23 September 2010

From the land of Robin Hood...periodically!

In my job, and especially over the course of the last few years, I find myself dealing increasingly with matters related to chemicals. I don't actually handle chemicals myself but I work in the Transportation Industry in a position that requires me to stay up-to-date on rules and regulations for things like safe confined space entry, material safety data related to product residues, and the proper marking of containers that carry products considered to be potentially hazardous. On the shelf above my desk you will find a well thumbed Emergency Response Guide and a copy of Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary.

Recently I thought it might be both interesting and helpful if I learned the Periodic Table of Elements by heart to the point that I could draw a good portion of it from memory on a sheet of paper. I saw no need to include the f-block Lanthanoids (rare earth elements) or Actinoids (radioactive elements) and certainly not the so-called "synthetic" elements from atomic number 104 on up. Mainly I would like to concentrate on the elements that are relative to what I may encounter in my job at some point. I just happened to be browsing the Internet for a nice copy of the Periodic Table when I came across a website of the University of Nottingham in England that is dedicated to the Periodic Table and uses little video vignettes to tell stories about each element. Once you hear a story it helps to locate the element in its proper place on the chart. It is an amazing undertaking. They have produced a very interesting video for each of the elements. You can find the site by clicking on this link: The Periodic Table of Videos

They have another interesting site related to chemistry at: Test Tube

There is also a neat site related to Mathematical Symbols called: Sixty Symbols

I am delighted by another site of theirs that is dedicated to words and I suggest that you visit it and start with the French wine term "terroir". You can find it at: Words of the World

Who knew that Nottingham is more than Sherwood Forest and the old stomping grounds for Robin Hood and his Merry Men? It just so happens that Nottingham is the seventh-largest urban area in the United Kingdom and the home of a university that ranks in the top 1% of universities worldwide. If I were a young man or woman in high school who is thinking about going to a great university I would definitely consider the University of Nottingham. However, for me, the second best thing is to take advantage of what they have to offer on line. It is not only educational. It is FUN!


Anonymous said...

Having grown up in the UK, I considered attending U of N, however, I could never make the requisite grade on the 'cranially balanced apple perforation' portion of the entrance exams.

Alice said...

I had to memorize the entire period table as a chem major, but don't ask me much about chemistry anymore. I recently decided to retake basic chemistry, bought the text, and am following online courses through MIT Open Courseware. I am looking to get a certificate to teach high school chem just in case the elementary school kiddos drive me cuckoo one day. You should check the courses out! There is much to be learned about everything AND you can say you took classes at MIT! :)


Also, have you heard about Khan Academy? This guys an excellent teacher! http://www.khanacademy.org/

Bob Mrotek said...

Wow Alice! Thanks a lot. Those links are very interesting, especially the Kahn Academy. I think that I will start with Algebra and work my way up. I did okay in high school but that was back in the "olden days". I think it would be nice if I could work my way up the Math ladder to the point where I could analyze things statistically. In my job I deal with Non Destructive Test procedures that involve probability and reliability. Wouldn't it be neat if I could understand how they are derived :)

The Last Quarter said...

Roberto-Thanks for the link to Nottingham U Periodic Table videos.

I watched a very entertaining Hydrogen and sent the link to my partner teacher who teaches Sciece (while I teach Social Studies) to my kids.

Muchas gracias--great link!

1st Mate said...

So are you using flash cards for this?

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.