Categories
Blog

Primo Levi

Primo Levi was born 100 years ago today (31st July 1919). He was an Italian Jewish chemist, writer and Holocaust survivor.

He wrote 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 Nature:

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.

Categories
Blog

Alternative periodic tables

Continuing our celebration of the International Year of the Periodic Table, here are some alternative versions on Wikipedia:
Alternative periodic tables
See also There’s More Than One Periodic Table, plus the external links at the end of the Wikipedia article.

Categories
Blog

Element scarcity periodic table

In the 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.

Categories
Blog

Periodic tables

The Royal Society of Chemistry website has four periodic tables, with links to detailed information on each element.

  1. The main table has standard information about the various elements, plus their supply risk.
  2. A history table shows when each element was discovered and who by, and the origin of its name.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.

Categories
Blog

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