Why is oxygen essential to steelmaking, and can you inhale too much of it?
Oxygen (O) - industrial uses
Hydrogen (H) - acids
These powerful chemicals are essential for industry, but are dangerous to handle.
Titanium (Ti) - catalysts
The metal behind plastics, paints, and buildings that clean both themselves and the air.
The metal that overcame a fiery reputation to regain its role in making planes and cars.
This toxic metal can do serious damage to your lungs, so is it safe to use?
The 'element of life' also makes our atmosphere very dangerous and costly to operate in
How the abundant metal lron became the very stuff of modern industrial life
The metal in magnets and phone batteries - but is some of it being mined by children?
The mineral from the Wild West that toughens glass and stops bullets in their tracks.
Tantalum & Niobium (Ta, Nb)
Are these notorious conflict minerals still being smuggled into and laundered in Rwanda?
Gallium and Indium
LED lighting and the other electronics revolutionised by the elements Gallium and Indium
Radioactives (Po, Ra, Rn)
Radium, polonium and radon sound frightening, but are they actually useful for anything?
It's stronger than steel, but could this glamorous metal become as common as steel?
Nanotech, virtual reality, and the stuff that could oust the silicon from Silicon Valley.
Magnesium and Beryllium
Two metals with sinister reputations - one for flammability, the other for lung disease
Noble Gases (Ar, Ne, Kr, Xe)
Neon, argon, krypton & xenon: From blinding arc lights to the dying trade of sign-making.
Why copper wires? And do solar power and batteries herald the death of the old AC grid?
Hydrogen (H) - water (part 1)
Northwest India is fast running out of groundwater. Is migration and conflict inevitable?
Hydrogen (H) - water (part 2)
As climate change plays havoc with the rain, could we draw water directly from the ocean?
The self-sacrificing metal that brings shelter and good health to India's poorest.
Hydrogen (H) - energy
Is the dream of a hydrogen-fuelled zero-carbon economy achievable?
India is completely dependent on imports of potash, a fertiliser essential for crops.
This toxic metal is being phased out of our lives, but still keeps planes up in the air.
Hydrogen (H) - fusion
Could we finally be about to crack this source of potentially unlimited clean energy?
Why does iodine deficiency still blight children in developing countries like India?
The shiniest and showiest of metals has some surprisingly modern applications.
The poison in everything from paint and sweets, to telegraph polls and drinking water.
Platinum group (Pt, Pd, Ru, Rh, Os, Ir)
Six rare metals that clean the air but are the focus of violent conflict in South Africa.
This metal offers thousands of years of nuclear energy, but is it any safer than uranium?
Why do we value this useless metal? And does it bring out the worst in human nature?
In the final programme in the series we look at the rarest members of the periodic table.
Sam Dilcock celebrates rural life in North Yorkshire.
Pick Your Own
Sue 'picks her own' with the man who runs Lotmead Fruit Farm in Swindon.
Landing on the Moon versus landing on porridge
18/07/19 New TB test, birds of prey, no-till cereals
New skin test brings TB vaccine a step closer, raptor deaths in Scotland, and cereals.
Marchnadoedd cig coch
Sefyllfa y marchnadoedd cig coch.