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October 24, 2006

Rethinking the periodic table of elements

[heavy blogging. I must be trying to avoid some unpleasant task.]

Most of you probably don’t know that I spent the first two years of my college career as a chemistry major. When push came to shove, I decided that I would rather serve as editor of the science magazine than take analytical chemistry (which was notorious for an all-consuming laboratory component). And really, who could find working in Gross Chemistry Laboratory appealing? (To add insult to injury, the approach to the chemistry building was a set of steps that were completely unusable by humans, as each stair required about one-and-a-half strides. The joke on campus was that the civil engineering department had designed the stairs. “But Duke doesn’t have a civil engineering program.” “Not any more.”)

In any event, here is a fascinating new look at the periodic table, as a spiral. (h/t New York Times via Feld Thoughts)