Mystery of Matter Video Library Now Open!

The Mystery of Matter Video Library is a collection of freestanding videos about different aspects of the story of the search for the elements. The videos, most of them 4-12 minutes long, draw on the interviews, re-enactments, animations and photographs we shot and collected for the PBS series, with supplementary animations and images as needed. When complete, the library will include 36 videos comprising about six hours of additional chemistry programming beyond the broadcast series. There will be 24 “teacher videos” covering key chemical concepts like the Periodic Table, the structure of the atom and the Conservation of Matter in more detail than we had time for in the TV series. The remaining 12 videos will be “general interest” pieces that do not address key chemistry concepts but may still be of interest to teachers of chemistry (and other subjects), because they show chemistry at work in social and historical context. To access the Video Library, go to our website at and click on For Teachers. About a dozen of the videos are still in production, so check back each week for the latest videos to be added to the library.

Mystery of Matter Clip Collection Now Available!

For teachers whose schedules are too full to fit in video segments of 20 minutes or more, the Mystery of Matter Clip Collection offers the entire PBS series in bite-size pieces of 1-4 minutes each. If you want your students to watch just a short video on the noble gases ... or the discovery of the nucleus ... or the Conservation of Matter (to name just three examples), this section of the website is ideal for you. For each of the six major sections of the series, there’s a one-page summary with about ten chapters. Teachers and students may instantly watch the clip that interests them simply by clicking on the chapter heading. To access the Clip Collection, go to our website at and click on For Teachers. And let us know what you think!


Many of you have asked. Now we can answer: The Mystery of Matter Teacher's Guide is now up at our website at the link below.

Developed by the Education Development Center, the guide is designed to help teachers make use of the three-hour PBS series in the high school science classroom. (Middle school and college teachers may find it useful too.) For each of the series' six major sections, the Teacher’s Guide includes a full script, annotated with: Stop & Think Questions for teachers to pose to their students; sidebars on Everyday Applications of the chemistry being covered; Notes from the Field with examples of ways to incorporate the program into your teaching; and Margin Notes showing where in each section chemistry concepts are explored.

The guide also includes a Glossary of chemical terms, a list of web-based and hands-on Activity Ideas for students; a list of Web Resources for learning more, and alignments with both the National Research Council’s National Science Education Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Please try it out -- and let us know what you think!
Remembering Oliver Sacks

The Periodic Table lost its greatest champion recently when Oliver Sacks died of cancer at age 82. For his legions of fans, we've put together a brief video remembrance, drawn from the 2012 interview he recorded for The Mystery of Matter. To watch it, go to our website at And let us know what you think.
Boston Premiere Tonight!

Tonight viewers in Boston get their first chance to see a series made in Massachusetts. The Mystery of Matter: Search for the Elements has its prime time premiere Wednesday, August 26, from 8-11 pm, on WGBH/Boston and WENH/Durham, New Hampshire.

Except for the Marie Curie scenes, which were shot in New York, all the other dramatic scenes were shot in and around Boston. Most of the crew members are from Massachusetts, New Hampshire and other parts of southern New England. And except for our host and the seven principal actors, most of the other cast members are from New England too. 

At the end of each hour, the credits fly by so fast it's almost impossible to read them. But if you're curious about who made the series, or who played your favorite character, go to There you'll find a complete credit list of all the cast and crew members. Leave a comment telling what you think of the series. We'd love to hear your thoughts.
Mystery of Matter Now Streaming at PBS

With last night's national broadcast behind us, PBS has made all three hours of The Mystery of Matter available to view at our PBS website. If you missed the Aug. 19 broadcast or can't wait for your local PBS station to air the series, go to and click on the video windows labeled Full Episode.

After you watch, come back here or go to our Facebook page ( to leave a comment. Tell us what you like – or don't like – about the program. Your comments may help us persuade PBS stations to rebroadcast the series, convince foreign broadcasters to air it overseas, and raise funds for more programs like it.

To get you thinking, check out this thoughtful appreciation from today's Forbes Magazine website:

Still curious? Visit the official Mystery of Matter project website at
for biographies of the seven scientists, bonus videos, educational materials and more. The site is still under construction, so keep coming back each week to discover new features.
PBS National Premiere Tonight!

The Mystery of Matter: Search for the Elements premieres tonight, Wednesday, Aug. 19, on most public television stations. PBS is "feeding" all three hours of the series to its member stations from 8-11 p.m. Most PBS stations are airing the entire series tonight as a single three-hour block, while a few will broadcast it tomorrow night or next week, air it over three weeks, or hold the series for the fall. For a schedule of broadcast dates and times, please go to the following link:

If your home town is not listed, contact your local PBS station to find out when the series will be airing where you live.

To see a preview of the series and bonus videos on the seven featured scientists, go to the Mystery of Matter PBS website at Click on Bonus Videos at the top of the home page to see the videos.

The Philadelphia Inquirer calls The Mystery of Matter "one of the best science documentaries in some time" -- "educational, insightful, pleasurable." See the full review at the link below:

We want to know what you think. After you watch, leave a comment below or on our Facebook page at

And to learn more, visit the official Mystery of Matter project website at There you'll find capsule biographies of the seven featured scientists, educational materials and more bonus videos.