Sprinkling Christmas with a little ChemisTree

16 Dec 2009 11:56:00.000

PA 322/09  

They have received numerous awards and made YouTube stars out of academics at The University of Nottingham. Now the Periodic Table of Videos — a potent mixture of social media and scientific expertise — has sprinkled its own ChemisTree over Christmas.
Never short of ways to promote the fascination and excitement of chemistry this award winning project, driven by the creative talents of film-maker Brady Haran, has just posted its latest video — the Chemistry Christmas Tree. If you are short of ideas for this year’s Christmas decorations — then look no further.

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The Periodic Table of Videos, which celebrated its first anniversary in June with a video of an exploding birthday cake, has just made its 200th film.


The Periodic Table of Videos is an off-shoot of the award-winning Test-Tube project www.test-tube.org.uk, which showcases the University's scientific research. Together these two projects have been awarded a long list of accolades for bringing to life a host of science and engineering subjects in an entertaining and accessible way.

Among the Nottingham chemists featured in these videos is Professor Martyn Poliakoff CBE FRS, brother of playwright and television director Stephen Poliakoff. He shares the limelight with colleagues Dr Pete Licence, Dr Stephen Liddle, Dr Debbie Kays, Dr Sam Tang and senior technician Neil Barnes.

Professor Poliakoff, who designed his very own decorative version of Iron Tetracarbonyl for the ChemisTree, said: “It was a great opportunity to have some fun by combining our passion for chemistry with the festive spirit of Christmas. It also gave us a chance to announce our new project, YouTube videos about molecules”

Last year Brady teamed up with scientists in the building next door to make a series of videos about physics and astronomy. You can see them at: www.sixtysymbols.com

This year Bibledex came to pass. With the help of experts from the Department of Theology and Religious Studies Brady hopes to retell and discuss every book in the Bible in a series of short informative videos.  Bibledex can be found at: www.bibledex.com

These projects have proved so popular they have accumulated about 10 million video views in over 200 countries and territories.

As for his plans for 2010 Brady said: “Despite all these videos we've hardly scratched the surface and there's a lot more to come in 2010. It is amazing how quickly academics have embraced this modern form of communication. They're excited about explaining their work and coming up with great ideas to do it.”

“The Periodic Table of Videos is about to expand to include molecules, in addition to our staple diet of elements. Our Test Tube videos are expanding to include the science of exotic animals and energy research. Sixty Symbols has started a second phase, and is now moving towards 120 videos about physics and astronomy instead of 60. And we have some fun plans for Bibledex which I think will surprise and enlighten many people, whether they're interested in religion or not.”

— Ends —

Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.

The University 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), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.
Nottingham was designated as a Science City in 2005 in recognition of its rich scientific heritage, industrial base and role as a leading research centre. Nottingham has since embarked on a wide range of business, property, knowledge transfer and educational initiatives (www.science-city.co.uk) in order to build on its growing reputation as an international centre of scientific excellence. The University of Nottingham is a partner in Nottingham: the Science City.

Story credits

More information is available from Professor Martyn Poliakoff on +44 (0)115 951 3520, martyn.poliakoff@nottingham.ac.uk; or Brady Haran at test-tube@hotmail.co.uk

Lindsay Brooke

Lindsay Brooke - Media Relations Manager

Email: lindsay.brooke@nottingham.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5751 Location: University Park

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