Thursday, 29 September 2011

Chemistry-themed places

Just received this photo from a viewer.

(full size version here)

The sender, Anthony Francis-Jones, included a description and an interesting suggestion.

"Thought you might like the idea of places that have chemistry related names. This is me (physics teacher!) in a street in Whitchurch in Shropshire called 'Chemistry'. Perhaps a viewer feature for periodic table/chem/phys street names - I don't live far from Ironbridge either!"

In fact Anthony's picture is more chemistry-themed than he realised... I note the H symbol by his leg!!!

If you want to send us some pics, do so at

A Happy Professor meets Hank the Koala

I don't think I've ever seen Professor Martyn Poliakoff smile so much.

Last week we visited Cleland Wildlife Park, in my home town for Adelaide, Australia.

The staff were kind enough to give the professor a short opportunity to hold one of their koalas, called Hank.

It was the fist time I've seen the professor stop talking about chemistry. He seemed captivated!

But don't worry, a few minutes later we retreated to a nearby eucalyptus tree and The Prof made this video about the chemistry of koalas (or koala bears, as he couldn't help calling them!)

Summit of Snowdon

Just saw this BBC news story about a car found parked at the summit of Mt Snowdon.

The picture on the story caught my eye because the vehicle is parked at the exact spot where we pitched a tent and made cisplatin for our "chemistry in the clouds" video.

World Record Holders

The 2012 Guinness Book of Records has been published - and we're in it!

The record is for the smallest periodic table.

We engraved the table on a strand of Professor Poliakoff's hair (see video below).

The publishers have put the record in the nanotechnology section!

You can also see our record on the book's website.

I picked up a copy of the book at Heathrow Airport and gave it to The Professor in Australia, where he is on a lecture tour.

He has proudly shown the entry to a few people already and mentions it in some of his presentations!

The engraving was done by experts at the University of Nottingham's Nanotechnology and Nanoscience Centre using a beam of gallium ions and an electron microscope.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

A gift from Portugal

Received this image by email today.

The sender was Ricardo Silva from Portugal.

He said: "As a viewer, a future chemical engineer and a biochemist, and a big fan of Periodic Table of Videos (and Professor Martyn Poliakoff), I decided to design this image as a sort of 'gift' for all the things he has taught with Periodic Table of Videos."

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

A cool camera on the A380

Just back from a trip to Australia - plenty to come from that, including a bunch of videos.

But an exciting moment was the flight home - my first flight on an Airbus A380.

I'm bit of an aviation enthusiast and was very curious about the giant plane.

Both legs were very smooth and I was impressed by how roomy the cabin was, even in the cheap seats!

Another thing I really liked was the view from a camera mounted in the plane's wing (which can be watched from your seat).

It was really cool landing at Heathrow, watching from this unusual angle.

The only problem was the English cloud and fog very close to ground level... the camera was covered with droplets and obscured the landing!

The only other problem was caused by the A380's enormous wings.

As we flew over Ayers Rock, in Australia, the captain banked the plane passengers could see.

But anyone sitting in the MANY rows over the wings saw nothing, myself included.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

A dedicated fan

Some of you may be aware I'm in Australia, making some films for periodicvideos, sixtysymbols and another secret upcoming project!

Since filming with Professor Martyn Poliakoff in Sydney, I've flown ahead to my home town of Adelaide preparing for more films.

The Professor stayed in Sydney for a conference and lecture on Wednesday.

A few of our video fans came along to the lecture (along with plenty of conference delegates).

But one fan who couldn't make it was a schoolboy named Brandon, because the lecture clashed with his lessons.

However the 16-year-old traveled specially to the conference hotel during his lunch hour and met Professor Poliakoff.

Brandon said The Periodic Table of Videos had been a big inspiration to him.

We're pleased to have this picture of the pair together!!!

PS: The Prof is now in Adelaide and will give a lecture tomorrow (Thursday 22 September) about chemistry and our videos.

It is being held at 6pm or 6.30pm (not quite sure which - 6.30pm seems most likely!!!) at the University of Adelaide's Chemistry Department's Rennie Theatre.

Details at this link

Saturday, 17 September 2011

See The Prof in Sydney

Some of you may be aware the Prof is currently in Sydney for the first leg of a speaking tour around Australia.

We've just had word that any periodicvideos fans who wish to see his lecture on Wednesday (21st of Sept) can come along and get a free visitor's pass.

He'll be lecturing at 11.45am-12.30pm on his beloved topic of green chemistry and how it can improve the world.

He'll also be around (briefly) after to say hello.

The lecture is on level 3 of the Hilton Hotel on George St as part of Chemeca Conference.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

The Professor in Australia

This is just a quick note to let people know The Professor (Martyn Polikaoff) and I will be spending some time in Australia.

Of course we will make some films (see our previous roadtrip films).

But the main reason for traveling is so The Prof can deliver a series of lectures about his work - over many years in the lab and more recently on YouTube.

He'll be in Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart, Bendigo (!), Canberra and Perth.

If you live in Australia and would like to meet us (and see The Prof in action) send us an email and I'll try to send you any details you want?

Our address is

Some details can also be found at this link.

I'll also post more on the blog here if I get time.

This will be The Prof's first visit to Australia and he's very much looking forward to it.

Of course I'm from Australia, so it's a chance for me to show him around my homeland.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

A challenge to University Challenge

University Challenge is a great, geeky TV show.

The BBC quiz has fiendishly hard questions (well, hard for me) tackled by knowledgeable students from universities across the UK.

The show's opening sequence briefly features a periodic table.

And every episode of the show seems to feature a few chemistry questions, often about the periodic table.

However our latest periodicvideo reports that table used by University Challenge is sadly outdated, not featuring many elements which have been on the table for years.

Instead they just use the atomic numbers, as used before the elements were formally named (see my corrections below!).

As our own Professor Martyn Poliakoff argues, it can hardly be argued by the show's producers that their table is "historic" - "it's just a bit old".

As we mischievously say, maybe it's time of the opening credits to be updated!? Our very own challenge to University Challenge.

Of course it doesn't really matter, does it?

Our video is really a fun excuse to discuss our beloved table.

And a chance to show off the professor's equally outdated but reliable car!

Far Side of the Moon

Here's a video just uploaded for Sixty Symbols about one of my favourite subjects... The Moon.

Professor Mike Merrifield discusses a recent paper in Nature which may explain why the Moon's relatively smooth on it's earth-facing side... yet quite mountainous on its far side.

They really look like two different objects and I suspect many people wouldn't recognise the Moon if shown a picture of its far side.