Published: October 20, 2016
Total Running Time: 00:21:27
Phosphorus is everywhere: it's in the earth, it's in the ocean, and it's in your body...among other places.
Phosphorus was first discovered in 1669 by Hennig Brand, a German alchemist in search of gold. Through a laborious secret process, Brand isolated the white, waxy solid from urine, naming it “cold fire” for its captivating glow. Arriving on primordial Earth via meteorite, phosphorus may have ignited chemical precursors to life. Its compounds govern energy transfer between cells, regulate genes, form cell walls, and comprise the bulk of bones and teeth. Phosphorus minerals are mined for fertilizers, absorbed by plants, and cycled to and from oceans. Once novel, phosphorus is now seen as essential.
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.