About this Author
DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

Chemistry and Drug Data: Drugbank
Chempedia Lab
Synthetic Pages
Organic Chemistry Portal
Not Voodoo

Chemistry and Pharma Blogs:
Org Prep Daily
The Haystack
A New Merck, Reviewed
Liberal Arts Chemistry
Electron Pusher
All Things Metathesis
C&E News Blogs
Chemiotics II
Chemical Space
Noel O'Blog
In Vivo Blog
Terra Sigilatta
BBSRC/Douglas Kell
Realizations in Biostatistics
ChemSpider Blog
Organic Chem - Education & Industry
Pharma Strategy Blog
No Name No Slogan
Practical Fragments
The Curious Wavefunction
Natural Product Man
Fragment Literature
Chemistry World Blog
Synthetic Nature
Chemistry Blog
Synthesizing Ideas
Eye on FDA
Chemical Forums
Symyx Blog
Sceptical Chymist
Lamentations on Chemistry
Computational Organic Chemistry
Mining Drugs
Henry Rzepa

Science Blogs and News:
Bad Science
The Loom
Uncertain Principles
Fierce Biotech
Blogs for Industry
Omics! Omics!
Young Female Scientist
Notional Slurry
Nobel Intent
SciTech Daily
Science Blog
Gene Expression (I)
Gene Expression (II)
Adventures in Ethics and Science
Transterrestrial Musings
Slashdot Science
Cosmic Variance
Biology News Net

Medical Blogs
DB's Medical Rants
Science-Based Medicine
Respectful Insolence
Diabetes Mine

Economics and Business
Marginal Revolution
The Volokh Conspiracy
Knowledge Problem

Politics / Current Events
Virginia Postrel
Belmont Club
Mickey Kaus

Belles Lettres
Uncouth Reflections
Arts and Letters Daily
In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

In the Pipeline

« Eschenbach Says Market, Then Test | Main | Imidazole-1-Sulfonyl Azide HCl: Look Out »

February 15, 2012

A Real Periodic Table - With Real Elements

Email This Entry

Posted by Derek

Here's a YouTube look at a periodic table, laid out with high-quality samples of the real elements. I want one, although I'm willing to compromise on some of the radioactive items; completeness can be taken a bit too far.

It's from the folks at, featuring element-collector extraordinaire Theodore Gray, author of the best coffee-table book on the elements ever.

Comments (18) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Chemical News


1. Old Timer on February 15, 2012 1:11 PM writes...

There is one of these in the foyer at 12 Oxford Street. I think I remember an admin telling me it cost about $25k. Great for your living room!

Permalink to Comment

2. Myma on February 15, 2012 1:19 PM writes...

The same content by the same author is in a great App for iPad. My kids love twirling the elements around with their fingers, and can pick out Lise Meitner in a crowd now.

Permalink to Comment

3. gippgig on February 15, 2012 1:20 PM writes...

Has anyone made element trading cards that include a sample (since most samples would be an extremely thin foil cost and toxicity issues would be minimal) of the element (preferably with the same number of atoms in each sample so the size indicates the atomic volume)? Element "coins" are available (but not, as far as I know, with the same number of atoms for each element).

Permalink to Comment

4. Pamplemousse on February 15, 2012 1:56 PM writes...

The University of Victoria in Victoria, BC has one of these. It looks pretty eighties, with a knob that lights up the various groupings.

Permalink to Comment

5. Org Lett Reader on February 15, 2012 2:07 PM writes...

No. No one has ever done that.

Permalink to Comment

6. leftscienceawhileago on February 15, 2012 2:08 PM writes...

A thought that this video triggers, name every colored elemental allotrope:

(red) Phosphorus


Permalink to Comment

7. germqn on February 15, 2012 2:22 PM writes...

BASF's headquarters in Ludwigshafen has a periodic table with the real elements that you can handle inside a glovebox in their visitor's center. Very cool.

Permalink to Comment

8. bauke on February 15, 2012 3:27 PM writes...

We got a sweet set of the elements in the Inorganic Chemistry 1 chair at the Ruhr-University Bochum (Germany). Believe it's a heritage of Karl Wieghardt.

Permalink to Comment

9. milkshake on February 15, 2012 4:02 PM writes...

@6: All halogens are colorful, so is S, Se (red). Ozone has a stark blue color. Arsenic has a yellow allotrope. Bi and Rh (to a lesser degree) have a pinkish hue

Permalink to Comment

10. OneArmedChemist on February 16, 2012 12:05 AM writes...

I always thought it would be neat to make a video game where your weapons consisted of the elements (or other chemicals). Throwing chunks of sodium, streams of fluorine gas... plus it would get the kids interested in chemistry!

Permalink to Comment

11. eric scerri on February 16, 2012 12:07 AM writes...

Great looking periodic table. Wish I could have one!

For more information on the periodic table please see the following website,

eric scerri
author of
A Very Short Introduction to the Periodic Table,
Oxford University Press, 2011

Permalink to Comment

12. GC on February 16, 2012 1:50 AM writes...

I have both the book and the poster. He spared no expense to print excellent photos on extremely high quality paper, but they're worth it.

@gippgig: gases and liquids would be difficult to put on cards...

Permalink to Comment

13. gippgig on February 16, 2012 3:27 AM writes...

#12 - I would think all the samples would be sealed in plastic.

Permalink to Comment

14. SGP on February 16, 2012 3:36 AM writes...

We have one in the foyer at the University of Leicester, it's a nice modern one, but, yeah, no real radioactive ones, and no real F2 either!

Permalink to Comment

15. simpl on February 16, 2012 5:30 AM writes...

I always wondered whether a web site could allow two selections from periodic tables to be an entry point via a list of existing compounds. (carbon - carbon need only bring up a data overload message). Anyone know of such a site?

Permalink to Comment

16. Canageek on February 16, 2012 1:11 PM writes...

Simon Fraser University in BC got a display with all the elements stable enough to last long enough to go in the display last summer. Yes, including the radioactive ones (They just use really small amounts-- Honestly, I never got chemists who worry about radiation, it is safer then a lot of stuff we work with).

For those wondering the price tag I heard was $10,000, which makes sense given how expensive things like platinum, palladium, plutonium, most of the rare earths, can be. Did I mention that most of them were not small samples? Oh and they also had items showing what each element is used for for a lot of them.

Permalink to Comment

17. B on February 16, 2012 6:42 PM writes...

Theodore Grey is awesome!

The video is actually by the Periodic Table of Videos ( which is a project between a film-maker called Brady Haran and staff at the University of Nottingham.

They've made a video about each element and have since moved onto molecules and other chemistry topics. It's a really interesting and useful teaching resource.

Permalink to Comment

18. David Doggett on March 13, 2012 4:21 PM writes...

If possible it would be really cool to have one mole cubes of those elements where it makes sense...

That way you would show density too...

Permalink to Comment


Remember Me?


Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):

The Last Post
The GSK Layoffs Continue, By Proxy
The Move is Nigh
Another Alzheimer's IPO
Cutbacks at C&E News
Sanofi Pays to Get Back Into Oncology
An Irresponsible Statement About Curing Cancer
Oliver Sacks on Turning Back to Chemistry