Top of the Table. Period...

28 Jan 2010 17:56:59.577


They are the unlikely new stars of YouTube - from Sodium and Helium to Lithium, Oxygen, Hydrogen and Argon.

University of Nottingham scientists have brought the Periodic Table into the 21st century with a bang, by posting lively video clips about every single chemical element on a new website.

And 'The Periodic Table of Videos' has already proved a massive online success, appearing on the UK front page of the YouTube website and registering more than 106,000 hits in just a few days.

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The film about sodium - which shows the element fizzing and flaming after being dropped in water - is currently the most viewed clip, with 39,000 views. The innovative films have already earned high praise from YouTube users. 'Great idea, well executed. Thanks for taking the time,' wrote one. 'Loved it. Just finished watching all of them,' wrote another.

Sir Harry Kroto FRS, winner of the Nobel prize for chemistry, has also endorsed the initiative. He said: "This is great use of the new dynamics of communication for education."

Each of the 118 elements on the table features in its own short clip just a few minutes long, as members of the University's Chemistry Department explain and demonstrate the properties that make them unique. The videos will remain online as a permanent resource for chemistry students and enthusiasts on the website.

The Periodic Table of Videos can be found at:

The site features a hyperlinked table, allowing visitors to click directly through to the videos on the elements they want to learn more about. The videos are also available on a special YouTube channel, which has more than 860 subscribers. The site on YouTube is at:

Professor Martyn Poliakoff FRS CBE, brother of playwright and television director Stephen Poliakoff, introduces many of the videos. Professor Poliakoff said: "I thought it was a really great way of communicating our enthusiasm and enjoyment of the subject to a wider audience.

"It's aimed at a very wide audience. We are very keen not only to recruit students to our own university but also to stimulate an interest in science among all students - particularly those at GCSE age."

Other films are presented by his colleagues Dr Pete Licence, Dr Stephen Liddle, Dr Debbie Kays and Neil Barnes.

The Periodic Table of Videos is an off-shoot of the award-winning Test-Tube project (, an online showcase for the university's scientific research, presented by the scientists themselves, in their own words.

Brady Haran, The University of Nottingham's film-maker in residence, filmed the material for both projects.

Brady said: "I've always been passionate about science and had a fascination with the Periodic Table since I was in school. I think it's a great idea to tap into the passion and enthusiasm that University of Nottingham scientists have for their subject, through the medium of the Periodic Table - which is one aspect of chemistry familiar to most people, either through their own studies or their memories of school science lessons. It's been a real pleasure to work on."

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 70 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.

It provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation - School of Pharmacy).

Its students are much in demand from 'blue-chip' employers. Winners of Students in Free Enterprise for four years in succession, and current holder of UK Graduate of the Year, they are accomplished artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and fundraisers. Nottingham graduates consistently excel in business, the media, the arts and sport. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree completion rates are amongst the highest in the United Kingdom.

Story credits

Tim Utton

Tim Utton - Deputy Director of Communications

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 846 8092 Location: University Park

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