Monday, April 6, 2009

Awesome Explained

Via Hector at Rain In The Doorway, the periodical table of awesomeness!

Be sure to check Hector out; he's been blogging up a storm lately.


  1. Awesome chart. I used to have the real one down by heart, that is I could draw the periodic table from memory. It's not such an awesome feet as I've met other trained chemists who could do the same.

    I once make up a card game based on the periodic table of elements. Each playing card was an element. Players were dealt 6 cards each hand and could draw up to 3 new ones and discard. Winning a hand meant getting essentially the best straight (sequential elements across) or the best periodic flush downwards related elements, with a Noble flush comprising He, Ne, Ar, Kr, Xe, and Rn. Nerdy, huh?

    Did you realize that there is a hole in the naturally occuring table of elements? There's one element missing right smack in the middle of the chart (not counting the Frankensteinium elements which keep getting appended at the bottom. I've always been fascinated by the natural anomoly of technetium. It's kind of like the blind spot in your field of vision: something you can look for in the midst of an array "retinal cells" and never see. Technetium's absence confounded chemists for decades until somebody finally made it. You can read about it here. Today it's saving millions of lives.

  2. Nerdy? Maybe. Also awesome.

    I wouldn't mind knowing how that card game worked. My kids would love it.

  3. I once make up a card game based on the periodic table of elements. Each playing card was an element.

    I too think this is pretty cool. I might have had a chance of learning something in my chem. classes if my teachers had ever come up with something engaging like this.

  4. Wow. Yeah, I'd love to know about that game too, chickenlittle.

  5. blake: I called the game "Periodica" in honor of a Bay Area company I was working for at the time '96-'98. The game was inspired by this man, who was a consultant there.

    You can make a deck of cards from a set of chemical element flash cards, but you'll have to black out all the info on one side so that you can have "face down" cards. I thought about having a deck commercially made with the company logo on one side but that went nowhere.
    To be honest, I never conceived of the idea as a child's game, but it could work I suppose. For beginners or non chemists, you're best off playing with a real periodic table handy for reference. But playing at expert level forbids reference to an external table.
    It's easy for anybody to recognize a straight flush, elements B, C, N, O, F, and Ne (or a lesser subset thereof, because the elements are numbered on the cards), but would you recognize a chalcogen flush: O, S, Se Te, Po? Those elements are sequentially out of order, but they belong to the same period, and their chemical properties "rhyme". Another obvious example of periodically related elements are the coinage metals, Cu, Ag, and Au.

    The truth is that even when you play the game with a truncated deck (throwing out elements 58-71, and 87 and above), you still mostly get dealt crappy hands like in poker. In these cases, a same numbered downward flush will automatically beat a same numbered straight flush.

    Alexa & Darcy: thanks for the kind words!

  6. Opps, I meant Alexis that last one (my dyslexia meds kicking in again)

  7. Oh, FWIW, the company wasn't called "Periodica" but rather "Catalytica". You can google that.


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