Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Chemistry Tuesday (time to dork out)

Posted By on Tue, Sep 20, 2011 at 8:55 AM

My days of chemistry are long behind me, but after a reading about atoms in Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything last night, it's fondly coming back to me (sans flunked tests).

We're talking about the interface of chemistry and physics here, the strange structures of atoms and their behaviors, things like clouds of probability, the Schrödinger Wave Equation and math so complex as to prove fundamentals like the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. I'm tripping up over fractions these days.

All that said, while tooling around on the webs to refresh myself on orbitals, I found the Dynamic Periodic Table, probably the funnest thing I've ever seen today.

The DPT loads quickly and has multiple tabs and mouse-over options for revealing facts about the elements. From the basics of atomic number and weight, to the temperature at which each changes from solids to liquids to gasses, it's easy to navigate. A Wikipedia tab even gives encyclopedia information, in case you wanted to know what molybdenum is known for.

Wonder no more, the orbital structure of Rhodium is here.
  • Wonder no more, the orbital structure of Rhodium is here.

Likely, those of us no longer studying this field will have no inclination to review isotopes or learn a bit about all those scary elements that sit in two pull-out rows below the box proper. And yes, the site isn't at all new, but given the variable behavior of time in the world of quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity, I'd say that's a good enough pass.

But if you want to be ultra-Zen about it, and get super-trippy, there's this:

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