David Ball Ph.D.

David Ball Ph.D. >

25
Videos
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The Structure of Atoms and Molecules
Episode 4 of The Nature of Matter
Understand atomic and molecular structure with the help of a simple analogy: the rooms of a house and the collection of houses in a city. See how the electrons of an atom occupy shells, subshells, and orbitals, which give atoms…
Matter, Energy, and Entropy
Episode 1 of The Nature of Matter
Starting with a deck of cards tossed into the air, explore the key concepts of matter, energy, and entropy, which are the building blocks of the physical universe. Study examples of these phenomena, and see how they are demonstrated by…
The Strange Behavior of Water
Episode 9 of The Nature of Matter
Analyze one of the weirdest of all substances: water. While we think of water as normal, its boiling, freezing, dissolving, and heat-storing properties are quite extraordinary compared to other molecules. Discover why this is and what water's attributes have to…
The Chemistry of Food and Drink
Episode 15 of The Nature of Matter
Explore the chemistry of food and drink from the point of view of the cook and the consumer. What are the chemicals in an egg, a piece of toast, a slice of bacon, and other typical foods? How does cooking…
The Nature of Light and Matter
Episode 2 of The Nature of Matter
Trace a scientific revolution that started with a curious observation about light and a seemingly nonsensical explanation. Learn how Max Planck's proposal that energy is related to frequency, and Albert Einstein's application of this principle to light, gave birth to…
The Eloquent Chemistry of Carbon Compounds
Episode 13 of The Nature of Matter
Delve into the richness of organic chemistry--the study of carbon compounds that have links to living things. Learn some of the basic terminology, and survey common organic compounds such as alkanes, alcohols, ethers, aldehydes, ketones, organic acids, and esters.
The Amazing Periodic Table
Episode 6 of The Nature of Matter
Investigate an astonishingly powerful scientific tool: the periodic table of the elements. Delve into the insights that led Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev to construct the first modern version of the table in the 1860s, and explore the world of information…
A New Theory of Matter
Episode 3 of The Nature of Matter
Discover how the idea that light comes in discrete packets called "quanta" led to a startling new theory of matter: quantum mechanics. One prediction is that matter, like light, behaves as both a particle and a wave, a property observed…
Again and Again: Polymers
Episode 19 of The Nature of Matter
The mystery of a bouncing rubber ball launches you into the study of polymers--long molecules with many repeating subunits. Explore their immense variety, from "poly" synthetics like polyethylene and polyester to organic molecules such as proteins, carbohydrates, and DNA.
Ionic versus Covalent Matter
Episode 7 of The Nature of Matter
Embark on an atomic adventure that explains the differences between vitamins and minerals, among other marvels of the chemical realm. Use your background in electron shell structure from Lecture 4 to understand why atoms form ionic and covalent bonds.
Recycling Materials
Episode 20 of The Nature of Matter
Investigate the ease of recycling some materials, such as aluminum and asphalt, and the impracticality of reusing others, such as certain plastics. Look at the different types of plastic, metal, paper, and glass, and discover what you can put in…
The Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages
Episode 18 of The Nature of Matter
The rise of civilization went hand in hand with advances in the understanding of materials. Learn how the Stone Age gave way to the Bronze Age and then the Iron Age, as ancient people learned to smelt ore and manipulate…
Matter in Solution
Episode 10 of The Nature of Matter
Explore the nature of chemical solutions, which can be liquid, solid, or gaseous, and are ubiquitous in daily life. Examples include dental fillings, air, blood, and soft drinks. Study the components of a solution--the solvent and solute--and the principles of…
Resistance Is Useful: Semiconductors
Episode 22 of The Nature of Matter
How does a tiny piece of impure silicon launch an electronics revolution? Follow the development of semiconductors from the invention of the transistor in the 1940s to ever-smaller circuits that are now measured in nanometers. Along the way, discover how…
The Future of Materials
Episode 24 of The Nature of Matter
Close your study of the nature of matter by looking ahead at ambitious goals for future materials, and review examples of past science fiction that's now science fact. Achievements like the Moon landings and the Internet suggest that nanoscale technologies,…
Fuels and Explosives
Episode 16 of The Nature of Matter
Study the different ways that stored chemical energy is released in substances such as gasoline, coal, natural gas, nitroglycerine, and TNT. Learn the difference between detonation, which is what high explosives do, and deflagration, which happens to the fuel in…
The Versatile Element: Carbon
Episode 8 of The Nature of Matter
Study the amazing properties of the carbon atom, which can attach itself to other carbon atoms to form the hardest known mineral (diamond) and also one of the softest (graphite). It all depends on the geometry of the bonds. Discover…
Materials for Body Implants
Episode 14 of The Nature of Matter
Today, medicine can replace many parts of the human body thanks to an improved understanding of materials and their biochemistry. Trace the progress in body implants from dental fillings and tooth implants to artificial hips, knees, hearts, arteries, and breast…
Interactions: Adhesion and Cohesion
Episode 11 of The Nature of Matter
Probe the forces that allow lizards to walk up walls: adhesion and cohesion, which are ways that materials interact with themselves and with other materials. By examining these forces in depth, learn how adhesives work and why cotton makes the…
The Air We Breathe
Episode 17 of The Nature of Matter
Analyze the mix of gases in air, from the most abundant--nitrogen and oxygen--to minor constituents such as argon and carbon dioxide. Explore the phenomenon of air pressure and how it affects human life. Also chart the worrisome increase in the…