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The Periodic Table of Videos | Trash Cookies

The Periodic Table of Videos

Posted on 03 December 2008 by LoryGil

If you’ve ever been sitting in a group of friends and thought to yourself that everyone must be smarter than you, then I have just the answer to your insecurity. It’s called the Periodic Table of Videos, and man, do I feel smart. Smarter than you!

For example, did you know that the average person has about a pound of phosphorous stored in their body? And, did you know that we synthesize about 70kgs of an energy molecule called Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) that, if we didn’t get out of our body throughout the day, would make us explode? Take that Mr. Mathy McMatherson!

poliakoffcopyThe Periodic Table of Videos was developed by a photo-journalist named Brady Haran and some egghead chemistry nuts at The University of Nottingham in England. And it is just what it sounds like. In June of 2008, Haran and the egghead chemistry nuts; Martyn Poliakoff, Pete Licence, Stephen Liddle, Debbie Kays, and Neil Barnes made 118 three to five minute (give or take) videos about the periodic table of elements. In each video, Professor Poliakoff describes the element while the rest of the team performs simple experiments with them. Obviously, there are a few elements that cannot have ‘simple’ experiments performed with them, so Poliakoff briefly lectures on those.

The idea behind these videos is to get more people excited about chemistry, and it seems to be working. The Periodic Videos have been viewed over three million times and the group won the 2008 IChemE award for education. They continue to update the elements, showing new tricks and adding more information about them. The website is an ever growing experiment of its own.

A lot of the experiments performed by the group are no longer (or never were) performed in a classroom due to safety hazards and financial restrictions, so these videos are an excellent source for education and should be viewing requirements in any middle school chemistry class. While the content can sometimes seem, a bit dry, it is still a great learning device.

Some highlights include, blowing up balloons full of hydrogen, creating sulfur from n2o and cs2, and, when a few of the guys take umbrage at the statement made by a colleague, “Zinc is a boring metal,” and perform a firey experiment to prove otherwise.

The great thing about these videos is that they are quick and to the point. If you have a short attention span, or you are trying to not get caught slacking off at work, then you can watch one and move on. After just a few minutes, you’ll be smarter that before, and you can rub it in your co-worker’s face.

 

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