Gold! Probably the Most Useless Metal Money Can Buy

Gold scripture scroll

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  • Full Price: £8.00 Member: £8.00 Other concessions available


Unfortunately, an electrical fault is affecting some of our onsite services including those in the Knowledge Centre where this event was due to take place. This means that sadly we have had to cancel this event. We are looking to re-schedule and hope you will be able to join us for that..

What is it with this yellow metal? Many of us covet it, wearing it close to our skin, and using it to add lustre to our lives. Consumer electronics have almost converged with jewellery in look and feel. Yet gold is both profoundly normal as a metal and profoundly useless.

How does the eternal fascination with gold fit with the properties of the metal? Is it really so rare and hard to find? Why is it so soft that you can dent it with your teeth? Why is it yellow and what has this got to do with relativity? Where does it come from and could the alchemists really make it from ‘baser’ metals? What has gold revealed about the inner workings of the atom? Is it really ‘noble’ or are there cunning ways to dissolve it?

We will reveal the inner workings of this curious metal and look at some of the amazing objects that have been made from it.

This event accompanies our summer exhibition Gold: 50 Spectacular Manuscripts from around the World (20 May – 2 October).

Andrea Sella is chemist, broadcaster, science communicator and Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at University College London.

Image: Malayalam Treaty, 1691. MS Malayalam 12

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Name: Gold! Probably the Most Useless Metal Money Can Buy
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Price: Full Price: £8.00
Member: £8.00
Student: £4.00
Registered Unemployed: £4.00
Disabled: £4.00
Senior (60+): £7.00
Young Person (18-25): £4.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546