There is no denying that there is some great science content on Youtube, but one of the absolute best series of videos is from “Periodic Videos,” which dubs itself “Your ultimate channel for all things chemistry.” It lives up to this claim and then some! The videos are produced by the University of Nottingham, which should really be commended for its effort in public outreach education via Youtube.
The videos are about chemistry in general and especially about the elements. What makes these videos especially unique is that they go to great lengths to actually provide hands-on demonstrations with samples of the elements being featured, even in cases where the element is so rare, reactive or radioactive that it is not normally available for direct observation. In some cases, videos were made while the element was not available and then new versions were created once the facilities or samples necessary for the demonstration could be secured.
Here are a few of my favorites:
- Fluorine (version II, with actual fluorine) – An element which is so reactive that it is very rarely seen in its raw gaseous form. It will react with damn near anything, making it very difficult to store and work with.
- Gold at the Gold Bullion Vault of the Bank of England – It’s pretty amazing that they were able to get access to film here.
- Difficult Elements – This describes some of the more difficult elements to obtain. I was floored to hear that thorium has become extremely difficult to obtain due to regulations in the UK and elsewhere. Thorium is naturally occurring and is commonly used in welding rods and some other products. It is less radioactive than uranium. I myself have had no trouble at all obtaining thorium nitrate, but apparently thorium metal is another story. (although you could produce it from thorium nitrate with a series of reactions.) In any case, it goes to show that regulations are often not based on sound science.
- Plutonium – Yes, they did go to see plutonium, at a laboratory at Sellafield. Not in its elemental form, but still very fascinating. Also learn about the IPPu club.
- Radioactive Lab – Some great scenes of many the equipment in a laboratory equipped for radioactive chemicals, including negative pressure gloveboxes and some of the safety procedures used.
I could really go on for ever with this, because these videos are so good. I must have lost hours watching these, but then again, it’s a lot better than losing hours watching Jersey Shore.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 8th, 2013 at 9:05 pm and is filed under Education, Good Science, media, Misc. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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