Friday, April 24, 2009

Table Manners

My first piece for Nature Chemistry's Thesis column appeared in the online version. The big question?

"Is there a way to distinguish between periodic tables that are masterpieces of cognitive art and those that are the equivalent of Elvis Presleys on velvet? "

Should you - or your library - have a subscription to Nature Chemistry, you can read the rest here.


  1. there is a wonderful tune by Greg Brown called Jesus and Elvis. The lyrics imply the song was inspired by seeing both on black velvet in a parking lot.

  2. There are threads that connect my velvet ones, perhaps?

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed that article. Thankfully, I could access it through my library.

    Benfey's Periodic Table is my favorite. It more accurately shows how the Lanthanides and Actinides are involved without taking up more space. I may have to investigate the representations in Second Life - a new space for me but it sounds like it would be worth visiting.

  4. Dear Michelle,

    Thanks again for featuring my periodic table as the best alternative periodic table currently on offer!

    The design that the journal came up with will be used to illustrate the front cover of my forthcoming book,

    Selected papers on the Periodic Table, Imperial College Press, London.

    You, the artist and the editor will of course be acknowledged.

    And while I am at it, forgive me if I blurb my already published book on the periodic table from Oxford University Press.

    The Periodic Table, Oxford University Press, 2007.

    You mentioned lemniscate periodic systems in one of your chemistry blogs. Thanks for explaining the meaning of the term which I had always wondered about but never looked up. On pages 252-253 of my book I show images of such a table by William Crookes which he later claimed represented an anticipation of the noble gases.

    eric scerri
    UCLA, Chemistry Dept.