Fun with the Periodic Table (and math)

What is it about the Periodic Table that inspires so many take-offs? Look at all these fun makeovers:

Actually, the real Periodic Table is pretty interesting, too, even for someone who hated chemistry class (me).

I bought this book, The Mystery of the Periodic Table, for my kids, but I ended up being the person who enjoyed it the most.  The history of how elements were discovered and the Table ordered is fascinating, especially its uncanny mathematical precision in prediciting the properties of as-yet-undiscovered elements based on their empty-square positions in the Table.

There’s a similar book for grownups,  The Disappearing Spoon (etc., a really long title), by Sam Kean.

The ancient Greeks were really on to something when they discovered the “golden ratio.”  If you can tolerate one more link in a link-heavy post, this old (1959) Walt Disney short, Donald in Mathmagic Land, has the nicest explanation ever of the mathematical underpinnings of the universe.  It shows the inherent mathematical structure underlying architecture, music, nature – and even games like billiards or pool.  Informative and very entertaining.  Used copies of this DVD can be found on Amazon for under $20, and you can also usually find this 27-minute cartoon on YouTube, too.  Here’s a link to the movie on YouTube, and if it has been removed by the time you click through, you can probably find it easily by searching for the title.  Someone else will probably have reposted it by then.

About Katherine Wikoff

I am a college professor at Milwaukee School of Engineering, where I teach literature, film studies, political science, and communication. My blog is a space for playing with ideas about creativity, innovation, lifelong learning, and the nature of "insight."
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2 Responses to Fun with the Periodic Table (and math)

  1. Mister Lambic says:

    Lambic is not an ale 😉

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