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Vol. 34 No. 4
July-August 2012

From the Editor

image of Fabienne Meyers

For chemists and aficionados of chemistry of all ages, there is no equal to the iconic periodic table of chemical elements. The table is a symbol recognized universally, yet our understanding of its contents and underlying organization is still evolving. In this issue of CI, several aspects of this icon are put forth.

As we celebrated IYC2011, several projects focused on the table and its elements to instruct and intrigue. There were exhibits, essay competitions, and several drawing and video competitions around the world that resulted in unique tables. One such dazzling table was scaled up and mounted as a mural in the Earth Science Museum at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Read about the project and the unveiling event on April 2012 in the Wire section. Another IYC-inspired rendering of the table graces the cover of this issue: Hommage to the Elements by Eugènia Balcells, on display in the Atrium of the Chemistry Library at the University of Barcelona, features each element's unique emission spectrum. Like all periodic tables, it displays order and yet, solicits questions. By its order, one can see in the table how the elements compare to each other and how in consequence they might react with one another. The table also raises questions, as the elements, and the chemistry they enable, are keys to future discoveries and solutions to today's numerous challenges.

As it just so happens, the family of recognized elements has grown a bit larger. In July 2011, the claims of discovery for element 114 and 116 were elucidated. Following that, the naming process was initiated and in December 2011 names were proposed. Now, the process is over and IUPAC has officially introduced flerovium, or Fl, as element 114 and livermorium, or Lv, as element 116. Read more here.

While some scientists keep working at filling the gaps in the table, others are debating how the elements already in the table should be arranged. Group 3 seems to cause ambiguity and Eric Scerri is asking IUPAC to take a stand and clarify the issue. Read more here.

With contributions from artists of all ages and scientists of all disciplines, the table continues to spark interest and generate enthusiasm; all good signs for the creative future of chemistry?!

Fabienne Meyers
fabienne@iupac.org

Cover: A close-up of Hommage to the Elements, a permanent display in the atrium of the Physics and Chemistry Library at the University of Barcelona, Spain. "The work of multimedia artist Eugènia Balcells, is an invocation of the foundations of the universe and of life: matter and energy, light, and the chemical elements," writes Santiago Alvarez (read).


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