And then there was Li

From the origins of the universe, though batteries, glass and grease to influencing the working of our brains, neuroscientist Sophie Scott tracks the incredible power of Lithium.

From the origins of the universe, though batteries, glass and grease to influencing the working of our brains, Neuroscientist Sophie Scott tracks the incredible power of lithium.

Its 200 years ago this year that lithium was first isolated and named, but this, the lightest of all metals, had been used as a drug for centuries before.

From the industrial revolution it proves its worth as a key ingredient in glass and grease, and as the major component in lithium ion batteries it powers every smartphone on the planet.

In mental health lithium has proved one of the most effective treatments. And its use to treat physical ailments is now making a comeback.

We explore how the chemistry of lithium links all these apparently unrelated uses together.

Available now

28 minutes

Broadcasts

Primo Levi's The Periodic Table

Major dramatisation of Primo Levi's element-themed stories about life, work and matter.