Friday, 25 June 2010

Two years of Periodic Videos

This week marks the second anniversary of the Periodic Table of Videos.

So I thought I'd reflect on some of the project's history.

But first here's the video we made to celebrate the anniversary (on the theme of cotton, which is the traditional gift for a two-year relationship!)

Obviously the Periodic Table of Videos started with the aim of making a video about each of the elements, starting with this video about hydrogen.

We quickly made all 118 - but in that time attracted quite a bit of publicity and a large following.

So the University of Nottingham School of Chemistry decided to continue with the project.

We started updating and improving our element videos, adding films on current events and other chemistry news.

My favourites include this video made to mark Halloween....

...and this one for Valentine's Day.

We also started a series of roadtrips to places of interest, including the town of Ytterby in Sweden, which gave its name to four elements on the Periodic Table.

All these things are continuing - element updates, special features and roadtrips.

But most recently we've started a new series with backing for the EPSRC - the Molecular Videos.

As the names suggests, these are videos about molecules.

They are many and varied, but I still have a soft spot for this one about aqua regia (which is not quite a molecule I suppose).

I'd so much about its ability to dissolve gold and it was great to finally see it!

The Periodic Table of Videos has been a great success with many millions of views.

It has become almost impossible to track our viewing figures because they are often watched in schools by entire clasrooms.

They are great fun to make and are only possible because of the talents of those involved, especially Martyn Poliakoff, Pete Licence, Neil Barnes, Steve Liddle, Deb Kays, Sam Tang and Darren Walsh.

But the most important thing is the people who watch them... Their enthusiasm and YouTube comments really inspire us.


  1. Your Aluminium video is a bit sparse, I think. Aluminium is a much more interesting element than you'd think (although the video on the thermite reaction gives a clue to its friskiness). Can you get Pete to do hydrogen peroxide on aluminium powder?

    Also, diamonds (carbon) may be a girl's best friend but this girl would be very happy with crystalline aluminium oxide with chromic oxide impurities (sapphire) or the very specific case where the chromium atoms are arranged in a particular regular way in the crystal lattice (ruby).

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