Chemists are in their element with new periodic table display

Posted by mjs76 at Jan 19, 2011 10:39 AM |
The foyer of our Department of Chemistry is now home to a massive periodic table containing real samples of (almost) all the elements.

The wall-mounted display, obtained from PeriodicTable.com, has samples of the first 92 elements, up to and including uranium. Some are solid, a few are gaseous and of course mercury and bromine are both liquid at room temperature. The noble gases such as neon and argon are actually set up to glow in turn.

There is even a tiny, tiny sample of fluorine although it’s unclear what it’s contained in.

A few are signified as being mildly radioactive but only neptunium, plutonium and americium (elements 93-95) are deemed too dangerous for inclusion; there are photographs of those three.

Above atomic number 95, the elements are represented by whatever they are named after, either a portrait of a person (eg. curium, einsteinium) or the badge/shield of a place (eg. californium, darnstadtium).

The naming conventions reach as far as element 112 which was officially named copernicium in February 2010 by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) which regulates such things. The table continues to ununoctium, atomic number 118, which is the heaviest known element but hasn’t yet been officially named. Theoretically the whole thing could become out of date if and when ununennium is discovered but that’s not expected any time soon.

To paraphrase a certain famous Harvard professor:

These are the only ones of which the news has come to Leicester,
And there may be many others, but that’s all for this semester.

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