Andrea Sella - Terra Rara

The strange story of some political elements

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The chemistry and politics of rare earth metals.

Rare earth elements - the 14 or so elements with romantic names such as neodymium, gadolinium and dysprosium - have been very much in the news over the past five years. Their niche uses in electronics and in the renewable energy industry make them indispensable to today's society. Yet most people know nothing about them or why they have become so controversial.

Andrea Sella gives an introduction to the lanthanide elements and considers the features which made them a maddening puzzle for the chemists of the 19th century, how they are a key example of turning swords into ploughshares, and their role in bringing these very words to your computer screen. With growing concern that the world may soon face a shortage of the rare earths Andrea also considers the political and economic ramifications of their distribution and technology.

Themes

Materials, Technology

Details

Type:
Talk
People:
Professor Andrea Sella
Location:
London, UK
Filmed in:
The Theatre
Published:
2013
Filmed:
2013
Credits:

The Royal Institution / Andrea Sella

Collections with this video:
Ri Events

Licence: Standard YouTube Licence

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