Segments in this Video

Origin of Life (03:11)


David Pogue explores the chemistry of life. Chemistry is when atoms combine to make molecules and compounds. A series of chemical reactions led to life on Earth.

Photosynthesis (02:43)

Early organisms were created by a series of chemical reactions. Photosynthesis gave early life the ability to turn sunlight into fuel. All life on Earth comes from photosynthesis.

RIPE (06:50)

Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency is a program in Chicago working to improve photosynthesis through the enzyme rubisco. The program aims to make photosynthesis faster to meet the demands of the increasing human population.

Modified Plants (03:45)

RIPE biologists show Pogue plants with modified rubisco. The plants do not take in oxygen by mistake, resulting in more energy to grow. Some plants are genetically modified, causing some concerns.

Ozone Layer (06:00)

Oxygen, a waste product of photosynthesis, created the ozone layer. Ozone molecules absorb light and protect the Earth from ultraviolet radiation. Without the ozone, life would have not developed.

Elements of Life (08:14)

There are six main elements in the human body, in addition to water, and four macromolecules. A scientist uses grocery store items to explain life.

Chemistry and Biology (09:13)

Researchers work to determine how chemistry gave rise to biology. For groups of molecules to become life, they need an outer membrane. RNA might have been the first molecule to replicate.

Evolution (05:35)

Once chemistry created biological material, it could then evolve. Chemical engineers have created new molecules that can evolve to have new functions, like converting waste to fuel.

Directed Evolution (06:16)

Chemical engineers created a pesticide that does not kill an invasive species but disrupts its mating. Scientific breakthroughs have made the process much cheaper and more accessible.

Credits: Live: Episode 3 (00:58)

Credits: Live: Episode 3

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Episode 3: Live (NOVA: Beyond the Elements)

Part of the Series : NOVA: Beyond the Elements
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Without the chemistry of photosynthesis, ozone, and a molecule called Rubisco, none of us would be here. So how did we get so lucky? To find out, host David Pogue investigates the surprising molecules that allowed life on Earth to begin, and ultimately thrive. Along the way, he finds out what we're all made of--literally.

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: FMK237674

Copyright date: ©2021

Closed Captioned

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