Boron is complicated. Elusive. Tough. Created in collisions between cosmic rays and interstellar dust, pure boron may be found in meteoroids, but not naturally on Earth. Yet this relatively uncommon element is essential for plant growth and readily appears in compounds such as borax, famously conveyed by 20-mule teams across Death Valley. A brittle metalloid, boron behaves somewhat like a metal, somewhat like a non-metal. It can be reactive or unreactive. Crystalline or powdered. It can shift from three to four atomic bonds. Imagine boron as elemental spy, enigmatic except in its useful effects. Follow the trail of this intriguing element through ceramics, cleaning agents, fireworks, nuclear reactors, and nanotubes.
In the spirit of amplifying the Black Lives Matter movement and to avoid any appearance of having appropriated that title, our series of talks formerly called Everything Matters: Tales from the Periodic Table will now be called, simply, Tales from the Periodic Table. Please excuse the former title on videos made in the past.