Chemistry and Our Universe: How It All Works

Watch Chemistry and Our Universe: How It All Works

  • 2016
  • 1 Season

Chemistry and Our Universe: How It All Works from The Great Courses Signature Collection is a fascinating educational show starring renowned scientist, Ron B. Davis Jr. He takes viewers on an exciting and educational journey through the vast, complex world of chemistry, explaining how it works and deepening viewers' understanding of the universe.

Throughout the series, Davis expertly unpacks the fundamental concepts of chemistry to a broad audience, sharing with them the knowledge of the building blocks of the universe, from atoms to molecules. The show covers a broad range of topics, from the basic principles of chemistry to the intricacies of chemical reactions, and much more.

Davis uses a mixture of diagrams, real-life examples, and experiments to bring the world of chemistry to life. He explains complex chemical concepts in a simple and understandable way, making the show accessible to viewers with different levels of background knowledge in chemistry.

One of the key highlights of the show is its emphasis on the idea that everything in the universe is made up of chemicals. Davis expertly demonstrates how chemical reactions take place all around us, often without us even realizing it – from the air that we breathe to the food that we eat.

Another exciting aspect of the show is its focus on the applications of chemistry in the real world. Davis reveals the many ways in which chemistry is crucial to everyday life, from the production of medicines to the creation of new materials that are essential to modern society.

Through the course of the show, Davis introduces viewers to some of the primary methods used by chemists to study the universe. He shares his deep understanding of chemistry by explaining important concepts such as the periodic table, chemical bonding, and atomic structure.

One of the key benefits of watching the show is the way in which it connects the power of chemistry to how we can better understand the universe. Davis showcases how examining the world through the lens of chemistry can improve our understanding of phenomena such as climate change, energy usage, and the origins of the universe.

Overall, Chemistry and Our Universe: How It All Works is an exciting and informative show that provides a deep dive into the fascinating world of chemistry. Davis is an excellent guide through this universe, making the concepts engaging and understandable to viewers of all backgrounds. The series is a must-watch for anyone interested in understanding how the fundamental principles of chemistry power everything in our universe.

Chemistry and Our Universe: How It All Works is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (60 episodes). The series first aired on September 23, 2016.

Chemistry and Our Universe: How It All Works
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Chemistry, Life, and the Cosmos
60. Chemistry, Life, and the Cosmos
September 23, 2016
Conclude the course by ranging beyond our planet to sample atoms and molecules in the cosmos. Specifically, search for two substances that are prerequisites for life: water and organic molecules. Both turn out to be plentiful, suggesting that the study of chemistry has a long and bright future!
Atmospheric Chemistry
59. Atmospheric Chemistry
September 23, 2016
Now turn to the chemistry of the atmosphere, in particular the 1% composed of gases other than nitrogen and oxygen. Map the structure of the atmosphere, charting its temperature profile. Hear the good and bad news about ozone, and probe the cause of acid rain.
Chemistry of Our Oceans
58. Chemistry of Our Oceans
September 23, 2016
It is said that water covers 75% of Earth's surface. But chemists know better: more accurately, Earth's surface is bathed in an aqueous solution--a mixture of water and many different dissolved solutes. Focus on dissolved carbon dioxide, methane hydrates, and the quest to extract dissolved gold.
Chemistry of the Earth
57. Chemistry of the Earth
September 23, 2016
Take a short tour of geochemistry, starting at Earth's core and working your way to the surface. Discover why our planet has a magnetic field, how radioactive atoms move continents and build mountain ranges, and why digging a hole to extract resources can produce a chemical catastrophe.
Unleashing Chemical Energy: Explosives
56. Unleashing Chemical Energy: Explosives
September 23, 2016
Observe what happens at the molecular level that distinguishes fuel combustion from an explosion, and also learn what constitutes a detonation, which has a precise technical meaning. Survey explosives from gunpowder to nitroglycerin to TNT to plastic explosives, and study methods of detecting explosives.
Tapping Chemical Energy: Fuels
55. Tapping Chemical Energy: Fuels
September 23, 2016
Explore the chemistry of fuels, which are materials that react with an oxidant to produce energy. Start with cellulose, the primary constituent of wood, then survey petroleum distillates, such as kerosene, diesel, and gasoline. Close by learning how plant oils can be used to make biodiesel, which behaves similarly to petroleum-based diesel.
Chemical Weapons
54. Chemical Weapons
September 23, 2016
Delve into the dark world of chemistry as a weapon of war. Crude chemical weapons were used in antiquity, but they didn't reach true sophistication and strategic significance until World War I. Profile the father of modern chemical warfare, chemist Fritz Haber, and look at the specific action of a number of deadly chemical agents.
Poisons, Toxins, and Venoms
53. Poisons, Toxins, and Venoms
September 23, 2016
Survey the types of chemicals that can harm human health. First, analyze the differences between a poison, a toxin, and a venom. Then, study examples of each, learning how arsenic disrupts ATP production, what makes nicotine deadlier than most people realize, and why venoms are typically complex proteins.
Medicinal Chemistry
52. Medicinal Chemistry
September 23, 2016
Probe the methods used by researchers to create molecules that can correct medical problems such as inflammation, bacterial infections, and cancer. As an example, study the lock-and-key model of enzyme activity, which explains how many enzymes work, highlighting a potential weak link that can be exploited by drugs.
Biological Polymers
51. Biological Polymers
September 23, 2016
Turn from synthetic polymers to biopolymers--those that occur naturally. Focus on polysaccharides, nucleic acids, and proteins (including a special class of proteins, enzymes). Discover that living systems exercise a level of control over the synthesis of these polymers that no chemist could ever hope to achieve in the lab.
Synthetic Polymers
50. Synthetic Polymers
September 23, 2016
Starting with the mystery of the ancient Mayan rubber ball, trace the story of polymer chemistry from lucky accidents to the advances of chemist Hermann Staudinger, who in the early 20th century showed that polymers are macromolecules. Learn how synthetic polymers are created.
Reactions in Organic Chemistry
49. Reactions in Organic Chemistry
January 1, 1970
Get a taste of one of the favorite challenges for organic chemists--turning one organic compound into another. Focus on three types of reactions from the many used in organic synthesis: substitution, elimination, and addition. Close by considering the vital role of water in organic chemistry.
Heteroatoms and Functional Groups
48. Heteroatoms and Functional Groups
September 23, 2016
Hydrocarbons contain only hydrogen and carbon atoms. See how some of the hydrogen atoms can be replaced with new elements and groups of elements to create compounds with new properties. These heteroatoms and functional groups form virtually unlimited combinations of organic molecules.
Introduction to Organic Chemistry
47. Introduction to Organic Chemistry
September 23, 2016
Launch into the first of three lectures on organic chemistry, which is the field dealing with carbon-based molecules, and understand why carbon makes such a versatile molecule. As an example, survey the incredible variety displayed by hydrocarbons, from bitumen (asphalt) to gasoline and methane.
Building Things Up: Nuclear Fusion
46. Building Things Up: Nuclear Fusion
September 23, 2016
Revisit the nuclear energy binding curve, noting that most elements lighter than iron can release energy by fusing together. This is an even more energetic reaction than fission, and it is what powers the sun. Follow the development of fusion weapons and the so-far-unrealized dream of fusion reactors.
Breaking Things Down: Nuclear Fission
45. Breaking Things Down: Nuclear Fission
September 23, 2016
In the 1940s, scientists worked out techniques for speeding up the radioactivity of uranium isotopes by means of a fission chain reaction. See this process modeled with an array of mousetraps, demonstrating how the reaction can be controlled in a reactor or unleashed catastrophically in a bomb.
Binding Energy and the Mass Defect
44. Binding Energy and the Mass Defect
September 23, 2016
Dig deeper into the nucleus to discover how so little matter can convert into the tremendous energy of a nuclear explosion, as described by Albert Einstein's famous mass-energy equation. Focus on nuclear binding energy and mass defect, both of which are connected to the release of nuclear energy.
Nuclear Chemistry and Radiation
43. Nuclear Chemistry and Radiation
September 23, 2016
The energy stored in chemical bonds pales next to the energy holding atomic nuclei together. Look back to the gradual unlocking of the secrets of the nucleus, the discovery of radiation emanating from elements such as uranium, and the eventual harnessing of this phenomenon for weapons, electrical power, and medical treatments.
Storing Electrical Potential: Batteries
42. Storing Electrical Potential: Batteries
September 23, 2016
Apply your understanding of electrochemistry to one of the most influential inventions of all time: the electrical storage battery. Trace the evolution of batteries from ancient times to Alessandro Volta's pioneering voltaic cell, developed in 1800, to today's alkaline, lithium, and other innovative battery technologies.
Electromotive Force and Free Energy
41. Electromotive Force and Free Energy
September 23, 2016
Meet three scientists who laid the foundations for electrochemistry. Robert Millikan measured the charge on the electron. Michael Faraday discovered the relationship between free energy and electrical potential. Walther Nernst formulated the relationship between redox potential and equilibrium constants. Their contributions paved the way for what came next.
Electron Exchange: Redox Reactions
40. Electron Exchange: Redox Reactions
September 23, 2016
Encounter reduction-oxidation (redox) reactions, which involve the exchange of electrons between substances. Discover that this process explains geological events on the early Earth, including why iron in its metallic state is so rare in nature. Then explore associated phenomena, including the activity series of metals.
Structural Basis for Acidity
39. Structural Basis for Acidity
September 23, 2016
Complete your study of acids and bases by searching out the fundamental causes of their disparate behavior. For example, why is there a difference in the ease with which various acids ionize? Your search draws on concepts from previous lectures, including electronegativity, molecular geometry, hybridization, and covalent bonding.
Polyprotic Acids
38. Polyprotic Acids
September 23, 2016
So far, you have focused on acids that donate a single hydrogen ion in an acid-base reaction. Now turn to polyprotic acids--those that donate more than one proton per molecule. Investigate the complex ionization processes that ensue, and see how they play a role in regulating blood pH.
Acid-Base Reactions and Buffers
37. Acid-Base Reactions and Buffers
September 23, 2016
Mix things up by looking at what happens when acids and bases combine. See how a desired pH can be achieved through regulation of acid-base reactions. In the process, learn how to use the Henderson-Hasselbalch equation, which is indispensable in biology and medicine.
Weak Acids and Bases
36. Weak Acids and Bases
September 23, 2016
In the previous lecture, you delved into strong acids and bases--those that ionize completely in solution. In this lecture, survey weak acids and bases, zeroing in on why they only partially ionize. Practice techniques for calculating their properties and concentrations in various solutions.
Acids, Bases, and the pH Scale
35. Acids, Bases, and the pH Scale
September 23, 2016
Now turn to acids and bases. Review the search for the defining qualities of these ubiquitous substances--a quest that eluded scientists until independent discoveries made by J. N. Bronsted and T. M. Lowry in the 1920s. Then hear how chemist Soren Sorensen devised the pH scale for measuring acidity and basicity.
Manipulating Chemical Equilibrium
34. Manipulating Chemical Equilibrium
September 23, 2016
Continue your study of gas-phase equilibria by investigating Le Chatelier's principle, which describes what happens when a chemical system is disturbed. Examine three different scenarios that employ this rule. Close by exploring a world-shaking application of Le Chatelier's principle.
The Back and Forth of Equilibrium
33. The Back and Forth of Equilibrium
September 23, 2016
What happens when reactions can be reversed? Study reactions that take place simultaneously in both directions, leading to a dynamic equilibrium. Focus on homogeneous equilibria, which involve reactants and products in the same phase. Close with an introduction to the reaction quotient.
Reaction Mechanisms and Catalysis
32. Reaction Mechanisms and Catalysis
September 23, 2016
Chemical reactions often take place in a series of steps, converting starting materials into intermediates, which are then converted into products. Each stage in this process has its own associated rate law. Learn how to analyze these steps, and consider a very special class of reactants: catalysts.
Temperature and Reaction Rates
31. Temperature and Reaction Rates
September 23, 2016
Focus on the effect of temperature on reaction rates. Learn how to use the Arrhenius equation to calculate the activation energy for a reaction, and practice solving problems. For example, why does cooling food in a refrigerator reduce the spoilage so dramatically?
Modeling Reaction Rates
30. Modeling Reaction Rates
September 23, 2016
Starting with a classic experiment called the elephant's toothpaste, begin your investigation of reaction rates. Learn to express rates mathematically and understand the importance of rate order, which is related to the powers of the concentrations. Extend these ideas to half-life equations, which are vital for dating geologic processes and archaeological artifacts.
Colligative Properties of Solutions
29. Colligative Properties of Solutions
September 23, 2016
Certain properties of solutions depend only on the concentration of the solute particles dissolved, not on the nature of the particles. Called colligative properties, these involve such behaviors as lowering the freezing point, raising the boiling point, and osmotic pressure. Study examples of each.
Solubility and Saturation
28. Solubility and Saturation
September 23, 2016
Continue your investigation of solutions by probing the maximum solubility of materials in water and the concept of saturated solutions. Explore the effect of temperature on solutions. Then, watch Professor Davis demonstrate Henry's law on the solubility of gases in liquids and the phenomenon of supersaturation.
Mixing It Up: Solutions
27. Mixing It Up: Solutions
September 23, 2016
Dip into the nature of solutions, distinguishing between solutes and the solvent. Review ways of reporting solution concentrations, including molarity, molality, parts per million, and parts per billion. See how chemists prepare solutions of known concentrations and also use light to determine concentration.
Covalent Solids
26. Covalent Solids
September 23, 2016
Examine solids that are held together by forces other than metallic bonds. For example, sodium chloride (table salt) exhibits a lattice structure joined by ionic bonds; molecular solids such as sugar have covalent bonds; and diamond and graphite are cases of covalent network solids, as are silicates.
Metals and Ionic Solids
25. Metals and Ionic Solids
September 23, 2016
Solids are characterized by a defined volume and shape, created by close packing of atoms, ions, or molecules. Focus on how packing is very regular in crystalline solids, which display lattice geometries. In particular, study the structure and properties of metals and alloys.
Liquids and Their Properties
24. Liquids and Their Properties
September 23, 2016
Now turn to liquids, which have a more complicated behavior than gases. The same intermolecular forces apply to both, but at much closer range for liquids. Explore the resulting properties, including viscosity, volatility, incompressibility, and miscibility. Also consider applications of these qualities.
Halo Effects and Choice
23. Halo Effects and Choice
September 23, 2016
Can a marketing campaign affect how a food tastes? Even though you know the ad hasn't changed the food itself, medical imaging reveals that your brain reacts as if it did! Learn about the fascinating ways in which this halo effect can hinder or help the accuracy of your decision making.
How Evaluability Affects Decisions
22. How Evaluability Affects Decisions
September 23, 2016
Research shows that when evaluating options, we tend to place more importance on attributes we understand and less importance on those we don't--without considering relevance to the decision at hand. Learn how to better evaluate the choices in front of you and to avoid as many poor-decision pitfalls as possible.
Phase Changes in Matter
21. Phase Changes in Matter
September 23, 2016
Survey events at the molecular level when substances convert between solid, liquid, and gaseous phases. Pay particular attention to the role of temperature and pressure on these transitions. Become familiar with a powerful tool of prediction called the phase diagram.
Intermolecular Forces
20. Intermolecular Forces
September 23, 2016
Investigate the physical properties that define the most common phases of matter: solids, liquids, and gases. Then, focus on the intermolecular forces that control which of these phases a substance occupies. Analyze the role of London dispersion forces, dipole-dipole interactions, and hydrogen bonding.
How Framing Effects Guide Decisions
19. How Framing Effects Guide Decisions
September 23, 2016
Even as children, we learned that the way in which we presented a choice to our parents was often as important as the specific question we asked. Decision science reveals just how that tool--decision framing--can be used to our benefit, and how it is used to manipulate our choices as consumers.
Entropy: The Role of Randomness
18. Entropy: The Role of Randomness
September 23, 2016
Now turn to entropy, which is a measure of disorder. According to the second law of thermodynamics, the entropy of closed systems always increases. See how this change can be calculated in chemical reactions by using the absolute entropy table.
Decision Rules
17. Decision Rules
September 23, 2016
How much information do you collect before making a decision? How much is optimal? Do you focus on the pertinent data or let extraneous information affect your choices? Discover the decision rules we use every day, and learn about the many fascinating real-world ways in which we evaluate and compare choices.
Enthalpy and Calorimetry
16. Enthalpy and Calorimetry
September 23, 2016
Consider how atoms and molecules can create, consume, and transport the most vital commodity in the universe: energy. Practice calculating energy changes in reactions, explore the concept of enthalpy (the total heat content of a system), and learn how chemists use a device called a calorimeter.
An Evolutionary View of Decision Making
15. An Evolutionary View of Decision Making
September 23, 2016
You might never have thought to blame a bad decision on your ancestors' development millennia ago, but there just might be reason to. Learn about the often surprising and unexpected ways in which evolutionary drives--hidden beneath the surface of our control panel--guide our decision processes even today, for better or for worse.
Communicating Chemical Reactions
14. Communicating Chemical Reactions
September 23, 2016
Begin your study of chemical reactions by investigating how chemists write reactions using a highly systematized code. Next, Professor Davis introduces the "big four" types of chemical reactions: synthesis, decomposition, single displacement, and double displacement. He also shows how to translate between measurements in moles and grams.
Molecular Orbital Theory
13. Molecular Orbital Theory
September 23, 2016
Discover an alternate model of chemical bonding: molecular orbital theory, developed by Friedrich Hund and Robert Mulliken. This idea explains such mysteries as why oxygen is paramagnetic. See a demonstration of oxygen's attraction to a magnet, then use molecular orbital theory to understand why this happens.
How Consistency Drives Decisions
12. How Consistency Drives Decisions
September 23, 2016
Learn how the strong desire for consistency--between beliefs and actions, and between current and past actions--drives both our decision making and our judgment of others' actions. But what happens when our own actions are not consistent with our stated beliefs? Decision science reveals that we tend to make a surprising accommodation.
VSEPR Theory and Molecular Geometry
11. VSEPR Theory and Molecular Geometry
September 23, 2016
Take the next step beyond Lewis structures to see how atoms in a molecule are arranged in three dimensions. VSEPR theory (valence-shell electron-pair repulsion theory) provides chemists with a quick way to predict the shapes of molecules based on a few basic assumptions.
Mental Accounting as a Factor in Decisions
10. Mental Accounting as a Factor in Decisions
September 23, 2016
Mental accounting is a powerful decision-making tool we can employ to improve our lives. Learn how the process of partitioning objects and experiences in purposeful ways--everything from money and food to debt and social obligations--can increase happiness, decrease pain, and lead to better physical and emotional health.
Joining Atoms: The Chemical Bond
9. Joining Atoms: The Chemical Bond
September 23, 2016
In the first of five lectures on chemical bonds, start to unravel the mystery of what joins atoms into molecules. Investigate how molecular bonds reflect the octet rule encountered in Lecture 7 and fall into four classes: ionic, covalent, polar covalent, and metallic bonds.
How Goals Guide Our Decisions
8. How Goals Guide Our Decisions
September 23, 2016
Can you influence the cognitive machinery that manufactures your decisions? Absolutely. Learn why and how our goals motivate us, which goals inspire our greatest effort, and how best to motivate others to help them meet their own goals--whether it's your sales team at work or your children at home.
Emotional Influences on Decision Making
7. Emotional Influences on Decision Making
September 23, 2016
Have you ever driven a bit recklessly when you felt angry or frustrated? If so, you know that emotions affect our decisions. Recently, scientists have discovered that our emotions play an even larger role than previously thought; in fact, they are an integral and necessary part of our cognitive machinery.
The Value Curve and Human Decisions
6. The Value Curve and Human Decisions
September 23, 2016
Prospect Theory reveals the ways in which our decision-making machinery values an item and why. Learn how to make better decisions by understanding appropriate reference points, sensitivity to changes in value, and the super-sensitivity we all experience when it comes to potential loss.
Basic Structure of the Atom
5. Basic Structure of the Atom
September 23, 2016
Peel back the layers of the atom to investigate what's inside. Observe how electrons, protons, and neutrons are distributed, how they give an atom its identity, and how they affect its electrical charge and atomic mass. Discover the meaning of terms such as isotope, anion, and cation.
How Habits Make Decisions Easier
4. How Habits Make Decisions Easier
September 23, 2016
Habits are our immediate automatic responses--good and bad--to situations when we don't take the time to manufacture a purposeful decision. Decision science gives us the psychological framework within which to understand how habits form and are activated, and how best to change them when we want to.
The Role of Heuristics in Decisions
3. The Role of Heuristics in Decisions
September 23, 2016
Heuristics are the decision shortcuts that people use every day. While too imprecise to lead to optimal decisions, they are powerful tools that allow you to make appropriate decisions fairly easily. However, if you don't understand the limitations of heuristics, they can easily lead you astray from the truth into stereotyping and assumptions.
Matter and Measurement
2. Matter and Measurement
September 23, 2016
Chemists have convenient units for dealing with matter at the atomic scale. In this lecture, learn the origin and relative size of the angstrom to measure length, as well as the atomic mass unit, the mole for measuring quantity and the Kelvin scale for temperature.
Thinking Scientifically about Decisions
1. Thinking Scientifically about Decisions
September 23, 2016
Have you ever wondered why people make the decisions they do? Using the metaphor of manufacturing, learn what science has revealed about human decision making: informational raw materials go in, the cognitive machinery processes, control mechanisms guide the machinery, and a decision is made.
Where to Watch Chemistry and Our Universe: How It All Works
Chemistry and Our Universe: How It All Works is available for streaming on the The Great Courses Signature Collection website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Chemistry and Our Universe: How It All Works on demand at Apple TV Channels, Amazon Prime, Amazon and Hoopla.
  • Premiere Date
    September 23, 2016