Radio Lab shares how scientists took about 300 years to lay out the Periodic Table into neat rows and columns. In one hour, we’re going to mess it all up. This episode, we enlist journalists, poets, musicians, and even a physicist to help us tell stories of matter that matters. You’ll never look at that chart the same way again. Special thanks to Emotive Fruition for organizing poetry performances and to the mighty Sylvan Esso for composing ‘Jaime’s Song’, both inspired by this episode. Thanks also to Sam Kean, Chris Howk and Brian Fields.
‘The Mystery of Matter: Search for the Elements’ is an exciting series about one of the great adventures in the history of science: the long and continuing quest to understand what the world is made of. Three episodes tell the story of seven of history’s most important scientists as they seek to identify, understand and organize the basic building blocks of matter. These episodes show us not only what these scientific explorers discovered but also how, using actors to reveal the creative process through the scientists’ own words and conveying their landmark discoveries through re-enactments shot with working replicas of their original lab equipment. Knitting these strands together is host Michael Emerson, a two-time Emmy Award-winning actor. Meet Joseph Priestley and Antoine Lavoisier, whose discovery of oxygen led to the modern science of chemistry, and Humphry Davy, who made electricity a powerful new tool in the search for elements.