Modern Marvels

Heavy Metals

Season 13, Ep 19, Aired 6/14/06
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  • Episode Description
  • They are elements that occupy a select portion of the periodic table and are so essential to America's economic and military might that they are stored in the National Defense Stockpile in case of all-out war. We plan a riveting visit. Some of the vital heavy metals that we survey include copper, uranium, lead, zinc, and nickel. We also take a look at superalloys--consisting of steel combined with chromium, cobalt, and dozens of other heavy metals--that resist corrosion and perform increasingly elaborate functions. From Earth to space, from cosmetics to vitamins, in a million different ways, heavy metals are here to stay!moreless

  • Cast & Crew
  • Max Raphael

    Narrator

  • Guy Thomas

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  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (1)

    • Narrator: They’re everywhere, in our home, our cars, our very bodies. They sustain modern life and are essential to every advanced tool built by human beings. They can take us to the heavens or destroy us. Now: Heavy Metals, on Modern Marvels.

    Notes (1)

    • Dennis Manos, PhD Physicist, College of William & Mary Rick Smith, MFA Metalsmith, Southern Illinois University Kenneth Schwarz Blacksmith, Colonial Williamsburg Frank Rives Nuclear Fuels, Entergy Nuclear George A. Williams Vice President, Entergy Nuclear Mike Withrow Engineer, Grand Gulf Nuclear Station Richard Dorman Geologist Jeff McCleary Dan O’Laurie Museum of Moab Neldon Lemon Uranium Miner Blake Zuidema Product Applications, Mittal Steel Jay Gaynor Historic Trades, Colonial Williamsburg John Boyer Mill Manager, Doe Run Dave Olkkonen Mine Superintendent, Doe Run Charles Wilcut Driller, Doe Run Steve Arnold Doe Run Resource Recycling Ed Beaty Manager, Horsehead Corporation Michael Morgan Vice President, Young Galvanizing Ted Himebaugh Manager, Bingham Canyon Mine Andrew Paine Plant Manager, Cerro Wire & Cable Company Boyd Mueller Director, Alcoa Howmet Research Center

    Trivia (4)

    • Copper is the only metal besides gold that has a distinctive natural color. Other metals are either gray or white.

    • In the 1450's, Johannes Gutenburg used lead to create the first metal movable type, give the masses access to books. He is reported to have stated, "Give me 26 soldiers of lead, and I will conquer the world."

    • More steel in the United States is used to make bottle caps than to manufacture automobile bodies.

    • The accident at the Chernobyl reactor released about 400 times as much radiation as the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

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