Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Visual Elements Periodic Table

Probably the loveliest periodic table I have ever seen, the Visual Elements Periodic Table is a collaboration of artists, musicians, and scientists supported by the Royal Society of Chemistry. The Visual Elements Periodic Table was the winner of the Scientific American 2003 Sci/Tech Web Award in Chemistry, whose editors describe the site aptly in the following quote:

Using etymological roots, mythological origins, modern associations and sheer whimsy, [Murray] Robertson and the rest of the "109 project" team--so named for the number of traditionally recognized elements--has bridged the yawning gap between chemistry and fine arts by producing colorful, informative, and often beautiful icons to represent these historically rich metals and non-metals.
Flash and Quicktime are necessary for some of the functionality, however straightforward information can be obtained without these plug-ins. In addition, the site contains a history of the periodic table written by Dr. John Emsley, Science Writer in Residence at Cambridge University*. Whereas that sort of information is typical and expected on a site devoted to the periodic table, visitors to this site can find more, beyond even the wonderful images illustrating the elements.

Some elements have animation as well, although I have to admit I am not certain of the usefulness the elements, except maybe for students who are giving classroom presentations. Perhaps others have better ideas?

Unique, I believe, are the graphics illustrating the s, p, and d atomic orbitals, as well as the periodic landscapes. The landscapes are three-dimensional models, animated and put to music, depicting ionization energies, densities of the elements, relative atomic mass, and atomic radii. The landscapes are available as e-cards to send to all your scientific-minded friends.

The links section does need some updating. Neither of the links to the sites promoting periodic poetry work at this time (too bad since April is National Poetry month), but I am pleased to report the Periodic Table Comic Book is a viable link!

Free downloads for screensavers and desktop images are also offered. My new desktop image is alchemical symbols.

You can even purchase charts and other items. I am trying to decide who needs a periodic table puzzle for Christmas!

*Books written and/or edited by Dr. John Emsley available from Eckerd Library:
  • 13th element: the sordid tale of murder, fire, and phosphorus
    • Call Number: QD 181 .P1 E447 2000
  • Complex chemistry
    • Call Number: QD 461 .S927 vol. 57
  • Elements of murder
    • Call Number: RA 1195 .E48 2005
  • Elements
    • Call Number: QD 466 E48 1989
  • Nature's building blocks : an A-Z guide to the elements
    • Call Number: QD 466 .E52 2001
  • Vanity, vitality, and virility : the science behind the products you love to buy
    • Call Number: QD 75.22 .E47 2004

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