Elements

emeralds

Beryllium

Sometimes beautiful, sometimes useful, always deadly

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Chlorine

John Emsley investigates the halogen we love to hate, but can’t live without

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Samarium

John Emsley looks at a low profile element with some valuable applications

Sodium street lamps

Sodium

It’s salt, soda and street lights, but also much more, explains John Emsley

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Molybdenum

John Emsley looks at an element that holds the key to life on Earth

Iridescent bismuth crystal

Bismuth

John Emsley examines a heavy metal that gleams, calms and quenches

barium meal

Barium

John Emsley looks at an element that, despite first appearances, has some interesting applications

Fruit on an olive tree

Boron

John Emsley looks at the element that links olive trees with semiconductors

Batteries

Nickel

John Emsley investigates the element of batteries, blades and baked beans

The Visual Elements symbol for holmium

Holmium

When it comes to powerful magnets, nothing beats holmium. John Emsley investigates

Coloured gemstonesw

Aluminium

John Emsley looks at the element that’s so useful, so abundant, but so difficult to extract

Beetroot

Manganese

John Emsley looks at the element that has been essential to humanity since before the stone age

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Phosphorus

John Emsley looks at the element that's the devil in disguise

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Mercury

John Emsley looks at the element that's fascinating, feared and fatal

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Neon

John Emsley looks at the element that shines brightly and keeps cool but continues to puzzle

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Tungsten

John Emsley looks at the heavy metal that makes light work of tough jobs

50

Tin

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Education in Chemistry, John Emsley takes a look at the 50th element

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Lithium

John Emsley investigates the element that is the lightest of metals and celebrated in song

Remains of the 5000 year-old iceman

Arsenic

John Emsley investigates the element that has harmed many, but now heals a few

Amorphophallus titanium in full bloom

Sulfur

We can't live with it and we can't live without it

A sea cucumber, which contains vanadium in its blood pigment

Vanadium

When the Earth moves so does the price of vanadium

Lead element

Lead

An element with a colourful and dubious past

Gallium nitride LEDs emit blue light

Gallium

Goes liquid, glows blue and grabs neutrinos

Smithsonite (also known as zinc spar) is usually light green in colour

Zinc

An essential element of life and lifestyle

Healthy brain scan using technetium-99m. Here the brain activity is colour-coded, from red (most active) through yellow to green and blue (least active).

Technetium

Technetium, so unique, so useful, so universal

Cerium

Cerium

Cerium, the not so rare earth metal with down to earth uses

Bananas

Potassium

Needed by nerves, plants, and spaceships

A glass bottle coloured by cobalt

Cobalt

Vitamin B12, blue glass and invisible ink

Stinging nettles

Silicon

Standard weight and stinging nettles

Strontium making a characteristic red flame

Strontium

Red alert

A thorium aeroplane engine

Thorium

The nuclear fuel that could last 10,000 years

Muddy football socks

Silver

The noble metal that's now down at heel

Sunflower

Iodine

A little goes a long way

A baseball player

Scandium

The shadowy metal that shines like the Sun

Weather-monitoring equipment

Helium

The inert element with extreme behaviour

A platinum ring

Platinum

Not just another form of silver, it's pure platinum

Euro bills

Europium

Seeing red? That'll be europium

Wimbledon

Fluorine

Can this most vicious of elements, Fluorine, be tamed?

Indium

Indium

Long neglected, indium is essential for solar cells and flat-screen TVs

Titanium visual element

Titanium

Forget iron and aluminium, titanium is the metal of the future

Propelled by its xenon ion engine, NASA's Dawn spacecraft

Xenon

A knock-out element, xenon changed chemical theory of the noble gases

Diamond ring

Zirconium

Wear it sparkling on your finger, zirconium is also key to nuclear energy

Argon welding

Argon

It's lazy, it's hard working, it's colourless, it's colourful - it's argon