Matter, Energy, and Entropy

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The Nature of Matter - Understanding the Physical World
Discover how the immense variety of matter--stars, mountains, plants, people--is made by a limited number of elements that combine in simple ways. In the engaging lectures of The Nature of Matter, no scientific background is needed to appreciate everyday miracles like a bouncing rubber ball or water's astonishing power to…
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 modern physics.
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 in subatomic particles such as electrons.
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.
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 what dissolves what.
Surface Energy: The Interfaces among Us
Episode 12 of The Nature of Matter
A surface is a discontinuity, or interface, between one phase of matter and another. Focus on this crucial boundary, which affects everything from a spacecraft reentering the atmosphere to the efficient washing of clothes. Explore surface phenomena such as films, surface tension, and catalysts.
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 and molecules their distinctive properties.
The Stellar Atom-Building Machine
Episode 5 of The Nature of Matter
Where did atoms come from? Trace the story of nucleosynthesis--the formation of complex nuclei and atoms. Cover this process from the big bang, which filled the universe with hydrogen and helium, to the events inside stars that produced practically all of the heavier elements.
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 it contains.
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 other types of pure carbon: fullerenes, nanotubes, and graphene.
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 do with the existence of life.
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 best towels.