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September 21, 2012
We Were Ahead of the Crowd
According to the Wall Street Journal, the periodic table is now cool. It's shown up as a design, uh, element in TV shows, on T-shirts, and so on. (The article even gets quotes from Tom Lehrer, who I'm glad to hear is still with us). And Theodore Gray's coffee-table book The Elements
has now sold 650,000 copies (one of them to me - I recommend it). Of course, Gray has the ultimate periodic-table fan item, if you can afford it:
People who lacked patience for a chemistry set can now buy periodic table shower curtains, T-shirts, coffee mugs and even a periodic coffee table. The furniture piece, made of burred oak with samples of inlaid elements, costs $8,550, plus shipping, which gets pricey. For safety reasons, fluorine, chlorine and bromine are forbidden on airplanes, says Max Whitby in London, who produces the table.
I'd add my own, if I had 9 long ones to spend on one of these. Thick-walled ampoules would do the job, although the fluorine would still present a problem (doesn't it always?) But I suppose most of the radioactive ones (except depleted uranium) are still out. Hand-rubbed varnish would probably stop alpha particles, but not much else.
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