Elements Never Forget

ENCORE  It’s elementary, Watson.  Things are in flux – from the elements in the air you breathe to party balloons.   We investigate the massive, historic loss of nitrogen from the atmosphere and meet the culprits behind a modern-day helium shortage. 

But it’s not all a disappearing act: be thankful that oxygen showed up in our atmosphere a few billion years ago.  Meanwhile, atom smashers have recently produced some new elements.  Their appearance was brief, but long enough to fill out the periodic table.

And perhaps the tastiest use of an element – one that gives Seth a chilly reception.


  • Inna Vishik – Postdoctoral fellow in physics at MIT
  • Roland Pease – Science reporter in the U.K. 
  • Mark Stoyer – Nuclear chemist, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory