The alchemists were a mysterious group of medieval scientists who believed their knowledge of chemistry gave them magical powers. They could summon fire, produce mystical potions and even tried to turn metals into gold. Their magnificent feats enthralled kings and commoners alike, but they never revealed their secrets.
Today's chemists can perform equally impressive feats, but they do so to explain and explore the extreme frontiers of our material world.
Dr Peter Wothers is the Modern Alchemist and in this year's Christmas Lectures he unpicks the chemistry of the world around us - looking at Air, Water and Earth - three of the original ancient Greek 'elements' that tantalised alchemists for centuries…