In case you missed it, UNESCO has marked 2019 as the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements to raise awareness of chemistry and its application for sustainable development. It also celebrates the 150th anniversary of the discovery of the periodic system by scientist Dmitry Mendeleev in 1869.
Considered one of the most significant achievements in science, the Periodic Table is a tool that scientists and students can use to understand the characteristics of an element from its position on the table, and indeed predict the properties of molecules and materials.
Chemistry lecturer, researcher and science communicator Dr Alice Motion, has taken to Twitter to share interesting facts about each of the elements for the first 118 days of the year.
There’s already a month worth of tweets for you to catch up on, but here are a few to get you started.
Happy New Year! 2019 marks the International Year of the Periodic Table. It’s 150 years since the periodic system was developed by Dmitry Mendeleev in 1969 and there's lots to celebrate. if you're already a fan🙌 or not yet convinced 🤔 keep an eye on this hashtag #IYPT2019 1/n— Dr Alice Motion 🌈 (@all_isee) January 1, 2019
He: #2 - 2nd most abundant element in universe after H. Helium glows red/orange when ⚡️ is passed through it. Best known for its use in balloons, a much 'cooler' application is as a liquid at -270 ˚C, when it can be used to cool down superconducting magnets needed in MRI machines pic.twitter.com/TxWgvmceNC— Dr Alice Motion 🌈 (@all_isee) January 2, 2019
Ne: #10 - very unreactive. Neon is extracted from air cooled until liquid and then fractionally distilled. Probably best known for its use in 'Neon' signs - only the red ones are actually pure Ne. Liquid Ne is an excellent refrigerant. 📸 by Tim Mossholder on @unsplash pic.twitter.com/IkzdJ6BCHB— Dr Alice Motion 🌈 (@all_isee) January 10, 2019
K: #19 - burns with lilac 🔥. Potassium is named after early method for extraction of its salts: ‘ash’ from 🌳 heated in ‘pot’ of water and resulting solution evaporated - ‘potash’. K+ ions are found in every cell. 11 🍌 contain recommended daily K intake. 📸 Tim Foster @unsplash pic.twitter.com/ayUkQIxFSi— Dr Alice Motion 🌈 (@all_isee) January 19, 2019
Cr: #24 - compounds frequently toxic. Chromium is named after the Greek word for colour 'chroma'. Cr compounds are used as pigments (red, orange, yellow and green) and traces of Cr are responsible for the red colour of rubies and green of emeralds. 📸 Wladislav Glad @Unsplash pic.twitter.com/5ozQaNIOQv— Dr Alice Motion 🌈 (@all_isee) January 24, 2019
Mendeleev published the Periodic Table with known elements arranged in order of atomic mass. He also predicted the discovery of other elements and left spaces open for them on the table.
Ga: #31 - existence predicted by Mendeleev. Gallium was discovered in Paris by Lecoq de Boisbaudran and named after 🇫🇷 'Gaul' and Lecoq (Gallus in Latin). Ga is used in semiconductors, mobile phones and LEDS. Expands ~3% when frozen and melts ~30 deg. 📸Mathew Schwartz @Unsplash pic.twitter.com/oxtKTvBAbR— Dr Alice Motion 🌈 (@all_isee) January 31, 2019