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Selenium

December 21, 2018 • 35:00

How little is too little, and how much is too much? Essential to all animal life, but poisonous in large doses, the selenium has proven useful (but then often toxic) for a variety of industries and crafts over time. Get the scoop on this common, complicated element with Ron Hipschman at Everything Matters: Selenium.

The periodic table outlines the fundamental building blocks of all known matter in the universe. Composed of irreducible atoms, these elements arrived from the earliest reports of the Big Bang, the fusion wombs of stars and supernova, and collisions between interstellar matter and cosmic rays—as well as through artificial production in the lab. A scant 4.9% of the universe (the rest being dark matter and energy), the 118 elements currently arrayed on the periodic table display unique and yet beautifully related properties and behaviors. To us, they mean everything: from iron to uranium, their discovery and use have shaped the course of human history.

In this Thursday night series, we invite you to come be in your elements with Exploratorium host and scientific raconteur Ron Hipschman. Follow tales of intrigue and invention, join in dynamic demonstrations, and uncover fascinating connections between individual elements and our collective experience.