The International year of the Periodic Table is launched today (Jan 29th) in Paris and the University of Nottingham has revealed some exciting plans to celebrate this scientific milestone, including creating a Nottingham Periodic table featuring recognisable landmarks, sayings and people from the city.
Celebrating the 150thanniversary of the creation of the periodic table was an idea sparked by Sir Martyn Poliakoff from the University of Nottingham, he says: “Dmitrii Mendeleev’s first publication of his Periodic Table was in 1869 and, a couple of years ago I casually suggested that the 150th anniversary might be a good opportunity for a global celebration of chemistry. The idea caught people’s imagination and a bottom-up push was enough to ignite widespread enthusiasm and, with much effort from a number of people the idea became a reality. Approval by the UN and UNESCO was necessary to mobilize government support for national chemical societies across the globe. Now, with this support, chemists at all levels, of all nationalities, and of all ages are seizing the opportunity to put on a bewildering range of event to celebrate our most iconic scientific tool.”
Nottingham Periodic Table - have your say!
To mark this important event the University of Nottingham is creating a Nottingham version of the Periodic Table and is asking people to help by providing their suggestions of Nottingham related replacements for the chemical elements. For example Fr - Friar Tuck, Pa - Paul Smith, Eu - ‘Ey Up Mi Duck’. A form to send in suggestions can be found here.
The completed Nottingham Periodic Table will be unveiled at this year’s Wonder event on 15thJune which will also have a periodic table theme.
Another highlight of the celebrations is a guest lecture from Russian nuclear physicist, Yuri Oganessian on 13th March, he is the only living person to have an element, Oganesson, named after him (No 118).
Ordering the elements
Mendeleev’s Periodic Table was compiled on the basis of arranging the elements in ascending order of atomic weight, and grouping them by similarity of properties. He was also forward thinking enough to predict that other elements would be discovered in the future, leaving spaces in the table where he thought they might fit into the chemical framework.
Over the years the Periodic Table has been used in many creative and fun ways to engage audiences with science and in 2008 Sir Martyn Poliakoff teamed up with video journalist Brady Haran to start the Periodic Table of Videos.Since the first video was posted the team has filmed experiments for most of the elements and regularly update the videos with new stories, better samples and bigger experiments. The hugely popular videos have made Sir Martyn and his team YouTube stars with millions of fans worldwide.
Sir Martyn is a special guest at the launch ceremony of the International Year of the Periodic Table at UNESCO in Paris where he will give the audience a peek inside his world with a visual tour of his office where the Periodic Table is on display in many forms, he said, “As well as being a fantastic learning and reference tool for scientists the Periodic Table has also become a powerful marketing tool and has been used to sell everything from Audi cars to Japanese popular music and I have many examples of this in my office! The Periodic Table is instantly recognizable by a large proportion of the populationand it’s wonderful that its importance is being recognised with this year-long celebration.”
Sir Martyn and the Periodic Videos team will be making some special videos for the Periodic Table of Videos and re-making some of the early elements. He says, “When we started making the Periodic Table of Videos all those years ago we could never have imagined just how popular it would be. Its ongoing popularity is very heartening to see as it proves that there is a huge appetite for learning about science and chemistry and now we have access to much better technology we want to re-shoot some of our early videos!”