The Periodic Table of Videos

I love these videos made by the chemistry department at the University of Nottingham in England? One for each of the elements in the periodic table, 118 in all. The video about sodium is a perfect example of the charming, DIY nature of the series, with members of the department slicing off slivers of silvery sodium and giggling as they drop them in dog bowls full of water, while our host, professor Martyn Poliakoff?a Commander of the British Empire?shows off his sodium-lump desk lamp. Having finished the periodic table, the Merry Men of chemistry are now moving on to molecules. Browse the series if you’re in chemical mood. It’s full of insights?and throughout, you’ll be wondering about the activation energy of professor Poliakoff’s magnificent hair.

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  1. When I saw the title I thought, this needs to be a Nam June Paik-like installation of stacked monitors, each showing its corresponding element video. But now I think that would be overkill, these deserve to be seen one by one. SODIUM IS DANGEROUS (cue maniacal giggling)…

    And of course they don’t *need an intro soundtrack, but they align very nicely with the spirit of Tom Lehrer’s 1959 song The Elements:

  2. For an interesting book on the periodic table see,

    Eric Scerri, The Periodic Table, Its Story and Its Significance, Oxford University Press, 2007.

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