Now available for pre-order

First posted on FB 12/02/2019 Today marks the 121st anniversary of the birth of Brian Duncan Shaw. He grew up to become a chemistry lecturer, an explosives expert, a distinguished soldier and prisoner of war, the best shot in the Territorial Army, and star of stage and screen. As the author of his biography, IContinue reading “Now available for pre-order”

Now you know your A, B, G…

First published on FB 13/03/2020 This was supposed to be a periodic table devoid of letters and numbers, so why do we have here alpha, beta, gamma – the first three letters of the Greek alphabet? The element cadmium is named for Cadmean earth, an ore found near Thebes, the ancient Greek city founded byContinue reading “Now you know your A, B, G…”

Symbols of gods

First published on FB 28/02/2020 And another two alchemical symbols. These are for mercury and lead, two of the seven elements known in ancient times. It is obvious which planet and god the element mercury is associated with. The symbol represents the god Mercury’s ‘caduceus’ or staff with two snakes entwined around it. Lead wasContinue reading “Symbols of gods”

Happy Valentine’s

First posted on FB 14/02/2020 Two more alchemical symbols today – sulfur and arsenic. Alchemists used this notation in texts such as those by Basil Valentine.   Valentine himself was something of a mystery. His texts claim that he lived in 15th century Germany, in Erfurt, but there is no record of his existence. The textsContinue reading “Happy Valentine’s”


Originally posted 11/02/2020 Today’s element is copper, associated with Venus, the planet and the Roman goddess of love. You might think this would have been better posted in three days’ time but today is International Day of Women and Girls in Science and you will recognise the symbol as that used in biology to denoteContinue reading “Feminism/femininity”