Saturday, 5 November 2011

Back to my periodic table roots

The periodic table has become a big part of my life due to The Periodic Table of Videos.

But this is the periodic table where it all started.

It's the table on the wall of my old chemistry and physics teacher, Mr Lothar Dunaiski.


During our recent periodicvideos trip to Australia, we visited my home town of Adelaide.

So I took the opportunity to visit my old school.

Back to the beginning
And amazingly, the original periodic table was still hanging in the lab.

It was gazing at this table which fueled my curiosity about the elements.

Sure, I knew plenty about the likes of hydrogen and oxygen.

But what of those mysterious and exotic elements lower down - what were they about?

Of course I was unaware that, many years later, I would explore the entire table in such detail with my video camera.

But more important than the table was the teacher.

I had fond memories of Mr Dunaiski and hoped to meet him again.

And to introduce him to Professor Martyn Poliakoff, with whom I was travlling.


As fate would have it, Mr Dunaiksi was very busy the week we were in Adelaide.

He was arranging his annual "outdoor education camp" - taking when students into the hills above Adelaide to learn survival skills.

So we headed for the hills and met with Mr Dunaiski - filming a short interview.

Lothar Dunaiski - my chemistry and physics teacher
Mr D and The Prof also met briefly in the lab

It was very special to see him.

And Professor Polikaoff said it was the highlight of his trip Down Under.


I should point out I have a notorious history on Mr Dunaiski's outdoor education camp.

In 1991 I left the camp after only two nights, breaking my arm in a stupid fall from a rope

Action man Mr D
Yes, I was clowning around.

Yet Mr Dunaiski allowed me to take part in the next year's camp as a "junior leader".

He didn't want me to miss out on the experience, despite my stupidity the previous year.

What a nice man and a great teacher.

The Periodic Table of Videos and Sixty Symbols would never have started without the interest in chemistry and physics he ignited.


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