Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Another Biblical finish line

A couple of months ago it seemed we'd reached the finish line for Bibledex.

We posted a video on the final book of the Bible - Revelation - completing the standard set of 66.

However we then decided to add videos covering the deuterocanonical books - aka "the apocrypha".

Put very simply, these are additions and extra books which appear in Catholic Bibles but not Protestant Bibles (there's obviously more to it than that!).

Well, now we've done videos on them too...

Here they are:

What next? We have some ideas but let's see what happens.

The Chemical Big Bird

We always love reading the comments people write about our projects - both positive and negative.

This comment about the Periodic Table of Videos on Twitter caught my eye this morning...

I've sent your vids to my highschool director and he said that where "the most educative thing since sesame street" great!

It got me thinking, which members of our team would be which characters from Sesame Street or The Muppets? Here's a few ideas...

Sunday, 18 July 2010

A Fluorine Bonanza!!!

It's the most reactive element but Fluorine has long been one of the weaker films on The Periodic Table of Videos.

However we're gradually updating and improving all our element videos - and this week it was Fluorine's turn.

First up, here's the new version:

Fluorine is so reactive that very few chemists are equipped to handle it.

So we left our usual base (at the University of Nottingham, of course) and visited a colleague further south.

Not too far though - just 20 miles down the road at the University of Leicester (still in the East Midlands of England).

That's where Professor Eric Hope, a fluorine specialist, showed us all sorts of great stuff.

Eric originally had four demonstrations planned... First he used liquid nitrogen to cool fluorine, revealing a bright yellow fluid which looked like a urine sample!

Then he allowed very small pulses of fluorine gas react with steel wool (iron), charcoal briquettes (carbon) and cotton wool (mainly carbon).

However it was all so exciting that Professor Hope decided on the spot to dig out some Iodine and Sulfur - we did them too.

Here's a bonus video showing all the reactions from all the angles, including with our high-speed camera!

Didn't want anyone to miss a thing.

Finally, here's some extra interview footage with Professor Hope which didn't make the final cut but was still fascinating, so I posted it to our Test Tube site which shows you all sorts of extras from behind the scenes.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Another Mark of the Chemist

Another great example of "The Mark of the Chemist".

This one comes from the mysterious Nurdrage whose YouTube videos are known to many!

Click on the pic for a better view!

The scar - resulting from what Nurdrage called a moment of "epic stupidity" - really seems a perfect match for the one described in our recent video.

Here is a link to an earlier blog when another viewer shared their chemical scar.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Fluorine, Shroud or Viagra?

We've got a few fun films coming up on The Periodic Table of Videos.

But which would you like to see next? Simply vote using the small poll at the right hand side of this blog. (NOTE: THIS VOTE HAS NOW ENDED AND BEEN REMOVED - RESULTS BELOW)

The options are:

- Our first up close look at Fluorine (the most reactive element)

- The Professor's discussion of Viagra (including an amazing sample from the labs at Pfizer)

- A fascinating explanation of radiocarbon dating and the Turin Shroud, filmed on location in Italy

The winner will be uploaded in the next day or two. But don't worry, the losing videos will also appear soon after.

(POST SCRIPT: The winning video was Fluorine with 45% of the vote... Here's the video)

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

A chemist's scar

Following our video on "The Mark of the Chemist" I was amused to see this photo posted by one of our Twitter followers.

Our thanks to @IainHolder for taking the time to share it!

He, like so many before, seems to have acquired the scar after a mishap with laboratory glassware.

You can follow us on Twitter @periodicvideos and also on Facebook.

Here's the video which inspired Iain's post.

Monday, 12 July 2010

The Italian Job

Here are the video highlights from our public lecture in Turin, Italy.

I've also posted some photos from our trip on Flickr.

There's more to come from this trip because we filmed some extra videos about Primo Levi (who was from Turin) and of course the famous Shroud of Turin.

One of these videos has been posted already.

(Our thanks to COST for supporting our trip to Turin)

The Planck Length

Making videos for Sixty Symbols often involves dealing with concepts that the human brain can't really comprehend.

A great example this week was our video about the Planck Length.

Written as a decimal number, it is simple enough.

0.000000000000000000000000000000000016 metres

Or to use the scientific notation that scientists insist upon, it is 1.616252(81)×10−35 meters.

Seems simple enough, until you realise that it's something like
100,000,000,000,000,000,000 times SMALLER THAN A PROTON!

Here's our main video, featuring Professor Roger Bowley and Professor Laurence Eaves.

And here's some extra footage from Professor Eaves, including some interesting stuff about the far more accessible Planck Mass!

By the way, for those who don't know there is lots of interesting stuff from behind the scenes on Sixty Symbols at our special Flickr page, including scans of the scientists impromptu scrawlings.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Approaching 100

A viewer just pointed out that Sixty Symbols (our collection of physics and astronomy videos) is approaching its 100th video post.

We're currently on 98.

I sometimes like doing something fun to mark these milestones.

Any ideas?

Here's a little compilation put together our 200th video on the Periodic Table of Videos...

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Tales from Turin

We're back from a very hot Turin, Italy.

The main purpose of the trip was to give a live chemistry demo at an event called Science in the City (part of ESOF2010 - the Euroscience Open Forum).

The lecture went well and you can expect to see some video highlights very soon.

But while in Turin we took the opportunity to make some other films for The Periodic Table of Videos.

Firstly, we shot a few bits about Turin's very own Primo Levi, who is renowned for his writing about chemistry.

The picture below shows Professor Poliakoff sitting in Levi's old lecture theatre. We also spent time in Levi's old labs.

And of course we couldn't visit Turin without making a film about its famous Shroud.

What does a mysterious holy relic have to do with chemistry, I hear you ask?

Well, our main focus will be on radiocarbon dating - a process famously associated with this much-discussed linen cloth.

The Professor revealed a few things I never realised about radioactive carbon - and even shared an unexpected link between himself and the Turin Shroud.

The videos are being edited as we speak and you should start seeing them soon.

(Our thanks to COST for supporting our trip to Turin)

Saturday, 3 July 2010

See us in Turin

The Periodic Table of Videos is traveling to Turin, Italy.

We've got a couple of films we'd like to make, but more importantly we'll be giving a public lecture and demonstration.

It's a chance for those who happen to live nearby to come and find out more about us and meet Professor Martyn Poliakoff, who features in so many of our films.

Come along on Tuesday 6th July, 6pm, at Circolo dei Lettori (via Bogino 9, Torino).

We've only given one lecture like this before, which was held in our home city of Nottingham.

Here's a video from that day...

The Biblical Director's Cut

Here's something I didn't know much about until recently - the Bible has a sort of "director's cut".

And these Biblical equivalent of DVD extras contain some cracking stories about beheadings, dragons and saucy sex scandals!

I'm currently making short films about them for the Bibledex video project at the University of Nottingham.

Now I'm not a religious expert (far from it), but I'll try to explain.

Essentially there are the 66 books in the standard Bible that most people probably have heard of (though a lot of them are pretty obscure too - how much do you know about the book of Haggai or 2 Thessalonians!?)

I've already made videos about each of these 66. You can watch them either on Bibledex or YouTube.

But then there's another collection of books called the deuterocanonical books (often just shortened to the apocrypha).

These are books that didn't make it into the so-called protestant "canon" so you won't find them in many Bibles (or you will find them in a special isolated section, between the Old and New Testaments).

But not everyone has ditched these books.... For example, the Catholic Church DOES include them in the "main" Bible.

They include books like 1 and 2 Maccabees, Judith and Tobit - plus some interestingly-named stories such as Bel and Dragon!

Now the issue of what makes the Bible is endlessly complicated and I'm not brave or knowledgeable enough to enter that vexed discussion.

However I've nearly finished a series of short videos about these extras and it seems they include some cracking stories, many of which I'd never heard of.

Here are a few of the videos I've done. See more at Bibledex (and scroll down to the apocrypha) or on YouTube - Bibledex.

PS: Watch out for the squirrel behind Pete in our Judith video!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Achtung: More Words

Do you know why U2 called their album Achtung Baby? Why Spanish headwear is worn in Ireland? What "fooding" is?

Well I do (now) because of my latest project, Words of The World.

Check out the main site because it is starting to shape and look quite striking - or follow us via YouTube if that is your thing!?

The latest ecclectic collection of words added to the video collection include Achtung, Balkan, Cuisine, Terroir and Mantilla.

The "Balkan" film, featuring David Norris, is one I especially enjoyed and found enlightening.

He explains why the famous peninsula in Europe shouldn't really be called Balkan... And why the common use the word Balkanization means the opposite of what it should!

But I think all the word videos are fascinating and contain great snippets of information and academic insight!

Go on - watch some and learn something!