Here at (a)biotic we are die-hard fans of just about every series produced by NPR. One of our favorites is Planet Money. Every week the show takes on a difficult economic situation or concept and breaks it down in a clever, easy to digest manner. In general, Alex Blumberg leads a less than rag tag bunch of smarty-pants contributors who weave tales of the economy with interesting highlights culture and ecology.
One story a few months ago was particularly interesting, they tackled the question of why we, as a society, have valued gold. Over all the other elements in the world why does gold get the pole position?
They contacted Sanat Kumar, a chemical engineer at Columbia University and asked him to plow through the periodic table and tackle this question. It is a fascinating tour through history and science. You can read or listen to the story here: