Friday, August 21, 2009

Your Science Lesson for today, Elements are Everywhere! (UPDATED 1.5.18)

Elements are everywhere, they're tiny bits that bond together, you can read about them on the Periodic Table...

Here is my FAVORITE poster of the Periodic Table of Elements. You can buy your own at the best ever chemistry website (thank you Theo Gray who created it)

When you are in PA, you can experience your own giant touch screen version of it at the FABULOUS 2 story extravaganza of our chemical world aka the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF)at 315 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia, close to all the historic sites like the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall...

UPDATE 1.5.18 ... As of Feb 1, 2018, the CHF will be known as the History Science Institute
This name change reflects the Foundation's 2015 merger with the Life Sciences Foundation in San Francisco.

Because I'm chatty and like to talk w/ people, I ended up talking w/ the docent about how we all know the Theme Song from Spongebob Squarepants, so why can't we learn more about chemistry :) In fact, I made up my own Chemistry jingle and since I was willing to sing them my Chemistry Song (set to the Spiderman Theme song from the 1960s cartoon... "Hydrogen likes to say hi, and bond w/ other elements.... Helium and the Noble Gases say "no thanks, our outer shells are full, we've got lots of electrons there...." it goes on, trust me), they allowed us to visit their 4th floor gallery, full of paintings like this..

Here's a view of the main floor exhibit area

And here's the interactive touch screen of the Table of Elements. I could have spent DAYS here!

If you can't get to PA, visit the Chemical Heritage Foundation website at

My all-time favorite science stop is the Musee Curie in Paris... near the Pantheon...

Here's a view of the building on the rue Pierre et Marie Curie..

The Musee Curie is housed in the same rooms that Marie Curie used as her private office and laboratory during the later years of her life. Here's Marie's office...

In case you didn't know, she basically used her brain power, years of hard work, and instruments like this (the equivalents and paper clips and q-tips), to discover 2 previously unknown chemical elements. Oh, and she also almost single-handily unlocked the door to the nuclear age for the rest of science. The best book I've read in the last 5 years is "Madame Curie" written by her daughter Eve Curie (an amazing person in her own right, Eve died in 2007 at the age of 102 in New York City, where she had resided for decades).

These instruments on display at the museum are replicas... the originals are still RADIOACTIVE!

You can learn more about Marie and Pierre Curie, the Musee Curie, and the history and current work of the Radium Institute in Paris at

Here you can see Mr. Renaud Huynh, Director of the Musee Curie, leading a visit for a school group.

Science is FUN kids.... and there is a long partnership between artists and science. Where would we all be without Leonardo da Vinci? So visit a science museum soon and bring your sketchbook!

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