Saturday, March 20, 2010

Science bloggers lay claim to the periodic table

David Bradley is a British science writer.  Among other things, he authors and maintains the Sciencebase website and blog, he twitters, and he maintains a list of several hundred scientists on Twitter he calls "Scientwists".  Anyway, you should follow him and read up on his stuff.

Yesterday I noticed Bradley had developed a fun little project he calls the Periodic Table of Science Bloggers.  As you hopefully remember from chemistry class, the periodic table is a way of arranging the known elements such that vertical columns show you elements with similar chemical properties, and from left to right and top to bottom you go to heavier elements.  Each element has a one or two letter abbreviation.  My favorite version of the periodic table ever is the Periodic Table Table.  Warning: you can spend hours exploring that site.

The Periodic Table of Science Bloggers contains (as I write this) about 100 different science blogs, listed in most cases under the element whose abbreviation could conceivably be an abbreviation for the blog.  For example, I'm under "At" (for "Astatine" or "Astronomy"), element 85, near the lower right.  Some interesting facts about astatine I learned after choosing "my" element: all of its isotopes are highly radioactive.  At any given time, there are only about 30 grams of astatine in the entire crust of the Earth.  The astatine on Earth was not produced in stars or supernovae, but from the radioactive decay of uranium (which was produced, probably, by supernovae).  This isn't to say that astatine isn't created in supernovae or in stars, but astatine is so short-lived (just a few hours) that it would not be incorporated in to planets or other stars.

The only "problem" I have with the Periodic Table of Science Bloggers is that it is not periodic; that is to say, the different columns do not have anything to do with the topic of a blog.  But that would be a lot of work which I'm not willing to do, so this isn't a complaint.

So, go peruse the Periodic Table of Science Bloggers.  You'll  find a lot of good reading and learn a lot about all kinds of science!  And, while you're at it, maybe you'll learn about the actual elements, too.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the shout out. I'm so pleased science bloggers took my little PT project to heart. You've probably noticed that I've now colour coded the elements according to discipline.