Green grows the grass

Our lives depend on the magnesium ion at the centre of the chlorophyll pigment that gives leafy plants their green colour. Without chlorophyll’s ability to absorb photons, plants would not have the chemical energy needed to synthesis sugars from carbon dioxide. Photosynthesis is fundamental to life on earth, supplying most of the necessary energy andContinue reading “Green grows the grass”

Introducing the f-block

Lanthanum and actinium: the two elements that give their names to the lanthanoid series and actinoid series which together form the f-block of the periodic table. The patterns I have chosen are representative of each series: the many applications of the lanthanoids and the radioactivity of the actinoids. Lanthanum compounds have numerous uses, going backContinue reading “Introducing the f-block”

Bunsen’s burner

Happy #NationalBunsenBurnerDay! These little burners represent rubidium, one of the two elements discovered by Robert Bunsen and Gustav Kirchhoff in 1861. Bunsen developed his burner with assistant Peter Desaga to give a clean flame and used it in the spectroscope that he and Kirchhoff designed. They wished to study the emission spectra of elements andContinue reading “Bunsen’s burner”

Radium girls

Katherine Schaub, Amelia (Molly) Maggia, Quinta Maggia McDonald, Albina Maggia Larice, Helen Quinlan, Grace Fryer, Edna Bolz Hussman, Hazel Vincent Kuser, Marguerite Carlough, Catherine Wolfe Donohue, Inez Corcoran Vallat, Margaret (Peg) Looney… just a few of the young women, known as the radium girls, who lost their lives as a result of radium poisoning andContinue reading “Radium girls”

A return to Dalton’s symbols

We first saw John Dalton’s circular element symbols back in the p-block where I used them for nitrogen, oxygen and silicon. Of course these symbols only exist for those elements known in Dalton’s time, and so they haven’t afforded many possibilities as I’ve worked my way along the f-block. But here are two more, berylliumContinue reading “A return to Dalton’s symbols”