Like the man who enthuses about a TV show he’s just seen for the first time, only to find that the recipient of their new-found wisdom has just spent the weekend binge-watching Season 4 in its entirety, there is a risk that this post will be re-introducing you to an old friend. Nevertheless, in case you are (a) interested in chemistry and (b) are not already aware of Elemental Business, here’s a quick summary.
For nearly a year, Business Daily on the BBC World Service the programme has had an occasional feature Elemental Business “looking at the economy from the point of view of the elements of the periodic table”. Correspondent Justin Rowlatt, with the assistance of Prof Andrea Sella from UCL, takes a tour around the industrial and business application of chemicals. I became aware of the series after reading a BBC website article about Bromine. It turns out that there have been at least 24 episodes so far in the series. They are all currently available as both articles and podcasts.
The following links go through to audio for each episode to date. Some elements of particular economic importance (Carbon, Nitrogen and Silicon) have already been given more than one programme,each emphasising a different dimension of their relevance.
- Phosphorus (6th November 2013)
- Helium (13th November 2013)
- Aluminium (20th November 2013)
- Mercury (27th November 2013)
- Gold (5th December 2013)
- Carbon: energy (15th January 2014)
- Carbon: materials (22nd January 2014)
- Tin (29th January 2014)
- Calcium (27th February 2014)
- Carbon: diamonds (5th March 2014)
- Rare Earths (19th March 2014)
- Lithium (9th April 2014)
- Chlorine (16th April 2014)
- Sodium (30th April 2014)
- Carbon: plastic (7th May 2014)
- Nitrogen: explosives (28th May 2014)
- Nitrogen: fertilisers (4th June 2014)
- Vanadium (11th June 2014)
- Tungsten (9th July 2014)
- Sulphur (16th July 2014)
- Silicon: chips (23rd July 2014)
- Silicon: solar (30th July 2014)
- Plutonium (10th September 2014)
- Bromine (17th September 2014)
- Caesium (24th September 2014)
All episodes are available direct from the BBC website, including the capacity to download them as podcasts.