Tag Archives: Periodic Table of Videos

FrogHeart and 2014: acknowledging active colleagues and saying good-bye to defunct blogs and hello to the new

It’s been quite the year. In Feb. 2014, TED offered me free livestreaming of the event in Vancouver. In March/April 2014, Google tweaked its search function and sometime in September 2014 I decided to publish two pieces per day rather than three with the consequence that the visit numbers for this blog are lower than they might otherwise have been. More about statistics and traffic to this blog will be in the post I usually publish just the new year has started.

On other fronts, I taught two courses (Bioelectronics and Nanotechnology, the next big idea) this year for Simon Fraser University (Vancouver, Canada) in its Continuing Studies (aka Lifelong Learning) programmes. I also attended a World Congress on Alternatives to Animal Testing in the Life Sciences in Prague. The trip, sponsored by SEURAT-1 (Safety Evaluation Ultimately Replacing Animal Testing), will result in a total of five stories, the first having been recently (Dec. 26, 2014) published. I’m currently preparing a submission for the International Symposium on Electronic Arts being held in Vancouver in August 2015 based on a project I have embarked upon, ‘Steep’. Focused on gold nanoparticles, the project is Raewyn Turner‘s (an artist from New Zealand) brainchild. She has kindly opened up the project in such a way that I too can contribute. There are two other members of the Steep project, Brian Harris, an electrical designer, who works closely with Raewyn on a number of arts projects and there’s Mark Wiesner as our science consultant. Wiesner is a professor of civil and environmental engineering,at Duke University in North Carolina.

There is one other thing which you may have noticed, I placed a ‘Donate’ button on the blog early in 2014.

Acknowledgements, good-byes, and hellos

Dexter Johnson on his Nanoclast blog (on the IEEE [Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers] website) remains a constant in the nano sector of the blogosphere where he provides his incisive opinions and context for the nano scene.

David Bruggeman on his Pasco Phronesis blog offers valuable insight into the US science policy scene along with a lively calendar of art/science events and an accounting of the science and technology guests on late night US television.

Andrew Maynard archived his 2020 Science blog in July 2014 but he does continue writing and communication science as director of the University of Michigan Risk Science Center. Notably, Andrew continues to write, along with other contributors, on the Risk Without Borders blog at the University of Michigan.

Sadly, Cientifica, a emerging technologies business consultancy, where Tim Harper published a number of valuable white papers, reports, and blog postings is no longer with us. Happily, Tim continues with an eponymous website where he blogs and communicates about various business interests, “I’m currently involved in graphene, nanotechnology, construction, heating, and biosensing, working for a UK public company, as well as organisations ranging from MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology] to the World Economic Forum.” Glad to you’re back to blogging Tim. I missed your business savvy approach and occasional cheekiness!

I was delighted to learn of a new nano blog, NanoScéal, this year and relieved to see they’re hanging in. Their approach is curatorial where they present a week of selected nano stories. I don’t think a lot of people realize how much work a curatorial approach requires. Bravo!

Sir Martyn Poliakoff and the Periodic Table of Videos

Just as I was wondering what happened to the Periodic Table of Videos (my April 25, 2011 post offers a description of the project) Grrl Scientist on the Guardian science blog network offers information about one of the moving forces behind the project, Martyn Poliakoff in a Dec. 31, 2014 post,

This morning [Dec. 31, 2014], I was most pleased to learn that Martyn Poliakoff, professor of chemistry at the University of Nottingham, was awarded a bachelor knighthood by the Queen. So pleased was I that I struggled out of bed (badly wrecked back), my teeth gritted, so I could share this news with you.

Now Professor Poliakoff — who now is more properly known as Professor SIR Martyn Poliakoff — was awarded one of the highest civilian honours in the land, and his continued online presence has played a significant role in this.

“I think it may be the first time that YouTube has been mentioned when somebody has got a knighthood, and so I feel really quite proud about that. And I also really want to thank you YouTube viewers who have made this possible through your enthusiasm for chemistry.”

As for the Periodic Table of Videos, the series continues past the 118 elements currently identified to a include discussions on molecules.

Science Borealis, the Canadian science blog aggregator, which I helped to organize (albeit desultorily), celebrated its first full year of operation. Congratulations to all those who worked to make this project such a success that it welcomed its 100th blog earlier this year. From a Sept. 24, 2014 news item on Yahoo (Note: Links have been removed),

This week the Science Borealis team celebrated the addition of the 100th blog to its roster of Canadian science blog sites! As was recently noted in the Council of Canadian Academies report on Science Culture, science blogging in Canada is a rapidly growing means of science communication. Our digital milestone is one of many initiatives that are bringing to fruition the vision of a rich Canadian online science communication community.

The honour of being syndicated as the 100th blog goes to Spider Bytes, by Catherine Scott, an MSc [Master of Science] student at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia. …

As always, it’s been a pleasure and privilege writing and publishing this blog. Thank you all for your support whether it comes in the form of reading it, commenting, tweeting,  subscribing, and/or deciding to publish your own blog. May you have a wonderful and rewarding 2015!

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.)