The natural history of a sunbeam – A leaf from nature (1976)

George Porter

Sir George Porter looks at how leaves process light for food.

Watch time: 59:46
George Porter speaking, in from of a chalk board with equations he has written
Credit: Royal Institution

Lecture 3 – A leaf from nature

Sir George Porter delves into the link between food and energy in relation to sunlight.

A cake is used to demonstrate how we get energy from our food with an explanation of how this happens. George also looks at how various catalysts aid this, by describing what they are and how they work.

There is also a selection of plant-based experiments which explain how light helps fuel energy and photosynthesis, and a demo illustrating 'cold light' that female fireflies produce.


British scientist and winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry Sir George Porter explains the power of light, from the role it plays in stimulating life to supplying energy to our homes, in this selection of engaging and entertaining CHRISTMAS LECTURES from 1976.  

In this series of six videos filmed at the Ri, Sir George Porter, former Director of the Ri and Baron Porter of Luddenham, takes the audience through a plethora of demonstrations and explanations on the importance of sunbeams.