Tag Archives: Periodic Table of Videos

Do you have any suggestions for the diamond engraved with Queen Elizabeth 2’s image?

The folks at the University of Nottingham’s Periodic Table of Videos have come up with a way to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s 60th anniversary (diamond) jubilee of her reign. Thanks to the April 11, 2012 posting by GrrlScientist on the Guardian science blogs I’ve gotten a really explanation of how a focused gallium ion beam can be used to engrave diamonds.  In my April 9, 2012 posting about computers in diamonds and a ring that’s 100% diamond, I noted my interest in focused ion beams and I’m delighted to include this video where scientist Martyn Poliakoff offers an explanation and demonstration,

If you do have any suggestions for what they could do with this diamond (I like Poliakoff’s suggestion of sending it to institutions that have diamond-jubilee themed exhibits for display), you can contact them via email [email protected] or one of two twitter accounts @periodicvideos or @UniofNottingham.

Since posting on April 9, 2012 I’ve had this old pop song (‘This Diamond Ring’ by Gary Lewis and the Playboys) on a continuous loop in my brain,

I hope by placing the video here, the song will finally disappear. (I’m also hoping it doesn’t get replaced with ‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend’.)

ETA April 16, 2012: There’s a bit more detail about the engraving process, which took place in the Nottingham Nanotechnology and Nanoscience Centre [NNNC] in this April 16, 2012 news item by Tara De Cozar on phyorg.com.

Periodic table of cupcakes, a new subculture?

As I’ve commented before, ‘you never know when you’re going to encounter some science’. I was vegetating in front of the television set a week or so ago when Jill Amery of the Urban Mommies website mentioned to Fanny Kiefer on the Studio 4 show, a project for kids on their spring break, the Periodic Table of Cupcakes. Here’s what they have on the Urban Mommy website,

3.  Periodic Table of Cupcakes.  Ditto.  What an amazing way to teach chemistry to kids going in to high school – especially if they have a sweet tooth.  Kudos: Buzzfeed.  Wow.

There were five other projects listed (with more detail for those ones) on the site.

As I wanted more information, I started searching. It seems there’s a whole subculture of cupcake-baking lovers of the periodic table of elements. There’s this 2011 video celebrating chemist’s Martyn Poliakoff’s birthday, from the University of Nottingham’s Periodic Table of Videos,

Woman’s Day magazine has a periodic table of cupcakes complete with recipes but this periodic table does not have the standard elements. The editors have tailored the table so the elements relate to the cupcake recipes, e. g., the nonelement, Rv stands for Red Velvet.

The earliest versions of the more correct cupcake tables seem to date from 2009.  Here’s this picture and text from a Nov. 27, 2009 posting by Katherine on the Foodie Friday blog,

I helped my little sister bake these periodic table cupcakes for her birthday party tomorrow.

She’s a chemistry nerd, so everything had to be exactly correct.  Astute chem majors will notice the color-coded icing for solids, liquids, and gases, as well as the empty cupcake liner for as-yet-undiscovered element ununseptium.

Touching Mendeleev’s business card

The folks at the Periodic Table of Videos (University of Nottingham) strike again. Videographer, Brady Haran, writes about his latest project for the group in a Dec. 7, 2011 posting on the Guardian science blogs,

Dmitri Mendeleev has an almost god-like status in the pantheon of science. Many people probably picture the creator of the earliest version of the periodic table as a bearded genius hunched over papers and textbooks.

In his native Russia, the legend is if anything even greater. There the periodic table is widely known as “The Table of Mendeleev” and his image has been immortalised in everything from stamps to statues.

Mendeleev is unquestionably on the scientific A-list, despite being famously snubbed by the Nobel prize committee in the early 1900s. But like all great figures from history, we occasionally get to see past the legend. We hear a story or glimpse an object that betrays a comforting level of normality.

The object of normality is a business card. Here’s a video Haran and Prof. Martyn Poliakoff made about the card and Mendeleev,

I love the way the envelope containing the business cards (one offering an introduction to another scientist and one being included as a business card) was addressed to London, Professor Thorpe, Fellow of the Royal Society. No street address, no country, nothing—just a city, a name, and an association. (I did find it surprising that Poliakoff was allowed to touch the materials with his bare hands rather than using protective gloves.) Here’s an image of the envelope,

Envelope addressed by Mendeleev to 'Monsieur le Professeur Thorpe' at the Royal Society. Photograph: The Periodic Table of Videos

Haran’s posting features images of the business card and Mendeleev and another video, this one about Ernest Rutherford’s childhood potato masher.

Table of periodic elements inscribed on a hair

Martyn Poliakoff, a chemistry professor at the University of Nottingham (UK), celebrated his birthday by going to the university’s Nanotechnology and Nanoscience Centre to have the world’s smalled periodic table of elements inscribed on a hair from his head. From the Oct.  3, 2011 news item on BBC News,

Scientists have created the world’s smallest periodic table on a strand of hair at the University of Nottingham.

An imaging microscope and a beam of accelerated ions were used to put the table on the hair, which belonged to chemistry professor Martyn Poliakoff.

Guinness World Records has now confirmed it as the smallest ever made.

Here’s the Youtube video where Dr. Poliakoff takes us through the process of inscribing the table of periodic elements on a hair,

Happy Birthday Dr. Poliakoff! (You may be familiar with Dr. Martyn Poliakoff through the Periodic Table of Videos website (or their Youtube channel) where he and colleagues at the University of Nottingham have developed a worldwide following for their videos about chemistry and the elements.

ETA Oct. 4, 2011: There are a few more details about Professor Poliakoff in this Oct. 3, 2011 news item on Nanowerk.

Beyond eating Easter creme eggs, University of Nottingham chemists show the way

The University of Nottingham’s Chemistry Department has produced a video titled, Chemistry of Creme Eggs. It’s part of a series, Periodic Table of Videos, that they’ve produced. From the Home page,

Tables charting the chemical elements have been around since the 19th century – but this modern version has a short video about each one.

We’ve done all 118 – but our job’s not finished. Now we’re updating all the videos with new stories, better samples and bigger experiments.

Plus we’re making films about other areas of chemistry, latest news and occasional adventures away from the lab.

We’ve also started a new series – The Molecular Videos – featuring our favourite molecules and compounds.

All these videos are created by video journalist Brady Haran, featuring real working chemists from the University of Notttingham.

I gather the video about the creme eggs is one of their forays into areas of chemistry that lie beyond the periodic table of elements. Here’s the video (Note: Keep an eye out for a scientist with a head of hair that make’s Einstein’s look restrained.),

Happy Easter!

(Thanks to Grrl Scientist’s April 20, 2011 blog posting where I first saw the creme egg experiments. There is another video, featuring physics experiments and crreme eggs, in her posting.)