Popular science is more popular than ever. Its subjects also seem more rarefied than ever: string theory, theoretical physics, theoretical astrophysics. Whatever happened to the more tangible natural sciences? The ones we all think we know — chemistry, for example. We all remember studying the periodic table of the elements in high school, maybe even in college, but do we remember what it all meant? Do we understand what the elements do — and what they can do?
David Pogue, host of NOVA's "Making Stuff" series and a technology correspondent for our partner the New York Times, is premiering his two-hour NOVA special "Hunting the Elements" tonight on PBS. He discusses what we know about nature's building blocks, what we still don't know, and how scientists are using the 118 elements toward purposes we may never have imagined.
The NOVA special "Hunting the Elements" is produced by our partner WGBH.