Secrets of the Super Elements

Video clips are automatically supplied by broadcasters and distributors. is not responsible for the clip's contents.
Secrets of the Super Elements


If you’ve got a child of any age with an interest in science, record this and watch it with them. It’s a fascinating look at the way strange and clever materials make possible things we rely on, like smartphones and jet engines and MRI scanners.

Touchscreens in our phones rely on an obscure but brilliant metal called indium, which looks like the stuff the T-1000 was made of in the Terminator films. Jet engines need rhenium, a metal so heat-resistant you could throw it in a volcano and it wouldn’t melt. The trouble is, these and other hero ingredients are running out – so we might need to look for more in space.


In the first BBC documentary to be filmed entirely on smartphones, Mark Miodownik reveals the super elements and materials that have driven some of the greatest technological advances of the 21st century, from clean energy to groundbreaking advances in medicine. Mark also discovers where these extraordinary materials come from and what can be done to save them in the future.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Mark Miodownik
Director Laura Mulholland
Executive Producer Jonathan Renouf
Producer Laura Mulholland