Primo Levi was born 100 years ago today (31st July 1919). He was an Italian Jewish chemist, writer and Holocaust survivor.
If This Is a Man (1947) and The Truce (1963) about his time in Auschwitz and his journey home.
The Periodic Table (1975) is a collection of autobiographical short stories. Each story is named after a chemical element which played some part in his life – argon, hydrogen, zinc, and so on.
Tim Radford writes in
In The Periodic Table, Primo Levi — scientist, poet, writer — makes chemistry a metaphor for his life. But it becomes more than that. Chemistry shapes his life, defines his life, in Auschwitz even saves his life. It becomes his living. In the end, chemistry becomes everything: life itself.
Continuing our celebration of the
International Year of the Periodic Table, here are some alternative versions on Wikipedia:
See also There’s More Than One Periodic Table, plus the external links at the end of the Wikipedia article.
International Year of the Periodic Table here is a warning about element scarcity from the European Chemical Society:
The smartphone you may be using right now to look at this unique Periodic Table is made up of some 30 elements – over half of which may give cause for concern in the years to come because of increasing scarcity. The issue of element scarcity cannot be stressed enough. With some 10 million smartphones being discarded or replaced every month in the European Union alone, we need to carefully look at our tendencies to waste and improperly recycle such items.
The periodic table pictured is
available as a PDF.
Royal Institution Christmas Lectures are popular science talks given around Christmas each year. The first one was in 1825.
They were started by the scientist
Michael Faraday. They have been televised since 1936.
You can watch the more recent lectures online: for example, Carl Sagan’s
six lectures on the planets (1977) and last year’s lectures on genetics.
The Royal Society of Chemistry website has a careers section called
A Future in Chemistry. A chemist could:
discover new medicines
protect the environment
invent products and materials
solve crime using forensic analysis
teach chemistry (if all else fails)
besides some evil things that the website doesn’t mention.
There is lots of advice about jobs, study options, work experience, etc.
Royal Society of Chemistry website has four periodic tables, with links to detailed information on each element.
main table has standard information about the various elements, plus their supply risk. A
history table shows when each element was discovered and who by, and the origin of its name. An
alchemy table shows 16 elements known to alchemists (antimony, arsenic, bismuth, copper, gold, iron, lead, magnesium, mercury, phosphorus, platinum, potassium, silver, sulfur, tin and zinc). A
trends table displays the density, atomic radius, electronegativity, melting point, boiling point and first ionisation energy of elements.
The site also has some
resources for the International Year of the Periodic Table.
150 years ago
Dmitri Mendeleev published his periodic table of the elements. To commemorate this, UNESCO has declared 2019 the International Year of the Periodic Table.
So how well do
you know the periodic table? See if you can do these two quizzes.
Open quiz in new window
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