episode 1

Just 92 elements make 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.

Episode Title: Discovering the Elements

Air Date: 2010-01-21