The modern alchemist

When medieval alchemists staged spectacular stunts in front of royalty they never revealed the secrets of their mystical potions and fire-breathing creations. Today's chemists can perform equally impressive feats, but they do so to explain our material world. Watch Peter Wothers in our 2012 CHRISTMAS LECTURES.

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When medieval alchemists staged spectacular stunts in front of royalty they never revealed the secrets of their mystical potions and fire-breathing creations. Today's chemists can perform equally impressive feats, but they do so to explain and explore the extreme frontiers of our material world. 

Watch Peter Wothers, the modern alchemist, as he unpicks the chemistry of the world around us - looking at air, water and earth - three of the original ancient Greek 'elements' that tantalised alchemists for centuries.

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