Monday, October 18, 2004

The Periodic Table

This is great - an interactive periodic table. How come they managed to make chemistry so boring when I was at school? I remember Mr Browning creating a magical mystery tour of malachite - we had to test this greenish powder's properties until somehow we isolated its copper and carbon make-up. It was a good idea in theory - introducing a quest-narrative theme to O-level chemistry. But somehow it didn't work out in practice. Too many collective hormones waging war in adolescent bodies, plus the open-plan Science dept provided too many distractions...

From the Los Alamos table there seems to be more elements than when I was a kid - I'm sure there were only 104 or so when I was a kid (and that 104 was neon or krypton or one of those inert elements), but now there is 118. What I dont understand is how these elements can be elements and how chemistry relates to physics. I understand that physicists now take there to be four fundamental forces: gravity, light, weak and strong nuclear. So how are the 118 elements based on these forces?


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