The Nature of Matter

An elephant and a racing car don’t have much in common – except for the remarkable fact that they’re made of similar fundamental building blocks.

The Nature of Matter” programme from the “Physics In Action Series” of DVD resources takes a simulated subatomic look at a glass of water to better understand the nature of matter, a minuscule world of molecules, atoms, and elementary particles. The behaviour of matter under the effects of gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces; the process of scientific experimentation; specifics of atomic structure; the organisation of matter via the periodic table; ionic, covalent, and hydrogen bonding; the process of radioactive decay; and the death of fusion-fuelled stars are scrutinised as well.

The main topics are covered in 8 distinct video chapters:

Chapter 1: Inner Space The programme begins with an outline of the basic building blocks of nature — molecules, atoms, protons, neutrons, electrons, and quarks — and the fundamental forces of gravity, electromagnetism, the weak nuclear force, and the strong nuclear force.

Chapter 2: The Rise of the Atom After a brief review of elements, compounds, chemical reactions, and the scientific method, viewers get a history of the concept of the atom, beginning with ancient Indian and Greek ideas, continuing through the Bohr model, and ending with today’s quantum model.

Chapter 3: Organising Atoms Elements, the atomic number, the neutron number, the atomic mass number, isotopes, and ions are reviewed in this section.

Chapter 4: The Periodic Table of Elements This section explains why the periodic table is set up as it is, and how it helps scientists both orga nise elements, and predict how elements will react when combined with each other. Viewers learn about quantum numbers, energy shells and subshells, and the exclusion principle.

Chapter 5: Chemical Bonds Ionic, covalent, and hydrogen bonds are the focus here. The role of valence shells, polarization, and electronegativity is highlighted.

Chapter 6: Reactivity This section details the dynamics of alpha, beta, and gamma radioactivity. Also included is a discussion of half-life and carbon-14 dating.

Chapter 7: Nuclear Energy Along with an explanation of the difference between fission and fusion, viewers learn how the sun, bombs, and nuclear power plants generate so much energy.

Chapter 8: Elementary Particle Physics The final section introduces elementary particles such as quarks, leptons, and bosons, and the role that strong and weak nuclear forces play in their study. The programme ends by challenging students to contemplate ‘theories in progress,’ such as anti-matter, and researchers’ hopes for the Large Hadron Collider.

Learning Objectives – after viewing the program, students will be able to:

  • Understand the difference between atoms, protons, neutrons, electrons, quarks, elements, molecules, and compounds
  • Define the fundamental forces of gravity, electromagnetism, the weak nuclear force, and the strong nuclear force
  • Understand that scientists form a hypothesis and then conduct experiments to come up with a theory or model
  • Define the following terms: atomic number, neutron number, atomic mass number, isotope, ion, fission, and fusion
  • Understand the arrangement of the periodic table of elements
  • Understand the four quantum numbers and the exclusion principle
  • Understand ionic, covalent, and hydrogen bonds
  • Understand alpha, beta, and gamma radioactivity
  • Understand the basics of elementary particles

32-minute chaptered DVD with viewable/printable instructor’s guide available online.

A Films for the Humanities & Sciences Production ©2010

Available on approval from Viewtech Educational Media – quote promotional discount code: HHM110 at the checkout for a 10% discount!

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