May 28th, 2015
Episode 464 of 533 episodes
While glass items have been made for at least 5,000 years, scientists have yet to explain, conclusively, what happens when the substance it's made from moves from a molten state to its hard, transparent phase. It is said to be one of the great unsolved problems in physics. While apparently solid, the glass retains certain properties of a liquid. Despite the complexity and mystery of the science of glass, glass technology has continued to advance from sheet glass to fibre optics and metal glasses. Melvyn Bragg is joined by Dame Athene Donald, Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Cambridge and Master of Churchill College, Cambridge; Jim Bennett, Former Director of the Museum of the History of Science at the University of Oxford and Keeper Emeritus at the Science Museum and Paul McMillan, Professor of Chemistry at University College London.