The Molecule That Made Our World

2009 ,    »  -   16 Comments
Ratings: 6.87/10 from 15 users.

The Molecule That Made Our WorldOxygen – we all need it, we can't live without it. It's integral to life on this planet. And it's probable that, as you watch this film, you will be breathing in an oxygen atom that was also breathed by Genghis Khan – or by the first ever apes to stand upright on the plains of Africa.

The oxygen that we breathe is made from two oxygen atoms joined together – O2. They were first joined more than 3 billion years ago by the earliest blue-green algae to evolve.

Since then, both together and apart, they've had the most extraordinary adventures. Each of the two atoms in an oxygen molecule is virtually indestructible – so they have been first-hand players in some of the most dramatic events in the whole of Earth's history.

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16 Comments / User Reviews

  1. slpsa

    Are those some new age bongs or what?

  2. John Krisfalusci
  3. John Krisfalusci

    Here's a simple question for you people. Fire needs oxygen to burn and combust correct? Now remember the planet Venus? The one with with the atmosphere consisting of mostly carbon dioxide and NO oxygen?.. well how come explosions occur there? What gives?

  4. Tanzanos Eleytheros
  5. Tanzanos Eleytheros

    They are volcanic explosions that do not require oxygen.

  6. lakhotason
  7. lakhotason

    This documentary would have you believe that Antoine Lavoisier was the discoverer of oxygen and this documentary would be wrong in doing so.

  8. Juraj Filkorn
  9. Juraj Filkorn

    volcanos are not about fire. it is about great pressure that makes heat, if oxygen is nerby it is burned... basic physics

  10. Malcolm Jackson
  11. Malcolm Jackson

    John Dalton discovered Oxygen and gave the details to Lavoisier at a dinner party in Paris. Lavoisier then claimed he was the discoverer of Oxygen. "Off with his head", I say.

  12. Shan Wang
  13. Shan Wang

    can any one tell me where to find the transcript of these videos on this website? thans very much.

  14. Donald McBee
  15. Donald McBee

    To John Krisfalusci,

    You are confusing combustion with explosion. Combustion is a exothermic chemical reaction between a fuel and an oxidizer. Explosions are physical, rapid expansion of gas, that can occur as the result of combustion, or, alternatively, as a result of a change in state of some physical material.

    Most are caused, at least in the natural world, by a build up of pressure that is released rapidly. No oxygen is needed for these because no burning takes place. Grind up some dry ice, put it in a soda bottle, add a little bit of water, screw the cap tight, shake and throw. You will get a big boom out of that, and no oxygen is required for that boom, and no burning took place. Liquid Nitrogen works equally well, and without the water needing to be in the bottle.

    Same with Venus, Mars, Earth's volcanoes, etc. for example, on Earth, volanoes are basically liquid magma building up pressure under the surface over a period of time, once they reach a certain point, the crust develops a crack, and the magma chamber ruptures and empties all its contents in a single rush. Its like a balloon popping.

  16. WTC7
  17. WTC7

    Wikipedia says Carl Wilhelm Scheele discovered oxygen, but it was named after Lavoisier, who demonstrated its "role in the rusting of metal, as well as oxygen's role in animal and plant respiration".

  18. lakhotason
  19. lakhotason

    Don't forget Joseph Priestley. It as he who first published the discovery. And it was from he who Lavoisier stole the credit for the discovery

  20. WTC7
  21. WTC7

    True, the very same wikipedia, in a different article, says he's credited with its discovery.... :). Ah, well, wikipedia..... how can one really rely on it.... :)

  22. Rolands
  23. Rolands

    on what can you really rely? It is pretty reliable source , wiki.

  24. brianrose87
  25. brianrose87

    This doc has a few flaws (which other commenters have corrected), but it is otherwise a good, not great, ode to oxygen.

  26. Jack1952
  27. Jack1952

    Lavoisier named the chemical "oxygen" in 1778. John Dalton was only 12 years old at the time. I doubt Dalton attended a dinner party with Lavoisier at that tender age. Dalton was born into a Quaker family and Lavoisier was born into a rich family in Paris. I doubt that their paths would have crossed at all when Dalton was that young.

  28. thehike
  29. thehike

    so this means God and aliens don't exist?

  30. Tobias MacRobie
  31. Tobias MacRobie

    Also consider that chemistry and physics as we define them are not necessarily consistent with other planetary bodies. Probably similar? We're still young in extra planetary science.

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