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Discovery

299 EpisodesProduced by BBC World ServiceWebsite

Explorations in the world of science.

26:59

And then there was Li

From the origins of the universe, though batteries, glass and grease to influencing the working of our brains, neuroscientist Sophie Scott tracks the incredible power of lithium.

It's 200 years ago this year that lithium was first isolated and named, but this, the lightest of all metals, had been used as a drug for centuries before.

From the industrial revolution it proves its worth as a key ingredient in glass and grease, and as the major component in lithium ion batteries it powers every smartphone on the planet.

In mental health lithium has proved one of the most effective treatments. And its use to treat physical ailments is now making a comeback.

We explore how the chemistry of lithium links all these apparently unrelated uses together.

Main Image: Lights from mobile phones in Bucharest on February, 2017. Credit: ANDREI PUNGOVSCHI / AFP / Getty Images )

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