Celebrating 150 Years Of The Periodic Table Of Elements

In honor of the 150th anniversary of the periodic table, Ira opens up the Science Friday vaults to share tales of chemical discovery and creation.

two silver rods but both have odd growths protruding from them, but made of the same metal
Tungsten rods with evaporated crystals, partially oxidized with colorful tarnish. Credit: Alchemist-hp/FAL or GFDL 1.2/via Wikimedia Commons

Do you have a favorite chemical element? Neurologist Oliver Sacks did—he was partial to dense, high melting-point metals, especially those metals between hafnium and platinum on the periodic table.

This month marks the 150th anniversary of chemist Dmitri Mendeleev’s design for the periodic table—and we didn’t want to miss out on the party. In this special podcast, we revisit Sacks’ fascination with the elements, and Ira opens up the Science Friday vaults to share two tales of chemical discovery and creation. First, we take a trip back to 2004 for a chat with nuclear chemist Joshua Patin of a scientific team responsible for the creation of two new chemical elements (elements 113 and 115). Then, a voyage to 2010, for a conversation with the late Nobel laureate and buckyball co-discoverer Sir Harry Kroto.

Meet the Writer

About Charles Bergquist

As Science Friday’s director, Charles Bergquist channels the chaos of a live production studio into something sounding like a radio program. Favorite topics include planetary sciences, chemistry, materials, and shiny things with blinking lights.

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