Royal Institution Christmas Lectures

Episode 1. Royal Institution Christmas Lectures 2012: The Modern Alchemist: Air: The Elixir of Life

Radio Times
Review by:
James Gill

Dr Peter Wothers unlocks the mysteries of the ancient elements of air, water and earth – illuminating them for young people with a good deal of fire, too – in this year’s three daily lectures entitled “The Modern Alchemist”. The Cambridge scientist joins a prestigious line of lecturers including David Attenborough and Susan Greenfield, stretching all the way back to Michael Faraday in 1825.

Dr Wothers demonstrates through a series of spectacular experiments how chemistry transforms the way we view the world, from the jewels deep inside the Earth to the lethal elements we happily eat every day.

About this programme

New series. Peter Wothers explores the scientific elements using a periodic table made from audience members at the Royal Institution in London, to help uncover what the medieval alchemists knew about the air people breathe. In his investigation, he reveals these elements can be used to control fire, defy gravity and harness the power of a lightning storm.

Cast and crew


Peter Wothers


Executive Producer
David Dugan
Joe Myerscough