The Mystery of Matter

This six-part PBS science series explores the human story behind the Periodic Table of the Elements and introduces some of history’s extraordinary scientists. Viewers will meet Joseph Priestley and Antoine Lavoisier, whose discovery of oxygen—and radical interpretation of it—led to the modern science of chemistry; Humphry Davy, who made electricity a new tool in the search for elements; Dmitri Mendeleev, whose Periodic Table brought order to the growing number of elements; Marie Curie, whose groundbreaking research on radioactivity opened a window into the atom; Harry Moseley, whose investigation of atomic numbers redefined the Periodic Table; and Glenn Seaborg, who discovered plutonium. At The Mystery of Matter website, educators can find resources to explore the series content in high school chemistry classrooms (click on For Teachers), including a Teacher’s Guide that supports the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the National Science Education Standards, video clips from the series, and supplementary videos that address key chemical concepts and show chemistry at work in social and historical context.

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